McAfee partners could see more money in their pockets this quarter after the company announced recent enhancements to its 2008 SecurityAlliance Opportunity Registration program.
Most notably, the revised deal registration program, which went into effect at the end of January, offers expanded margin opportunities for partners by providing a significant profit increase for identifying and developing new business. The enhancement includes the availability of a flat 15 percent margin increase for registration opportunities with standard or promotional pricing.
"The concept is simple," said Dave Dickison, senior vice president of North American channels. "What we're trying to do is to reward partners that are making an investment in McAfee."
"One of the key aspects is to try to keep it as simple as possible," said Dickison. "They bring an opportunity forward. We approve it. You get a 15 percent margin enhancement."
"It's about rewarding partners on the front end with back end profitability," he added.
What sets this program feature apart, execs say, is that is the margin increases are available for a full year after the initial purchase when a minimum deal threshold is met. Dickison said that the decision to extend the deal eligibility timeframe to a year was inspired by the fact that in general, businesses purchase technology over a period of time, starting first with a pilot and then moving forward to a broader, company-wide deployment.
"The unique nature of companies that buy technology is that they typically don't buy it all up front," said Dickison. "They continue to engage to get what we both want. You reach that when you get to enterprise deployment."
The program provides the same advantage to incumbent partners in cases where customers opt for incremental deployments of a McAfee product or wish to expand initial installation after a pilot phase evaluation.
Partners say that the expanded channel opportunities indicate that McAfee execs have seriously taken into account past feedback that VARs have provided.
"They listened to the channel partners," said Brad Miller, sales manager for SolidBorder, based in San Antonio, Texas. "They actually are focusing on customers' needs and allowing partners to make a margin on selling those products."
But it wasn't always like that, partners say. Miller said that prior to this quarter, some of McAfee's upgrades and promotions contained clauses that penalized partners for lost deals and made it challenging to gain margin points.
"The promotions that ran -- there was always a catch or a 'gotcha,'" Miller said. "Before I think the decision was made by someone who didn't talk to partners on a regular basis."
Unlike past quarters, the recent promotion now protects partners, Miller said, even when the deal doesn't go through. "This is one of the first promotions that we can get excited about," he said. "We can actually make money and lose a deal now if we bring a deal to the table, which is just incredible."
Additional improvements include an increase to the lost-deal rebate, which is paid to the registering partner when a competing partner closes the business. McAfee execs also maintain that a simplified registration approval flow was initiated to ultimately increase efficiency and help partners meet their profit margin goals.