Following the streamlining of their partner program last year, Aqua is also modernizing their enablement tools, starting with new certifications for partner sales and sales engineer staff, and with a certification for MSPs on the horizon.
Cloud native security provider Aqua Security, which revamped their partner program into the Aqua Advantage partner program late last year to make it simpler than before, has announced new enhancements to the program. The main addition is new certification programs for Sales staff and Sales Engineers, with a similar program for MSPs being on the road map.
The certification programs that existed before came from the legacy program, and weren’t adequate on any level.
“The programs that were there before were as basic as you can get,” said Jeannette Lee Heung, Senior Director, Global Channel and Alliances at Aqua. “We did not have a solid certification program before.” They did provide training for both sales and SE people, but did not have proper certifications.
“These certifications continue our strategy of revamping all the enablement tools that existed before, in which we have been making a lot of investments for both customers and channel partners, leading with channel enablement,” Lee Heung stated.
The two new certification programs — Aqua Sales Certification and Aqua Certified Sales Engineer — add to training in both areas which was in place previously.
“We did have training in place, but certifications require a much deeper level of commitment,” Lee Heung said. “With certifications, you have to invest in a Learning Management System, and someone has to revamp the content.”
Both the Aqua Sales Certification and Aqua Certified Sales Engineer certifications are the result of partner feedback around specifically what partners believe that they needed.
“What partners need to know to understand our technology is much more than knowing feeds and speeds,” Lee Heung indicated. “For sales, the focus is really on understanding the value that we bring. Presales does require knowing more of the bits and bytes, but even there it’s more about the validating of certified persons, which is something that we want to focus on.”
Slightly further ahead on the road map is the expansion of offerings to better support MSP partners.
“We have a few MSP partners now that leverage our technology and who know how to integrate us into their own technology,” Lee Heung said. “We also have quite a few more traditional partners who have been asking us for more support as they build out their managed services. We want to make sure that they have programmatic support from us as well as technology.”
In addition to the MSP certification, Aqua also plans to significantly increase their strategic alliances.
“We want to expanding our partner ecosystem by 50%, building relationships with complementary alliances” Lee Heung noted. Aqua also wants to double revenue from partner sourced opportunities, by driving increased knowledge of the value that a platform solution provides to customers. They also plan to both increase the size of their channels team and the amount of MDF funding that they make available to partners.
Aqua also has announced that it has doubled channel-driven revenue year over year, with the introduction of the new partner program playing a key role here. Indirect revenue is now more than 65% of all Aqua’s revenue. This is also likely to increase significantly given that their Go-to-Market is now close to 100% channel, with the lag in channel revenues coming from the long 12-18 month sales cycle.
“We are exceeding expectations, as partners are making investments to help their customers be successful,” Lee Heung concluded.