Security Startup LookingGlass Turning To Partners For Next Phase Of Growth

Security startup LookingGlass is planning a channel expansion in a big way, new channel chief Laurie Potratz told CRN.

As startup, LookingGlass had a channel program, but it had ’lots of different pieces’ and was a puzzle to figure out, Potratz said. When she joined the Reston, Va.-based company as vice president of global channels and alliances four months ago, she was charged with creating a single, cohesive program that had the margins and deal protections partners were looking for.

Now, the threat intelligence management company has done just that, she said, rolling out a new partner program late last month to revamp its approach to the channel. The new program, called the LookingGlass Cyber Guardian Network, is what Potratz called a ’progressive partner program’ with three tiers: premier, elite and master. Where the program sets itself apart is in removing revenue requirements, instead basing its tiers on mutually agreed targets and business plans.

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The program has a 15 percent discount for partners, with additional margin ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent for deal registration that increases as a partner moves up the tiers.

The program does not offer MDF. Potratz said she is ’not a believer in MDF,’ preferring instead to work with partners one-on-one to develop thoughtful marketing programs, rather than being allocated funds and held to a certain period to demonstrate ROI.

’We have got it really right and we’re agile and flexible enough that if we misstep we can fix it. I’m feeling very good about what we’re delivering. It’s what partners have been asking for,’ Potratz said.

Potratz said LookingGlass will now turn an eye to targeted partner recruitment, looking for partners with a deep foundational security expertise.

Potratz has a strong background in developing channel programs. She joins LookingGlass from VMware, where she was head of global go-to-market strategy. She has also held channel leadership roles at Brocade Communications, Symantec, Veritas Software and BMC Software, companies where she helped expand business through partners.

That experience will be critical at LookingGlass, as the channel is ’critical’ to the company’s growth, Potratz said. The technology requires someone with a knowledge of the security space and a ’surgical’ sale process, she said, making the channel invaluable to the ’expansive’ growth the company is seeing.

’I know that partners can feel confident that we are going to look them in the eye and keep our word and be the best partner we can be for them. They are critical to our expansion,’ Potratz said.

David Schlosser, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Reston, Va.-based ThunderCat Technology, said having trusted leadership with a strong channel background, such as Potratz, is a key factor in his business choosing a vendor partner.

’They understand what a partner’s value is. I think they will get it right,’ Schlosser said. ’It helps to have veterans of the industry that know the market space and have diverse backgrounds so they understand partner value and they understand how big OEMs work. They are good guys that can be trusted and they’re showing that with their partner programs and the way they go to market,’ he said.

What will be key now is to continue improving partner deal registrations and approvals, as well as providing good profit margins for partners who sell the LookingGlass solutions, Schlosser said.

’They have the opportunity to get it right,’ Schlosser said. ’With some of the people coming from places like Cisco, they understand what partners' value is. I think they will get it right.’