Trend Micro Adds New Tiers, Incentives In Global Partner Program Revamp

Trend Micro is revamping its global partner program to standardize branding, naming, revenue requirements and benefits, said Partha Panda, vice president of global channels and alliances at Trend Micro. The changes will be supported through a new partner portal, simplified training for sales and technical engineers, and incentives that will cut across country boundaries, he said.

"Trend has a very mature and successful program, but the synergies need to be flowing between the different regions," Panda told CRN. "The first step is to make sure we are all on the same page."

The plan, which will be rolled out gradually through 2015, introduces Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. It adds a new referral level, providing an incentive of 7 to 10 points for technology service providers and regional consultancies that don't want to participate as a software reseller, Panda said. The changes also will increasingly rely on regional distributors to help manage the program elements and recruit and enable partners in the heavily populated Silver and Bronze tiers, where additional support is needed, Panda said.

[Related: Trend Micro Cutting Partners Via Formal Review Program ]

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Tokyo-based Trend Micro has been the No. 3 provider of security software behind Intel Security (formerly McAfee) and Symantec. But IBM, which acquired endpoint security software maker Trusteer in a $1 billion deal last year, overtook Trend Micro in a recent market-share report from research firm Gartner. To bolster growth, Trend Micro recently simplified its product portfolio for small and midsize businesses. Panda said a dedicated team manages pre- and post-sales support to its SMB channels and it has added an up-front discount of 40 points for resellers of its SMB products.

In the U.S. Trend Micro said it has adjusted its incentives, cut ties with underperforming partners and invested in channel support teams in the field.

The company also made it easier to protect deals through its revised partner portal, said Oscar Flores, president of Riverview, Fla.-based systems integrator Adsevero, a Trend Micro partner for nearly 15 years. Flores said Adsevero sells Trend Micro's enterprise-grade products, specializing in its Deep Discovery breach detection service and its Deep Security protection for physical, virtual and cloud servers.

"We are creating mass email campaigns through their website and calling campaigns through some of the distributors to help get the word out on the solutions they have," Flores said. "They're probably one of the best manufacturers I've seen that establishes and maintains an ongoing relationship with their partners."

Trend Micro's global program rollout reflects many changes it has made to the North American program. It gives Platinum-level partners access to marketing and development funds, a dedicated channel account manager, and an up-front discount of 38 points; they can earn 20 points for deal registration and 10 points for renewals. Specialization bonuses of 3 percent to 5 percent are also available. Gold-level partners receive a 36-point discount and can earn 20 points for deal registration.

Partners must maintain their tier-level status by meeting minimum revenue requirements and a percentage of net new deals. The company also is considering adding certification requirements with each tier, Panda said.

Trend Micro also is adding a revamped training program, establishing separate online courses for sales and technical training with a separate route for those to gain certification around its complete end user, custom defense, or cloud security products. The Web-based training is free and self-paced. Certification requires hands-on training over three days and costs about $2,000 per attendee.

"The sheer number and combinations of products for different certifications and training had become unmanageable," Panda said.

The security vendor is also providing more support and incentives to partners to bundle Trend Micro with products from its key technology alliance partners, including Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and VMware.