It might take more than a big pat-on-the-back from a single partner before Tanium, a unified endpoint management and security platform provider, can claim “mission accomplished” on the launch of its new portal. But the high praise indeed that was sent to a regional vice president at the company after it rolled out its first-ever partner portal was a clear indication that Tanium was off to a good start.
“This is the best vendor portal I have ever seen,” said the partner.
Tanium’s new portal — its first actually — is a key component of the company’s Partner Advantage program. First announced at the company’s inaugural Global Partner Summer at Tanium’s Converge conference in November, the new program reflects a partner-first mindset that extends to joint planning and market execution, and in-field business development and technical engagement.
In a recent conversation with CMR, Cindi Johnson, Tanium’s global director of partner programs, shared some insights on the creation of the Partner Advantage program and the development of its new partner portal.
“My passion for partners is that vendors will be successful when we structure programs and execute in a way that helps our partners solve customer problems,” she said. And while companies should provide partners with sufficient support to succeed, Johnson said that vendors should “essentially get out of the way for partners to do what they do best.”
When Johnson joined Tanium in June 2019, support for partners was limited. “We didn’t have a portal. We had just brought in some partner marketing and enablement resources.” But what this very early stage of a partner program did have, said Johnson, was “great opportunity.”
Based on interviews with partners and past experience, Johnson elected to pass on the arbitrary partner tier structures most programs utilize. With tiered programs, a partner may no longer be compliant if it loses an employee trained on a particular solution. Plus, tiered programs are often focused on partners “jumping through these hoops to get to the next level rather than really having it be value driven,” said Johnson.
Instead, Tanium is recognizing and rewarding partners based on “total partner value,” Johnson explained, which is measured on each partner’s financial performance, expertise building, co-investment and growth, and customer success.
In addition to revenue, financial performance measurement will consider cross-sell and up-sell performance, and net increase in overall business. Building expertise will include measures of engagement with training or up-skilling opportunities. Co-investment will be measured by partner participation in driving pipeline, participating and scheduled business reviews, and observable traction with partner leadership. Metrics for customer success will include winning new logos and obtaining case studies, and other criteria that Johnson and her team are currently reviewing.
Without a doubt, Tanium is striving to build a channel program that aims to ensure its partners succeed, said Johnson, because “we cannot be successful without our partners. Sometimes that means partners lead the sale, sometimes it means we walk into the sale together. That’s where we see the future.”
The development of the new portal is critical to more efficiently and effectively enabling its partners. “We didn’t even have a portal a year ago,” said Johnson. Partners didn’t have easy access to training or the partner brand toolkit. Requests for material were supported manually.
Not anymore. Tanium’s new portal, built on the Webinfinity platform, is designed to track and accommodate a range of roles within partner organizations. Content can be precisely tagged to share with partners in sales, marketing, technical or operational roles. Specific hubs have been created for each of these personas so partners can bookmark all of their relevant resources. Also available is the Learning Hub where partners can access Tanium Partner University as well as their individual transcripts of completed courses.
The portal recognizes the territories in which the partners operate and can segment content by a partner’s business model or route-to-market, delivering information relevant to distributors or managed service providers, for instance. Partners can select the information they want to prioritize by “building an experience” when they log onto the portal.
To help partners become more comfortable with the robust capabilities of the portal, Tanium created a more structured and purposeful onboarding strategy, said Johnson. When partners answer initial questions on the partner page of Tanium’s website, which generates a Saleforce record, approved partners are given limited access to the portal.
“This allows them to get a feel for how the portal is structured,” explained Johnson. “They can get some initial training. It also allows us to then start feeding them information and track their activity.” The tool can invite prospects who haven’t enrolled in the program to take next steps. Based on the partner prospect’s activity, it can recommend and the present information that might be of interest to them.
The portal supports a persona-based distributed publishing model. The system enables producers of competitive information, product marketing materials, technical assets and other content to enter into the portal repository. Enabling multiple team members to publish content expedites updates to the portal, said Johnson. “This provides us with real-time publishing capabilities, which ensures that our partners have access to the latest information.”
The new portal will provide easier access to Tanium’s partner marketing toolkit and a library of materials that the company is developing on an ongoing basis. Tanium’s corporate marketing team is currently in the process of ‘partnerizing’ many of the materials that support the company’s direct marketing initiatives.
“We are setting our partners up to be advocates and evangelists for Tanium to really help spread the word and broaden our footprint from a mind share perspective with customers, partners and the industry at large,” said Johnson.