Trellix’s new channel program is designed to be more channel friendly and effective than the McAfee and FireEye programs of the companies which became Trellix, with an emphasis on co-operating with partners rather than competing with them.
Trellix laid out its new partner program at its inaugural Xpand Live event last fall, emphasizing how the new program, would be simpler and more profitable than the ones from McAfee and FireEye which were brought together to form Trellix. The new program has a few minor tweaks over what was announced last year, but there are no big changes, and the emphasis remains on working with partners rather than competing with them, encouraging partner service adoption, and generating new partner business.
“We have not changed anything at a core level since we unveiled the program at the end of last September,” said Britt Norwood, SVP of Global Channels and Commercial at Trellix. “We had to set discount levels for each level, and in order to qualify for highest level designations, partners needed to be verified, but they will have six months to do that.”
Norwood said that the biggest challenge Trellix faced was their deliberate limitation of a key number of partners as their ‘go-to’ partners going forward.
“What we have run into was a problem that we built by design,” he stated. “Cybersecurity was on their line card of all companies who wanted to sell Trellix, but we wanted to engage closely with partners who specifically wanted to build a practice around Trellix. We have had over 12,000 certifications in Trellix University, with 3000 of those coming since our Xpand event last fall. The ones that we are embracing that are going to be in our top 10%, and we expect that we will be closely aligned with 90% of them.” These will come from Trellix’s top two partner tiers, Collaborate, which is their top tier, and which requires a certified services practice, and Momentum.
Most of Trellix’s partners will be in the Growth tier and these will work through distribution.
“We have a very long tail partner community that has worked with distis for years, and who may each do one , two or three deals with us per year,” Norwood said. “We appreciate those partners, but where you go for the lion’s share of the bookings, that’s the Momentum and Collaborate tiers.”
The focus is on generating partner services and new business creation by partners.
“Those are what get partners in line for our top rewards,” Norwood said. “We wanted the base for this to be big enough to run the business, while also remaining small enough to focus on.
Another priority of the new program is customer satisfaction,” Norwood stressed. “We want to make sure that the customer is getting value out of us as a partner. Are they being supported the right way to have a successful onboarding? That is critical to our success.”
Norwood indicated that partner reaction since the new program was announced has been strong.
“Overall, it has been very positive,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we got everything right. The one thing that they really emphasized was they wanted it to be easier to do business with us than it had been with the legacy companies. So between October and now, we revamped our whole partner portal, giving it a cleaner interface and making things easier to find. That’s just the beginning of things that we will do to make it easier for them.”
While the economy has gotten wobblier since the program was announced, and with the IT economy beset by layoffs, Trellix has not adjusted the program to take this into account.
“We haven’t made any modifications for the economic conditions,” he said. “Our plan is to keep a three-year horizon. It’s still early days as to what is going to happen. Customers still have problems and they still need XDR. These things are not going away. We can’t get panicked, and will continue to focus on long term goals.”
Norwood closed by emphasizing the centrality of partners to Trellix’s business strategy.
“In regards to the service business, we are really focused on growing the midmarket and commercial business around the world,” he said. “What we are not doing is competing with our partners. We are doing this in conjunction with them.”