Large Partners: McAfee New Deal Reg Program A 'Win'

McAfee’s newly enhanced enterprise and commercial deal registration program seems to be readily embraced by some of the company’s largest channel partners, who say it provides security to make upfront investments for potential deals while adding a much welcome margin increase that boosts profits.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee, now the security arm of Intel, first revealed the revamped deal registration program last week during CRN’s Everything Channel Xchange Americas 2011 conference. The program was launched with the aim of securing potential deals for channel partners at the beginning phases with a big margin boost, quicker response times and a more streamlined overall processes, McAfee executives said.

Under the new Commercial and Enterprise deal registration program, currently undergoing refinements through a partner pilot program, Elite, Premier and Select channel partners can receive up to 25 percent in margin protection on new registered deals and up to 10 percent on upgrades for various McAfee suites.

The deal registration tweaks also allow McAfee Associate partners to have limited participation in the new program with margin protection capped at 10 percent.

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Additional program enhancements include accelerated approval times, intended to expedite the sales cycle and help partners close deals faster with a registration response that comes between 24 and 48 hours.

The launch of the new McAfee deal registration program followed a partner-led pilot program that showed dramatic increases in margins, which ’more than doubled business with key partners,’ Alex Thurber, McAfee vice president of worldwide channels, told CRN Monday.

’We validated it and went and tested it with a few of our largest partners and it was hugely successful,’ he said.

Dennis London, partner and vice president of Fountain Valley, Calif.-based London Security Solutions, as well as a member of the McAfee partner advisory council, said that perhaps more than the margin incentives, the streamlined deal registration process would have the greatest impact to his business by facilitating a less cumbersome sales cycle.

London said that the accelerated response time represented ’more than just a minor tweak’ adding that historically ’deal registration wasn’t always the quickest turnaround.’

’We’re no longer having to wait for step one, then step two and step three and five days or a week later get a response,’ he said. ’It’s easier than it was before. That was a stumbling block for a lot of resellers. They would look at it and think, ’In order to get that, I have to go through this long deal registration process.’ But you add an extra 10 points in one area and another 25 points in another, and it’s worth it. Plus, it’s not as difficult as it once was.’

Thurber said that the company was driven to revamp its enterprise and deal registration program based on feedback from its partner advisory council indicating that the current program was ’not all that exciting.’

’We could tell from the deal reg rates that it wasn’t motivating our partner to the level that we liked,’ he said. ’I hate the idea of making it hard to take orders. That’s the last area that we’re really focusing on now. We’re making it more streamlined and we will continue to get better and better at that, so if the deals get stuck somewhere in the approval process, it will be escalated quickly and we’ll be on top of it.’

Next: McAfee Deal Registration Incents Bigger Customer Investments

London also anticipates a significant uptick in sales -- as well as margins -- because, he said, the program incents its partners to make bigger investments and seek new opportunities with tangible financial rewards.

’Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated,’ London said. ’It’s a huge thank-you that McAfee can give us, not just as partners, but as sales people.’

Dan Wilson, co-founder and vice president of partner alliances at Denver, Colo.-based Accuvant, one of McAfee’s leading security solution provider partners, also said that the deal registration program represented a ’major change,’ anticipating that it will drive margins up a few points almost immediately.

’This new program is as aggressive as anything that we have seen from a major partner like McAfee,’ Wilson said.

In addition, Wilson echoed that the beefed up margins will likely incent his sales team to make bigger investments in potential customers and put more time into the sales cycle knowing that they have an umbrella of protection.

’It takes weeks of time building proofs of concept, building architecture, building RFP points to pricing the deal out,’ Wilson said, but added that ’our sales people on the street will be more apt to pursue McAfee opportunities’ with the new program.

’If they know we’re going to make those double digit margins, then we can afford to invest on that opportunity,’ he said. ’It really removes that risk. We can afford now to put this engineer on site for a week, or use this product or that solution set to address an issue.’

Thurber said that ultimately the changes were designed to do just that.

’With new deals or new logos, that’s the most expensive part of any sales process,’ Thurber said. ’It’s providing that deal protection so they feel confident that they feel confident they can make the investment in these new customers and new deals and not lose out at the last minute.’