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SonicWall To Revamp Partner, MSSP Programs To Push Value Creation

SonicWall’s revamped SecureFirst partner program will incentivize partners that go beyond the foundational network security technology and sell some of the company's newer products.

SonicWall plans to unveil updates to its SecureFirst and MSSP programs in early 2020 that reward solution providers for cross-selling and doubling down on services.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based platform security vendor plans to move away from a purely volume-based incentive model for partners and instead embrace a program that rewards partner for value-based activities, according to HoJin Kim, vice president of North America channel sales.

"Partners will see that SonicWall is evolving to meet market requirements," Kim told CRN. "In North America, we very much have the wind at our backs."

[Related: Channel Champion Steve Pataky To Depart SonicWall After Three Years]

The revamped SecureFirst program will incentivize partners that go beyond SonicWall's foundational network security technology and sell some of the company's newer products in the endpoint security, wireless, and cloud application security spaces, Kim said. Partners should expect to see the updates to the SecureFirst and MSSP programs early in SonicWall's 2020 fiscal year, which begins Feb. 1, Kim said.

Updates to SecureFirst will also reward solution providers that have more pre-sales and post-support support available on their bench that are SonicWall trained and certified, Kim said. And given how important renewals are to SonicWall's business today, Kim said the revamped program will incentivize partners that have a wide breadth of customers to stay active on their renewals and upgrades.

And from a MSSP standpoint, Kim said SonicWall wants to make sure it's meeting market demand and facilitating a level of consistency for MSSPs. Consistency is a key factor for MSSPs when deciding which vendors to work with, Kim said, and SonicWall is therefore aiming to deliver consistency around everything from profitability to automation to the ease of doing business together.

Finally, Kim said SonicWall wants to reward MSSP partners that provide a high level of support to their customers. Providing partners with opportunities that are commensurate with the level they're investing in SonicWall now should help solution providers capture more revenue and better margins on their SonicWall business, Kim said.

"At the end of the day, that means more opportunity for everybody," Kim said.

The revamping of the SecureFirst and MSSP programs comes months after SonicWall introduced specializations in its partner program to emphasize products that have been most recently brought out to market, Kim said. The specializations give partners access to more training and enablement, Kim said, so that they can get skilled up in areas of SonicWall's portfolio outside of network security.

Partners that have a certain number of staff go through a requisite around of training in these emerging technologies will be eligible for additional discounts when selling these products from SonicWall, Kim said. More than 300 SonicWall partners have completed the training and certification work in the new specializations since they were launched a couple of months ago, making them eligible for discounts.

Partners that are providing good service shouldn't be punished if they come a couple thousand dollars short of the volume-based sales threshold, according to Michael Goldstein, CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based LAN Infotech. Goldstein appreciates that SonicWall has provided LAN Infotech with a roadmap of what solution providers need to do to maintain a high level of support around the company's products.

"As a small business, we're conscious that we may not meet those volume numbers, but we provide good service and don't want to be penalized," Goldstein told CRN.

On the MSSP side, Goldstein said SonicWall has excelled at going beyond textbook training to provide partners like LAN Infotech with practical knowledge that can be applied in the real-world. SonicWall also offers annual updates to engineers in channel organizations so they can keep pace with the latest developments without having to sit through lots of repetitive content, Goldstein said.

"It's great to see SonicWall out there changing their program as they see the market changing," Goldstein said.

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