Websense Launches New Combined Partner Program

Websense execs say that the new comprehensive program makes it easier for channel partners to engage, sell and support the company's growing portfolio of intelligent content protection solutions.

"It feels really good," said Eric Malone, director of channel enablement for San Diego-based Websense. "It combines the best elements of both companies to make it a more concise program."

As part of the program, Websense offers new product bundles and an expanded security portfolio, allowing partners to sell to a broader customer base. In addition, the company also plans to offer new packaged Web, messaging and data security solutions.

Execs say that the new product bundles provide increased opportunities to offer data leakage and data security products across the segments. "There's a lot of cross-sell opportunities," Malone said, adding that dedicated teams were created to focus on both the enterprise and SMB spaces in order to meet their specific channel needs.

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Websense acquired SurfControl on October 3 of 2007, which doubled its customer base to more than 50,000 and significantly expanded its content protection capabilities. But with the merger, came the enormous undertaking of integrating two channel programs into one functional organization.

One of the company's biggest goals was to ensure that SurfControl partners were assimilated and taking advantage of program benefits while the two programs were undergoing the integration process. To acheive a smooth transition, Websense conducted multiple surveys, one-on-one meetings and conferences with both sets of partners.

The resulting feedback from the extensive outreach and surveys were incorporated into a new program with a flexible framework that aims to meet the needs of partners from all market segments and business models. Websense also plans to address the expanding segments and diverse channel relationships with six new partner types, including system integrators, which will be rolled out during the last half of 2008.

"We understand that there are different ways you do business with a customer," said Malone. "You start off small and then you execute well."

The new online portal currently further streamlines the process for partners who need to access comprehensive product information, competitive product guides, marketing campaign kits, online deal registration, product renewal management, training and certification exams, as well as other resources. Execs say that the company has and will continue to automate as many processes as possible in order to increase efficiency and accessibility for their partners.

In addition, Websense offers free training to its partners, which can be taken at their discretion online or during face-to-face courses.

"Partners need to be armed to deliver a solution to customers. We want to make sure they're completely prepared for that," said Malone. "There're a number of different learning paths. We want to make sure we're providing them with valuable product offerings."