A new innings for Trend Micro’s Channel Partners
MD, Trend Micro (India & SEA)
With a revamped Channel programme in place, Trend Micro has a lot in store for its Channel. Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, Trend Micro (India & SEA), discusses at length with VARINDIA about the new channel strategies and policies that are instrumental in making the channel ecosystem even stronger than before
Channel is a very integral structure for Trend Micro and a critical one for all its strategies. Whenever it designs any product or any go-to-market strategy, it is done by keeping the Channel in mind so that partners are at ease to sell them irrespective of market conditions. “Earlier when it was just a physical product that we had to sell, we would ask our partners to go and sell it and give adequate support. But with the coming in of the Cloud era (SaaS & PaaS), Channel is starting to feel insecure that they might not have a very important role to play as far as such solutions are concerned. However, to allay this fear, we have designed the solutions in such a way that a partner can go and sell them. They can always do a white-labelling and have their own pricing and thus do their own value addition,” asserts Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, Trend Micro (India & SEA).
Trend Micro has recently launched a new partner programme and revamped its tiers to address the channel more closely. It has primarily taken up three key things to make it even more interesting. Firstly, it is identifying all those new products which have come up as a result of technology evolution and assigning them to partners based on their skills. “We have built some technologies which are next generation for which we are doing a lot of concept-selling and also helping build different skill-sets for partners so that they can go and sell those products. Earlier, we used to have the same partner selling end-point security or firewall security or data center security. However, since different partners carry different set of skills, we have in this new programme segmentized the channel depending on the skill-set that they carry. For instance, one of the partners may be good in selling cloud technology and are cloud-enablers for customers. So, he will be our Cloud partner. So, accordingly, we have categorized them based on their skill-sets and also designed the training module, rewards and incentive programmes keeping these segments in mind,” explains Thakkar.
Secondly, Trend Micro has homogenized its channel partner programme globally by doing away with the Affinity Partner programme that it used to have earlier. Now the programme has become a more standardized one with having introduced different levels of gold, platinum and silver partners. These are the registered partners who then move on to become gold, silver and premium partners based on their abilities and performance. “We have made it simpler, just to understand their strengths and put specific product lines with skilled partners only,” justifies Thakkar. Trend Micro has currently 2,400 registered partners, out of which 65 are silver partners, 14 gold partners and 3 platinum partners.
The third is the launching of structural programmes and various initiatives. In one of the initiatives, partners who are registered with Trend Micro can come and lock in their opportunities with the principal vendor which will be tracked and given adequate assistance to pursue it. If the deal gets locked, the partner is given an award.
However, it becomes equally important to review a particular programme periodically to check its acceptance in the channel and the general consensus on its structure and format. “Definitely. Our marketing team keeps on reviewing our programmes from time to time on how well they are doing. Since there is scope for improvement, we keep on improvising and making changes to these programmes very often,” says Thakkar. He further explains, “Technology is changing. If today we are talking about end-point security, then tomorrow it will be gateway security, then data center security and finally one day cloud security. In the same way, the profile and topology of a partner is going to change. The amount of resources you used to put in earlier is changing now. Hence, there is a core need to change the channel programme also.”
One of the best ways to help the partners in reducing the cost of selling is by giving more qualified leads to them for the product line that they are catering to. Trend Micro works closely with partners to achieve this for them and helps them in generating leads and remaining profitable all the way.