Pulse Secure Revamps Partner Program With Debut Of Rebates, MDF

Pulse Secure has revised its partner program to reward solution providers that obtain more certifications with new perks such as rebates and market development funds.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company said its new Access Now partner program will, for the first time, make placement in the top two tiers of the program contingent on the completion of multiple Pulse Secure certifications, according to Aaron Moroson, director of global channels. For their efforts, Elite and Preferred Pulse Secure partners will be rewarded with MDF and rebates for driving new business.

"We are becoming laser-focused on those partners that want to become really engaged [with Pulse Secure]," Moroson told CRN. "We're super-excited to launch the program."

[Related: Pulse Secure Targets MSSPs With Flexible Pricing, Provisioning Options]

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As part of the new program, Pulse Secure will reclassify its partners into three tiers based on their proficiency, expertise and growth: Elite, Preferred and Authorized. Partners will receive a letter next week regarding their new status, Moroson said, with Pulse Secure planning to recommended Elite status for roughly 6 percent of partners and Preferred status for roughly 10 percent of partners.

Pulse Secure plans to cull its partner base from 4,500 today to between 1,500 and 2,000 by getting rid of solution providers that are no longer actively transacting with the company, Moroson said.

As far as certifications are concerned, Moroson said Elite partners are expected to have at least two employees carrying a combined four certifications, one of which must be for the Pulse Policy Secure Network Access Control (NAC) offering. Preferred partners, meanwhile, are expected to have one employee with at least two certifications, Moroson said, one of which must be for Pulse Policy Secure.

Technical certifications require between three and five days of in-person instruction, said Moroson, noting that partners are expected to have their requisite certifications by the end of June. Partners can test out of a certification by passing the exam beforehand if they know the subject matter well, he said, and for a limited time will have access to a rebate that offsets the cost associated with getting certified.

There is some complexity associated with Pulse Secure offerings, Moroson said, and certifications can help ensure to end customers that partners are proficient around technologies such as network access control. The certification requirement will set apart partners that have invested time and energy into becoming educated and are committed to generating opportunities on their own, Moroson said.

Historically, Moroson said the only financial incentives Pulse Secure has offered are deal registration discounts, which will remain in place going forward. But going forward, Moroson said Pulse Secure plans to offer both certification rebates and growth rebates, as well as MDF.

As part of the growth rebate program, Moroson said Elite partners will receive a one-point discount for every 5 percent they grow, with a maximum possible discount of five points. Preferred partners, meanwhile, will receive a 0.5-point discount for every 5 percent they grow, with a maximum possible discount of 2.5 points, according to Moroson.

Elite partners will be eligible for MDF equivalent to 2 percent of their quarterly bookings number, Moroson said, while Preferred partners will be eligible for MDF equivalent to 1 percent of their quarterly bookings. The awards are associated only with new business rather than renewals, Moroson said, and will support proposal-based MDF where the partner is collaborating with Pulse Secure on campaigns.

The new Access Now partner program will allow Kudelski Security to further differentiate itself through the company's investments in technical certifications, resource alignment and security market leadership, according to Billy Marsh, the company's partner management director.

"The benefits that accrue to the top partners will allow us to earn even more margin with enhanced deal registration, rebate programs and MDF investments to grow and expand our security footprint," Marsh said in a statement.