Lancope Recruits Partners For Network Security Platform

Lancope executives are transitioning the company's sales approach to more fully embrace the channel, and launching a new partner program developed and overseen by a longtime channel veteran.

The Alpharetta, Ga.-based networking vendor sells StealthWatch System, which inspects traffic flow, ensures network performance and provides an additional layer of protection against threats on the network. It currently has fewer than 100 partners globally that are qualified to sell, deploy and maintain the traffic-flow-analysis system. The company has been relying on large systems integrators that have strong networking specialists and an information security practice. Lancope products are highly integrated with an organization's network infrastructure, requiring skilled engineers to deploy and maintain, said Dan Sibille, a channel veteran who is developing and rolling out Lancope's new partner program.

"Given the complexity of our product, and the fact that it is a comprehensive security sale, we are going to try to attract resellers that can provide these solutions in complex enterprise environments," Sibille said. "It's not only finding a reseller that can provide the solution and get it to the customer, it's finding one that can provide maintenance support, tier-1 support and professional service support."

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Sibille, who was appointed Lancope's new vice president of worldwide channels last November, called 2013 a transition year for the company. Lancope did 70 percent of its sales through the channel with the bulk of it fulfilled business, Sibille said.

Sibille has worked for 3Com, Extreme Networks, Polycom, WatchGuard, and has been developing national and global channel programs and their components. He said there shouldn't be any conflict with the company's current hybrid sales model.

"The biggest ingredient for success is the field people and their mentality," Sibille said. "I've been pleased that at every level of the organization, everyone has been extremely supportive as we transition to more of a channel model."

Lancope competes with Riverbed, Fluke Networks and other vendors that are increasingly combining network-performance monitoring and threat-detection capabilities. Lancope's core focus has been security, according to Gartner, which said the company's price point is more expensive than competing products. The company's technology ecosystem includes a strong partnership with Cisco Systems, and maintains a broad technology ecosystem that includes Brocade, Blue Coat, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto Networks, VMware and others. The Cisco partnership -- the company is on Cisco's Global Price List -- helped Lancope gain access to its partner base, and has opened up executives to more fully embracing the channel, Sibille said.

"The company found the leverage and force multiplier that you can get from being engaged with the channel, and they liked it," Sibille said.

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Lancope has been delivering a strong product and consistently improving it over time, said Justin Smith, president and chief operating officer of Buffalo, N.Y.-based Brite Computers. Smith said the product scales well and can show a return on investment quickly, making for smooth client engagements. Lancope provides visibility from a security perspective for users, Smith said.

"At this point, what we are doing is helping to implement the technology, train the client in how to use it, and then they manage it on a day-to-day basis," Smith said.

Lancope's new Secure Partner Program consists of Expert, Professional and Associate levels. The Expert level was developed to attract national or global systems integrators, and consultancies that have a comprehensive team of sales engineers and professional services support. The annual revenue requirement is $1 million in products and services. Partners are required to have eight certified salespeople and four certified sales engineers. The Professional level may appeal to smaller national resellers and regional partners with a strong networking practice, Sibille said. The revenue goal is $250,000 annually. Professional-level partners are required to have four certified salespeople and two certified sales engineers. The company may roll out an alliance or a referral level in the future, Sibille said.

Depending on the partner and the customers they are servicing, margins can range anywhere from 20 to 30 points, Sibille said. Lancope will provide direct support for Expert-level providers, and access to both the field team and inside sales teams. Most professional and associate partners will rely more heavily on distributors for support and enablement, Sibille said.

In the next six months, a more comprehensive training and certification program will be rolled out, Sibille said. The company currently has a new, two-to-four-hour sales-training module targeted for the classic account manager and a hands-on, lab technical course that runs two days.