The new program is more of an introduction to Salt for partners, some of whom are not that familiar with AI security, but the plan is to deepen the program with more technical offerings later on.
API security vendor Salt Security has announced their Essential Partner Certification Program, which provides more formal certification and training for partners. At its rollout, the program is fairly introductory, but Salt will be expanding it and at that point will consider requiring partner certification achievements as essential to advance within their Salt Essential Partner Program. Salt also announced strong channel metrics over the last 12 months.
While API Security is growing in importance to customers, the anticipated move of some larger security players into the area has not yet taken place, leaving Salt with its first mover advantage and a strong market position.
“A lot of the larger security vendors have dipped their toes in the space, but it’s not pure security for APIs,” said Mandy Kelley, Global Director of Channel Marketing, Salt Security. It’s just something that they include in their story.”
Salt is now a channel-first company, beginning that move two years ago, when Anton Granic came over from Nutanix as Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Kelley said that they have essentially reached that channel-first goal.
“Coming out of our sales kickoff last week, we stressed that we are very committed to it,” she said. “We are a channel-first company where all sales should go through a partner, and where we look at and treat our partners as an extension of our own sales team.”
This past year saw a 94% increase in partner-initiated pipeline, although the total percentage of sales initiated by partners is still relatively small.
“I would like to see 20-30% initiated by partners, which has not happened yet because we are still educating our partners about API security,” Kelley said. “It has grown to where it is today, even though we don’t actually have a formal enablement program. We just formalized our field registration at the end of October, which led to an over 400% increase in deal registrations last year.”
Other aspects of the program that facilitate partner enablement have also been added in the last year.
“We now have a very strong channel team in place, which was an important first step,” Kelley said. “It let us define the program and make sure that we were getting the right players in. We also have been formalizing our partner communication strategy, which is regionally specific for North America, EMEA and LATAM, something in which I am a big believer.”
Salt has about 150 partners globally who are actively engaged, an 150% increase over the previous year.
“Last year we were in recruitment phase, but we have completed that and are now in partner optimization.” Kelley indicated.
Today’s announcement around increased enablement is the formalization of Salt’s existing training into the new Essential Partner Certification Program, which includes online sales and technical training support. These are all hosted through Salt’s partner portal.
Kelley emphasized that at this stage, the training is more about basic enablement although more complex and technical training are on the way.
“There are separate sales and SE tracks, with five modules each that are intended to enable partners,” she said. “They aren’t Salt experts at the end of this, but they are able to identity opportunities. We do plan a second phase on the technical side, with more technical deep dive, including demos. At that point we may look at requiring specific numbers of trained individuals within the Salt Essential Partner Program.”
Currently certifications are not required to advance within the two-stage partner program.
“We aren’t looking at doing it this year, because we are just launching it,” Kelley said. “What we have now is more introductions to APIs and Salt differentiation in the market.”
Salt also announced market expansion in southern Europe, Middle East, South Africa, and Latin America, and the addition of regional partners in Africa, the Middle East, Italy, and Latin America.