McAfee Takes Aim at SMB Security Partners

Struthers, who has been on the job for just over four months, told CRN that McAfee began to “re-energize” its emphasis on SMB, which he defines as 250 seats or less, approximately one year ago. Saying that his company is already on a solid footing with home users and enterprise customers, “the $5.1 billion market is simply the next logical step.”

Struthers added that SMBs have the same security concerns as larger customers, but they often lack the expertise and resources to adequately protect themselves without extensive help from channel partners. Much of his channel recruitment strategy is based on three key factors: relevance, profitability and optimization.

[ Related: McAfee Enhances Security Offerings at High and Low End ]

Relevance, Struthers defines, is the partner’s ability to move beyond commodity licensing and demonstrate the ability to address the customer’s overall security posture, integrate multiple layers of protection and generally help customers make the right decisions.

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To address the second factor, profitability, McAfee has launched a variety of supporting initiatives, including a deal registration program that Struthers claims can add up to 25 percent additional margin with new business. As an incentive, it has also added a new rewards program aimed at individual sales representatives that pays incremental dollars on a per-node basis, with additional prizes available as well.

McAfee has been working on a way to address the third factor, optimization and overall ease of business, incrementally for the past 15 months by adding 50 percent more channel support people, including new channel account managers and inside sales representatives who sell exclusively through partners. Budgets to support channel programs have also been raised approximately 25 percent, Struthers told CRN.

To further aid in optimization, co-branded marketing campaigns, including assets for email blasts, etc., are now available through a relatively new Partner Acceleration Resource Center, which serves as a single-stop source for channel support. Struthers reports more than 30,000 visitors to the site during its first nine months of operation, and more than two-thirds of the visitors have returned at least once.

Additionally, McAfee’s Security Center Console is available to partners and customers in order to better monitor and manage security controls. The system can also generate reports on detected attacks in order to further demonstrate value and help drive renewals.

The company has also launched, “SMB TV,” which features approximately 20, three-minute videos that talk about customer pain points in the small-to-midmarket. And, a new advisory tool was created through which partners can enter customer parameters and dynamically generate security solution recommendations.

“We think differentiation starts with having the broadest product offering on-prem, or as a service for web, for mail, for vulnerability management and for endpoints,” Struthers said. “We want to enable them to be better trusted advisors. “