Kaspersky's Channel In 2011: 'Laser Focus'

Kaspersky Lab will lean on its channel harder than ever in 2011 and have a "laser focus in working with partners," Nancy Reynolds, Kaspersky's senior vice president of corporate sales and support, told a room full of partners Friday at Kaspersky's Partner Conference.

According to Reynolds, the Moscow-based endpoint security player is coming off a successful 2010 where small business sales were up 46 percent in North America; mid-market sales jumped 53 percent in North America and enterprise sales skyrocketed 115 percent in North America.

That "up and to the right" growth was fueled by Kaspersky's 2010 mission to be smarter than, faster than and better than the competition with the mix of the right partners, the right resources and the right people -- Kaspersky roughly doubled its sales staff from 2009 to 2010.

But Kaspersky won't rest on its laurels in 2011. The company will focus heavily on partner relationships and helping them evolve into business partnerships, Reynolds said.

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And part of that mutual business plan will require partners to ask themselves two questions: Does it matter? And does it matter now?

Kaspersky will "move the stuff off and really focus on what matters to partners' businesses," Reynolds said, noting that Kaspersky is entering 2011 with a "less is more" attitude.

"Healthy margins and healthy partners doesn't mean more partners," she said.

To enable the channel, Kaspersky established a 12-member partner advisory council to be a conduit between partners and the company.

"We've always been a wildly successful company, and we want to make sure we don't screw it up," Reynolds said.

But the main goal in 2011 is to continue to execute.

"If at the end of the day we're not executing with every single partner...we haven't done our job."

And to execute, Kaspersky will roll out a host of new programs and incentives, including launching a new partner portal that streamlines the disparate portals of the past and putts all information, tools and programs in a single clean and intuitive interface, which is also customizable.

Gary Mullen, Kaspersky's vice president of corporate marketing, said Kaspersky will also launch the Kaspersky Total Rewards Program to incent and attract top partners.

Next: Drilling Down On The Total Rewards Program

As part of the Total Rewards Program, which is open to members of Kaspersky's Green Team partner program, solution providers will earn rewards for sales and training involvement and will be rewarded in cash via a reloadable cash card. To kick off the program, channel managers will give partners a card good for $25 the first time a solution provider sales rep signs up for the Total Rewards Program. The Web site for the Total Rewards Program will also feature sales, marketing and communication tools.

Kaspersky also plans to launch a new incentive program around its revitalized training portal, Mullen said.

The Total Rewards Program and the new Kaspersky University Training Program will launch to partners on Feb. 8, Mullen said.

Other new programs on the horizon include a Kaspersky evaluation portal, which is a one-stop shop for product evaluations, online demos and additional information. A series of how-to videos answering solution providers' frequently asked questions is also on the way.

Kaspersky is also planning a full-on marketing and advertising blitz that will drive business to Kaspersky partners, said Randy Drawas, Kaspersky's CMO. The campaign will be centered on the slogan: "It's time to get serious."

"We want everybody to be aware of who we are," Drawas said, adding that the TV spots will be complemented by Kaspersky's largest ever online advertising buy.

Overall, Reynolds said, Kaspersky is storming into 2011 looking to continue its success of previous years.

"Kaspersky's got your back," Reynolds said.