With the strongest growth at Gemalto, a digital security firm, coming in regions where the company had a channel-centric philosophy, its already robust Cipher Partner Program was clearly instrumental in the success of its partners.
But as the digital security market has become increasingly more technical and crowded with more and more competitors, Gemalto recognized that it needed to provide its partner network with even more support.
To learn more about Gemalto’s initiative to strengthen its partner program, CMR reached out to Colleen McMillan, VP, Global Channel Sales Strategy and Program. Here’s what she told us.
“Customers are really looking to the partner community for help as they can be the security trusted advisor specializing in helping them protect their data,” said McMillan. “It is our job to help these partners become experts in advising and selling to these customers so that their sensitive data is protected.”
To ensure that Gemalto truly understood the needs of its partners, McMillan initiated an overhaul of the company’s channel program by first getting feedback from the partners themselves.
She spent two quarters in the field meeting and talking with partners. In addition to that effort which she said partners responded to passionately, Gemalto also conducted its annual voice of the partner survey.
“We heard from over 1,000 partners globally and they shared with us some consistent feedback,” said McMillan. The partners said they felt confident in selling and positioning our technology, “as they considered it best of breed and it just worked!”
Rich margin discounts, too, were cited as a clear value proposition.
But the partners were not shy about commenting on things Gemalto could do better. Partners said they wanted the company to make a greater commitment and investment in supporting them with field alignment and sales and technical enablement tools to help them identify, qualify and sell deals.
“The partners also wanted us to be easier to work with,” said McMillan. “We, like many companies, get in our own way sometimes and need to make it easier for partners to get information and access our resources and field teams to better support them.”
McMillan and her team were quick to respond to the partners comments. “Late last year and early this year, we completely invested and focused on revamping our partner portal which is the central repository for everything partner.
“With our partners in mind, we completely redesigned the navigation and layout. Now partners can easily navigate based on role: sales, marketing, technical, etc to find content, or they can navigate by security solutions, or by product group. This way they can find the content easier based on what the customer is asking for.”
To keep the site secure while still providing partners with the information they need, McMillan implemented the Gemalto SAS solution for a two-factor authentication — partners get an SMS text message with a code to use to sign in. “This keeps the site secure while also allowing partners to experience one of our products that customers use every day,” McMillan explained.
Gemalto also increased the amount of training it provides to partners and made it easier and more affordable to take advantage of it. “We created partner specific learning paths for sales and technical presales roles,” McMillan explained. “This content is self-paced, online and will help partners get familiar with Gemalto, learn how to work with us and get a good understanding of how to identify opportunities, and qualify and close these deals.
“We have also launched increased technical product training in a virtualized learning manner where partners can take training remotely, get access to labs and avoid having to incur travel time and expenses.”
Partner reaction to the enhancements already made indicate Gemalto is on the right path. “Partners have been extremely complimentary about the new partner portal,” said McMillan. “The new navigation and easy access to new, relevant and timely content has been really successful.”
The company has experienced a 55 percent year-over-year increase in partner logins to the portal. The sales enablement learning paths have been very popular too, including the Gemalto Sales Professional (GSP), a self-paced sales enablement program, and the Gemalto Technical Sales Professional (GTSP), which is offered to SE type roles that are more technical sales and need help with technical issues and doing demos.
“We have had over 300 partner individuals successfully complete these new certifications within the last six months,” McMillan noted.
Gemalto is taking a continuous improvement approach and constantly polling and listening to its partners with the voice of the partner survey, Sales Acceleration kick off and partner advisory events.
“The feedback has been very helpful and has provided us strong input for our new program,” said McMillan. “The enhanced Cipher Partner program launches in February 2018. This program creates greater partner differentiation and will specifically reward partners for net-new partner generated deals with greater emphasis and differentiation in margin for deal registration.”