Kaspersky Lab has gone on a bit of a partner recruitment spree, reporting the number of new partners in its Green Team channel program has spiked by some 300 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2013. But now, the security vendor’s North American sales chief is focused on getting those new partners successfully up and running and enabled.
“We went out and identified where we had white space in terms of market coverage, and set out to recruit partners that were a good fit in areas where we didn’t have a go to partner, said Chris Doggett, senior vice president of corporate sales for Kaspersky Lab North America. “The team has been very successful in going out and recruiting a significant number of new partners, and that’s helped a lot. You can see it in the results.”
For the first half of 2013, the company is reporting a 22 percent increase in its business-to-business volume, including a 34 percent spike in private sector sales and 30 percent increase in the midmarket, and some real headway made in the enterprise sector, where the company grew 121 percent. A lot of that B2B growth has no doubt been fueled by the launch of the Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business, which rounds out its B2B security story and introduces new functionality. But the growing channel has also played a key part.
Doggett stressed that Kaspersky still isn’t a “big tent” type of channel program – with the rampups, it is adding “hundreds of new partners, not thousands,” and that’s the way it wants it. Even with the new partners, Doggett says the Kaspersky channel community in North Amreica sits at “a few thousand.”
Now, the plan is to get those new partners active and engaged with the company. Doggett said the company intends to slow down its recruitment, diverting resources away from finding and wooing new partners, and towards getting those partners active. That’s always the trick for vendors – converting excited new recruits into long term active partners. And Kaspersky seems to be sticking with the tried-and-true to make it happen – a high-touch approach
“We’re doing some of the traditional things that have worked for us, like channel managers in the field meeting with those partners, and inside teams doing more one-to-many sessions throughout the onboarding and enablement process,” Doggett said. “We want to give [our partners] a sense that they’re not just a number and we’re not just some monolithic company pumping out e-mails to them.”
That’s not to say that the e-mails aren’t coming. They’re being joined by a bunch of one-to-many channel marketing tools, including ramped-up content creation in the form of videos, newsletters, and even a revamped partner portal.
“We want to make [being a partner] as simple as we can, within reason,” Doggett said.
Doggett stressed that the onboarding of new partners isn’t over yet. While it’s being scaled back from the large number of new partners joining the company over the course of the first half, he said he expects to continue to push to fill a few remaining holes in coverage in the back half of the year.