Meet the Channel: Tracy Pallas, illusive networks

This week in Meet the Channel we sat down with Tracy Pallas, the vice president of channel sales at illusive networks, a company specializing in protecting organizations from targeted cyber attacks.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

October 11, 2016

4 Min Read
Meet the Chiefs Tracy Pallas illusive networks

This week in Meet the Channel we sat down with Tracy Pallas, the vice president of channel sales at illusive networks, a company specializing in protecting organizations from targeted cyber attacks. Pallas has spent more than 20 years in the IT and cybersecurity space, and has served as a channel manager at companies including Ironport, Palo Alto Networks and Extreme Networks.

Pallas joined illusive networks in January and is responsible for launching and managing the company’s channel partner program and building marketing programs focused on increasing demand generation.

What brought you to the channel?

Pallas: Well, I started my early career not in technology at all. I was selling in grocery stores, which was a very, very sexy background. You know those nice end cap displays? That was my good work back in the day. I went into that industry because you got a company car and I didn’t have enough money to buy a car at the time so it seemed like a pretty good deal.

Out of grad school I got into the high tech industry. I did join one security startup that was acquired by Cisco. I spent five years within Cisco.

What channel development have you implemented are you the most proud of?

Pallas: I’d say it’s probably two things. As soon as we launched our partner program, we launched opportunity registration, which is really the way to protect a partner’s investment and creating new opportunities for our vendors.

Then the other thing that we’re doing over time is that we really are thinking about the way that partners go to market and the fact that partners are doing a better and better job of focusing on services, which provides the highest gross profit to them.

How much do you incorporate partner feedback into your channel program?

Listen to Tracy’s answer below


If you could wave a magic wand and implement one change in your program tomorrow, what would it be?

Pallas: It would probably be to have a team that’s dedicated to channel marketing. Now, we do lots of marketing with our partners in the context of field marketing because we are a hundred percent channel model. Everything that we’re doing to build our brand in the marketplace is with our partners.

Channel marketing is a different structure, and the philosophy around channel marketing is a little bit different, allowing the partners to lead the activity. That’s certainly one of my goals over time. If I could launch that today, I would.

What is your biggest frustration with the channel?

Listen to Tracy’s answer below

What opportunity in the channel gets you most excited?

Pallas: Well, so for me it’s really that ramp to revenue, right? Especially in an organization like this where we’re in an emerging market, we’re building a new brand, and it’s really a new way of providing security in addition to all of those perimeter defenses that customers have had for years and years.

I get really excited when I’m with an organization where we can get into the top ten vendor stack rank because I know that if I’m in the top ten, I can get into the top three within twelve months.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for resellers struggling to transition to services?

Listen to Tracy’s answer below

What emerging opportunity are you most looking forward to jumping on?

Pallas: Well, you know, I think it might not be completely new, but it really is the shift within the channel toward a higher mix of services. It’s been talked about, really, for the last fifteen years.

I remember when I was first a channel manager just in the New York/New Jersey area, and everyone talked about the ability for partners to add services and the migration to cloud, which we know is still happening today. The reality is that for most partners, the bulk of their revenue is derived from reselling products and they’re trying to optimize that services mix so that they can see higher gross profit.

Then the second piece of that is with the way the security industry is going [with] breaches every single day in the news. illusive networks has a unique opportunity to partner with these resellers and not only resell our product but allow them to glean all of that data, all of the forensics information that we provide to them, into those high end incident response offerings that more and more of the channel is building.

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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