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McAfee executives say they are seeing strong growth throughout the company's broad security portfolio with systems integrators winning deals four to one. At the recent McAfee SecurityAlliance Partner Summit in Las Vegas, the security vendor's sales team highlighted many of its channel partner successes.
The company's top 25 partners grew 25 percent in the past year, including more than 30 percent growth in sales of its network security appliances. The company said is on track to see 36 percent growth in sales with Accuvant and more than 50 percent growth with Fishnet, but smaller resellers need additional support, said Gavin Struthers, senior vice president of worldwide channel operations at McAfee.
In a recent interview with CRN, Struthers explained how McAfee is investing in distributors like Arrow Electronics, Ingram Micro and Tech Data to help fuel growth in 2014. There are also changes ahead to the company's SecurityAlliance Partner Program to bolster sales in the small and midsize business segment. Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
How important are distributors to McAfee?
Distribution is important for us. They're important for volume. They have the ability to do the end-to-end sales and delivery and banking and credit most effectively across hundreds of vendors. That is the volume play. They are very efficient with that. The value-added distributors do a lot of presales work. They'll invest in expertise and help the resellers sell more complex solutions. They'll hire presales technical sales guys and run training. They do proof of concepts and demos and basically run right into the field with the partners to do deals. They're important in emerging markets and smaller markets. In Japan, there's a distributor there that does pen testing and proof of concepts in their lab, proving that they've got a lot of expertise.
What value do U.S. distributors bring to the channel?
In the U.S., it's more volume oriented or SaaS and cloud oriented. As we evolve routes to market, distribution has to evolve too or risk losing out. Many of them want to be in cloud and aggregate billing. If you are a managed service provider and you have 10 vendors that do monthly billing and reporting, they can aggregate that. If they put in parallels, they can do multivendor billing on monthly recurring revenue for resellers. That's huge value. Arrow Electronics, Ingram Micro and Tech Data are all over that.
What other programs does McAfee do with distributors?
If you look at segments, commercial and SMB, we run funded programs where they go and recruit resellers. We have a distribution recruitment program. We pay them. We'll pay them a percentage of the business that they generate with a dormant reseller that transacted with McAfee longer than four quarters ago or a new reseller. We give them rich profitability on the back end of that. They'll do modeling on who is ... current and who is dormant, and they'll go after them and try to bring them into their program and then they'll make back-end rebate on it.