Kaspersky Lab Unveils Named Accounts Strategy To Boost Sales At Large Enterprises

Kaspersky Lab executives are planning to move aggressively into larger businesses with a team of regional enterprise sales reps as part of a new named accounts strategy.

The goal is to hit hard at longtime market leaders Symantec and McAfee with its endpoint security software, said Kaspersky Lab Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales, North America, Chris Doggett, in an interview with CRN. Doggett said the company remains committed to its 100 percent-channel approach and plans to bring in select partners early on in the sales process.

’We have built out a new enterprise team in the last year, and the approach we’ve developed is both field- and inside-based,’ said​ Doggett.

[Related: Kaspersky Lab Fires Up Partners, Anticipates Double-Digit Growth in 2014 ]

Sponsored post

Under the new go-to-market strategy for enterprise accounts, Kaspersky Lab will call on favored regional partners for engagements. Favored partners will be identified by either customer preference or the enterprise sales team. Preferential consideration will be given to partners that have knowledge and expertise on Kaspersky products and hold technical certifications, Doggett said.

’We have a large channel team on Kaspersky that is responsible for every partner under the sun, from the single, sole-proprietor technical guy all the way up to the largest national partners,’ Doggett said. ’Now we have people on the team that are responsible on a named account basis for specific partners.’

The sales force is focused on named accounts in New York, Chicago and Seattle. Kaspersky Lab plans to expand its team to focus on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and Toronto. The company has a field sales rep and a field system engineer in each of its three enterprise territories. They are both backed up by an inside sales team that provides additional support, Doggett said. The company’s channel team conducted a thorough review to identify partners to work with enterprise deals early in the sales process, Doggett said.

While partner compensation is consistent for all partners, regardless of deal size or market segment, the company has implemented a new rule under the named accounts engagement. In the event that the Kaspersky enterprise sales team generates a new opportunity and engages a partner in that opportunity, then the partner is eligible to receive the base discount amount, but not eligible to earn additional discounts under the deal registration program.

"We believe we have a job to do in terms of meeting the partner and its capabilities, and the partner has a job to do in terms of managing that customer relationship," Doggett said.

Some of Kaspersky Lab’s top channel partners, members of the security vendor’s partner advisory council, said it was the first they had heard of the new strategy. The move is a positive one for the channel as long as fulfillment continues to go through a partner, said Michael Knight, chief technology officer of Greenville, S.C.-based Encore Technology Group. This is very likely the company's attempt to build on its brand recognition and get more large businesses to give Kaspersky a look, Knight said.

"If they are going in there and really trying to push the sale to get these companies to turn their heads towards a big industry name and then fulfill through one of their managed partners, I think that's perfectly equitable," Knight said.

In addition, Kaspersky Lab is continuing to invest in headcount at some resellers and distributors to support field sales operations, recruitment and training, Doggett said. In large national partners, Kaspersky provides resources in-house to be a go-to person for sales reps.

NEXT: Kaspersky Engaging Larger Businesses With New Products, Services

Last week, Kaspersky Lab unveiled a Certified Service Provider Program to enable certified partners to provide the professional services offered by Kaspersky Lab systems engineers. It is being launched in conjunction with a new Platinum-level support option targeted for enterprises. The program includes remote and on-site services. To avoid channel disruption, the company put deal protection in place, barring professional services partners from selling into the premium support client for a period of one year.

Kaspersky's Doggett said Kaspersky Lab sees an opportunity to gain on U.S. market leaders Symantec and McAfee while it is increasingly being pressured from a crowded field of competitors gaining traction in the SMB market, including Avast, AVG and ESET. In addition to antimalware protection, the company's platform also includes file and full-disk encryption and mobile device management capabilities.

"If you look at the two largest players in the market, they both have some significant challenges, some of which are self-imposed and some of which are market dynamics that are clearly causing customers and partners to look elsewhere," Doggett said. "We hear from partners and customers all the time that they cannot believe the decisions these two companies are making."

Kaspersky executives also point to the company's security suite for virtualization as one of a line of new products that would appeal to enterprises. Customized security intelligence services should appeal to larger businesses, Doggett said. New protection for industrial control systems is aimed at manufacturers and other large businesses that maintain and secure supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software. A fraud prevention suite targeted at banks and large financial institutions is being planned. The firm's product road map also incudes plans for networking gear, including an anti-botnet product and an internally developed anti-DDoS appliance.

Despite investing heavily to go into enterprise accounts, the SMB segment remains a core part of the business, Doggett said. The company sells Kaspersky Endpoint Security For Business and Kaspersky Small Office Security aimed at small businesses. "Those products continue to advance and are a major share of the investment; nothing is declining there," Doggett said.