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Email Security Firm Agari Unveils New Channel Execs, Partner Program

Agari CMO Armen Najarian says the share of business going through the company’s channel will increase from less than 50 percent today to more than 70 percent within the next year or two.

Agari has hired its first-ever channel marketing and channel sales leaders and unveiled a three-tier partner program to increase the amount of business flowing through solution providers.

The Foster City, Calif.-based email security vendor wants to boost its global partner roster from 75 solution providers today to 100 by the end of the year, according to Chief Marketing Officer Armen Najarian. Agari additionally expects the share of business going through the channel to increase from less than 50 percent today to more than 70 percent within the next year or two, Najarian said.

Much of that push will come from former ValiMail Chief Marketing Officer Mandeep Khera and Illusive Networks Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales Tracy Pallas, who both started at Agari on Aug. 21 as head of worldwide channel marketing and head of worldwide channel sales, respectively.

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"That dedicated focus and day-to-day attention will translate into a better experience for the partners," Najarian told CRN exclusively. "We're putting our money where our mouth is."

The Agari Partner Power Program will separate solution providers into elite, premier and select tiers based on the revenue and resource commitments the partner has made to the Agari relationship, Najarian said. Revenue thresholds have yet to be determined, Najarian said, and elite partners will be expected to have at least one resource dedicated to supporting the Agari business.

Margin at the elite level will be approximately 50 percent higher than margins at the select level, though Najarian said Agari hasn't nailed down the exact numbers yet. In the long-run, Najarian expects 10 percent of Agari partners to be at the elite level, 40 percent to be at the premier level, and the remaining 50 percent to be at the select level.

Elite partners will have someone from the Agari executive team assigned to provide individual support and ensure success and maximum results from the relationships, according to Najarian. In addition, Najarian said elite partners will have access to Agari's beta product program, enabling these solution providers to get their hands on and expose their customers to upcoming Agari products sooner.

"We're going to give this program the care and feeding and attention that's needed," Najarian said.

As partners move up the tiers, Najarian said they will benefit from increased account management and onboarding support, quarterly business reviews and inclusion in the annual Agari sales kickoff. New channel partners will be expected to have a pipeline within the first few months, Najarian said, and be selling in a productive and efficient manner within the first six months.

Partners will be retroactively assigned to a tier by the end of this week, according to Najarian.

From a personnel standpoint, Najarian praised Khera and Pallas for their experience in the email security space, which he said helped them both get onboarded and be productive much more quickly. Khera has extensive experience scaling channel programs and driving onboarding, education and support, he said, while Pallas is a known entity because she had worked with a number of existing Agari employees.

Khera will be responsible for looking at the structure of Agari's partner program, attracting new solution providers into Agari's orbit, and diving deeper into the qualification process, Najarian said. He is responsible for handling joint programs, MDF, the partner portal, training and enablement, and the certification process.

Khera is currently the sole employee in Agari's channel marketing organization, though Najarian expects him to receive direct reports in early 2019. Until then, Najarian said Khera will be able to take advantage of Agari's corporate marketing engine for help with defining new campaigns, developing new assets, measuring the pipeline, and building great content experiences.

Pallas, meanwhile, will be most focused on demand generation and revenue generation to help solution providers close deals that might need corporate support, especially for partners in an earlier stage, Najarian said. Account management for partners and periodic business reviews will sit under Pallas, who will also help with qualifying and finalizing partner relationships and agreements.

Agari's existing 3-4 partner relationship managers (PRMs) will be reporting into Pallas and working hand-in-hand to drive relationships with channel partners, support the sales cycle, and ensure partners are taking advantage of the ongoing education and certifications available to them, Najarian said. Agari's PRM team will also grow over time, according to Najarian.

"The channel ecosystem will look to Agari as being a very partner-centric and partner-friendly organization," Najarian said. "All of these investments are evidence of that and will support that."

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