Trellix launches new Xtend partner program to move beyond limitations of legacy programs

While McAfee was relatively channel-positive, and FireEye somewhat less so, the new Trellix program has emphasized partner experience and better margins, with strong focuses on training and developing a service practice around Trellix.

Britt Norwood, SVP, Global Channels & Commercial at Trellix

LAS VEGAS – One of the major announcements here at Trellix’s first Xtend Live event was the Trellix Xtend channel partner program, which will formally go live in early 2023. After an interim period following the creation of Trellix from FireEye and part of McAfee’s business, in which partners were managed through the McAfee and FireEye legacy channel programs, Trellix believes that the new program will overcome all the problems of the legacy ones, and give channel partners the support that they need.

“Partners are excited about this, particularly that we are a channel-first company that isn’t McAfee or FireEye, said Brian Palma, Trellix’s CEO. “Neither company had done a great job with partners, but McAfee was somewhat better. FireEye had Mandiant with its own managed services that competed with partners. Our new Xtend program will reflect our channel-first mentality from the start. This new program will be lucrative for partners and shows the channel first- commitment from me on down.”

Britt Norwood, SVP, Global Channels & Commercial at Trellix, put the new program together.

Before  Xtend, the Trellix partners were managed until the terms of their legacy companies and their channel programs, a system which Norwood acknowleged had multiple problems.

“The biggest challenge was that it was two sets of programs with different parameters and different compensation,” Norwood said. “We looked at what partners needed  most. It took a few more quarters than I would have liked but the Xtend program is what I consider will serve the partners’ needs best.”

Partners coming from the two legacy programs do not have to reapply and are being grandfathered into the Trellix Xtend program.

“We will bring everyone in, assuming that they still do business with us,” Norwood stated. “We will clean it up a bit, but active partners will all be in the program. We are not looking to use the creation of the new program to move anyone out. That also goes for partners who have not yet moved to the cloud. We will meet our customers where they are. We don’t think its our position to force anyone to cloud, hybrid or on-prem.”

The Xtend program has a pair of core tenets which drive its philosophy.

“We have absolutely designed the new program to reward service creation  around Trellix,” Norwood said “We are also creating a bonus for new businesses that come from partner-led demand creation” – essentially a new logo bonus although Trellix doesn’t use the term.

The new channel program also emphasizes training, which Norwood said was not a strength of the old programs.

“We didn’t invest enough there,” he acknowledged. “Now, Trellix University, which we launched about a quarter ago, is my answer to that. We hadn’t provided anything like that before. It will also be expanded so that it will become an in-person offering as well, as well as enable partners on post-sales.”

Trellix University already offers a range of detail in training options.

“We can go basic, medium or deep, depending on who the audience is,” Norwood said.

“We have also adopted a TedTalk-like 10-15 minute quick training format, in a way that the sales rep and partner should get all of the key elements they need to know,” he added. “We have to deliver this information in a way that people want to consume it.”

Trelllix University is one of the critical elements in improving overall partner experience in the new program, with PartnerCare support, Demand Creation and Service Creation being the others.

“Overall partner experience is one of my big hot topics,” Norwood indicated.

The Xtend program has three tiers.

“Growth is for relatively small partners who need high touch, and will typically work with distributors,” Norwood said. “Above that are Momentum, which will do a decent sized volume, and Collaborate. The difference between those two is that Collaborate partners will have a certified services practice.”

As of now, there are no separate tracks for different business models.

“They are basically blended, although we are taking a different look at the MSP base, since they tend to collaborate with a services partner,” Norwood noted.

Trellix introduced their first sales plays to provide supporting marketing and educational information earlier this year, and Norwood said that they will continue to build those out further.

“We have learned a lot from the ones we have already done, and we will keep iterating on them,” he indicated. “We now have launched the next wave, which was announced at our Partner Summit, and which will come out over the next couple of weeks.”

Norwood said that reaction to the new program at Partner Summit was overwhelmingly positive.

“Our CEO, CPO and CRO all attended, and made it very clear to partners that they are a core part of our strategy going forward,” Norwood stated. “They know that we still have work to do to bring it all together. The old programs needed to be modernized to remove complicated discount levels that weren’t in line with the market.”