Check Point Shifts Partner Tiering Model To Boost Client Engagement

Check Point Software Technologies plans to adopt activity-based partner program tiering criteria that reward solution providers for taking actions that strengthen their bond with customers.

The San Carlos, Calif.-based platform security vendor said that, beginning in 2020, partners will be assigned to three tiers based on how frequently they engage in activities like meeting with customer C-suite executives, conducting product demos, or carrying out joint planning sessions with Check Point.

The activity model will replace Check Point's more conventional results-based tiering structure, which places customers in one of four tiers based on their year-over-year sales growth with the company, said Chief Customer Officer Dan Yerushalmi. Partners will start earnings points April 2 for engaging in predetermined activities, Yerushalmi said, and will be assigned to their appropriate tier in January 2020.

[Related: 5 Boldest Statements From Check Point CEO Gil Shwed At CPX 360]

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"We're starting with the activities rather than the bottom-line results," Yerushalmi said.

Solution providers will earn points by doing activities that Check Point believes drive customer spending and engagement. Sales Planning Manager Jeroen Moshe said channel partners can receive points for meeting with customers; bringing them to road shows and events; doing product demos or checkups; conducting joint planning sessions with Check Point account reps; and enrolling in training courses.

Within each criteria, Moshe said certain activities will be worth more points than others. For instance, Moshe said meetings with prospective customers or client C-suite executives will be worth more points than meeting with an existing customer or someone in the IT department.

Yerushalmi believes the new, activity-based incentive model will drive continuous partner engagement with the customer with pre-sales to ongoing maintenance rather than being narrowly fixated on revenue or booking numbers. This type of model is also expected to improve Check Point's performance around technologies that require continuous engagement such as cloud and mobile, Yerushalmi said.

Check Point's new activity-based partner program will have three tiers with to-be-determined names, Yerushalmi said. Between 5 percent and 10 percent of partners will be assigned to the top tier, while roughly 40 percent to 45 percent of partners will appear in each of the lower two tiers, according to Yerushalmi.

The company's current results-based partner program has four tiers: 2-Star, 3-Star, 4-Star and 4-Star Elite.

Partners will be able to log eligible activities as well as where the activities took place using a mobile app that Check Point is currently developing, Yerushalmi said. The number of points each activity is worth, as well as the minimum number of points a partner needs to qualify for a tier, will be finalized by the time the program launches April 2, according to Yerushalmi.

In addition to the standard points-based models, Yerushalmi said partners can be "fast-tracked" to a higher tier if they overachieve on key strategic priorities for Check Point around new business or prospects.

In addition to tracking activity at the partner level, Check Point will monitor the number of points earned by each employee, who will qualify for perks and rewards once they reach certain individual point thresholds. Individuals who earn a predetermined number of points will be eligible for trip to CPX events or Check Point's headquarters in Israel, according to Yerushalmi.

At a company level, Yerushalmi said solution providers assigned to a higher tier will be eligible for not only additional discounts but also other perks, including deal registration, free SecureAcademy courses, and the ability to generate additional revenue streams and grow closer to customers by servicing Check Point's products.

Providing partners with more return on their investment for training and engagement activities with customers should benefit Check Point's smaller partners with fewer resources, according to Christian Castillo, a security analyst with Montreal, Quebec-based EcoSys IP.

And having conversations with C-suite executives is more powerful than just speaking with technical people since the leadership team has a greater role to play in devising an organization's IT strategy, Castillo said.

"I think this is going to be better," Castillo said.