Zero Trust Edge cloud security vendor iboss moves to 100% channel model

Iboss is looking to expand its channel with its new Go-to-Market model, particularly by strengthening their enterprise partners with partners who focus on the midmarket and smaller businesses.

Peter Martini, CEO of iboss

Boston-based iboss, which makes a cloud-based Zero Trust Security Service Edge platform, has announced a major change to their Go-to-Market model. Previously in North America they sold through a hybrid strategy. Now, they have shut down their direct sales force in North America and are going forward solely with channel partners selling.

“We have been channel-first globally for some time, and outside of North America, we used a two-tier model, with distribution and channel-only for sales,” said Peter Martini, CEO of iboss. “In the U.S., we had a more traditional channel model, with a channel team and an inside sales team, where once inside sales identified a deal, they typically brought in a channel partner. This was an older model, where the channel mainly did fulfilment, but in North America it lingered and stayed.”

The decision to move to 100% channel in North America was designed to improve partner relations.

“There are pluses and minuses in this kind of transition,” Martini said. “Some partners get tagged as fulfilment partners and that can be a bad rap. If a partner knows a vendor has a seller who can sell direct, they tend to be a little more cautious. If that doesn’t exist, there is no risk for the partners. There is nothing we can do internally to go around them or take a deal from them. To work better together, we need to build 100% trust.”

This decision resulted in another to dispense with the direct sales force.

“They are gone,” Martini stated. “When you make this sort of move, you have to completely commit. That was a bold move to do and it took a lot of effort. We have some company reps who work with the channel partners, but this is a new team that was hired.”

iboss is looking for this to streamline sales cycles.

“Before, a field seller would identify an opportunity, and bring in a partner when it was viable,” Martini said. “We took our budget for sales and reoriented it on the marketing side to the channel program. That helps streamline where leads come from, and how early the partner is engaged.”

The move to an all-channel model comes on the heels of the introduction of a new partner program last year.

“We had a partner program since 2010,” Martini said. “The new program relaunch was in late Q2 2022, and the formal launch took place this year.”

While the structure of the partner program itself was not changed by the Go-to-Market transition, channel marketing programs were positively impacted.

“We built out a new marketing team that’s just channel, and this took channel marketing from 25% to 70% of our marketing budget,” Martini indicated. “We also revamped our partner portal, adding dedicated technical resources for new partners to do training, and the ability for our support to do demos with partners. Our tech team is there with them. Without the direct sales, our channel margins also went up, and are approximately twice what competitors offer. They make the same margins as higher tier partners at our competitors.”

iboss is looking to increase the number of partners in their new model.

“We are looking to expand more,” Martini said. “We have a lot of enterprise sellers, and we want more who focus on the midmarket, and even the mom and pops.”