During a follow-up interview, Chris Doggett, SVP of Corporate Sales, and Gary Mullen, VP of Corporate Marketing, both for Kaspersky Lab North America, discussed how these partner program enhancements will drive further success for the digital security solution provider in 2013.
Channel Marketer Report (CMR): What changes and/or enhancements has Kaspersky Lab made to its channel program in the last year?
Chris Doggett: Last year we introduced a new set of field protection and margin retention mechanisms into the program to help provide pricing protection and profitability control for our partners. We did a lot of in-the-field channel marketing activities to help our partners — from a tactical marketing perspective — reach out to their customer bases and propose alternative solutions via Kaspersky products. However, one thing we needed to focus on more was scalability.
As a result, we’ve recently been working on providing a number of different tools partners can use, whether it’s through social media or email marketing, or other communication channels. These tools will allow partners to take content and templates we’re providing, and empower them to execute campaigns in a very scalable and repeatable way that requires very little investment and time on their part. In addition to the new content, we’ve also announced the availability of a partner marketing automation solution that’s based off of the Zift Solutions platform. This will help partners reach into their customer and prospect bases and come up with extremely compelling promotions and marketing campaigns to drive new opportunities.
CMR: How do you believe the partner marketing automation platform will improve overall campaign results?
Doggett: We’re expecting that the marketing automation platform will be beneficial to our partners, mostly because we recognize that in most cases, there are severe constraints around time and resources when it comes to planning and executing content marketing campaigns. While we may have great content to share with our partners, if we don’t make it easy for them to use that content, the uptake rate is pretty low. So overall, I think the platform will make a big difference.
We’re really excited because we have a lot of really great content, especially around our Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business product line. Everything from video content, to sales tools and enablement tools and things our partners can use to generate new opportunities very easily in a much more scalable and modern format than some of the things we’ve done in the past.
Gary Mullen: During the last year, we’ve been very focused on building out a whole new set of messaging, collateral and campaigns around the new products, so we think 2013 is going to be a very big year for us as a result.
CMR: What will you be focusing on from a marketing standpoint?
Mullen: We have focused our corporate marketing organization on two towers: channel marketing and demand generation. We hired a new Director of Channel Marketing for North America, Jon Whitlock, and his focus is on recruiting and enabling our partners to effectively drive this new product set [Endpoint Security for Business] into the market. For the demand generation organization, we have made a decision to focus resources and investments in the digital marketing arena, where we can get maximum reach for the messaging we’re putting out there for this product launch. That’s dramatically going to impact our partners’ business results, as well.
In any kind of digital marketing arena, content is key and we fully realize that to feed our digital engine we need a lot of content. Moreover, we recognize that there is a difference in terms of whether content is gated or un-gated. We plan to cover the gamut with a lot of different kinds of content, from white papers, to E-books, videos and even infographics. We also plan to take larger assets and boil them down for social media campaigns to drive to a landing page, creating a clear path to those larger assets. Our target buyer is known; we consider and understand the way this buyer consumes media, and we’re trying to build the assets we know will be attractive to them.
CMR: Are there any new developments that you’d like to share regarding Kaspersky Lab’s channel efforts?
Doggett: Within the last year, we’ve made a lot of other enhancements. We recently launched a new partner portal late in the fall 2012, and we also launched a new SPIFF/sales incentive platform for our partners and those things not only include new content, but also new tools such as a price configurator, for example, which is built into the deal registration process so partners can configure a certain proposal or pricing quotation in a pretty streamlined fashion, and register that opportunity with us to ensure that margin protection. This has had a substantial impact on our partners, because we’re making it easier, and a lot less time consuming, for them to do business with us.
We’ve also made some changes and adjustments to our sales teams and our approach from a marketing perspective, and the makeup of the channel marketing team. But from a sales perspective, we’ve reorganized our teams. In terms of our business approach, we’re 100% channel. We always go to market with our partners on every deal and bring our sales team in to help their sales team better position the product and answer questions about the product.
We have done a lot of streamlining and alignment for our teams, whether it’s from a territory, market segment, or vertical perspective, to match how our partners’ teams are organized. For example, we have two different teams, one for the public sector and one for the private sector.
In addition, we have organized all our geographic territories to match how our partners are located so that it is easier for partners to engage with us when we’re going out and doing events with their customers, for example. We’ve also created a channel sales outline for partners and are doing a regular series of briefings and webinars for partners, and a lot of marketing/sales enablement activities to help them be more successful in what they’re doing.