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July 30, 2021
Vendors aren’t doing enough to make themselves attractive to channel partners, especially in sales and support, according to a channel executive at Cyren.
Cyren’s Matt Halsey
This is particularly true in cybersecurity, according to Matt Halsey, vice president EMEA of the email security company.
Halsey’s view is that vendors should do the heavy lifting in sales and support. The channel’s role is simply to build and maintain solid customer relationships.
“Traditionally a vendor would see a partner as an extension of their sales force,” Halsey said. “I feel that’s flipped over on its head a bit. We’re saying to partners that ‘We’re an extension of your sales force’. Because we’re here to support you at an end-user level, a technical level, a marketing level.”
Founded in 1991, Cyren operated primarily as an OEM vendor for almost 30 years. It provided threat intelligence data to the likes of Checkpoint, Google and Microsoft. Only last year the firm decided to bring products directly to market.
“We launched a product called Cyren Inbox Security. It is all around protecting Microsoft 365 users at the inbox itself,” said Halsey. The product focuses on the burgeoning inbox detection and response market. It works by constantly monitoring the user’s inbox itself for threats. It can then help users quickly remediate against any threats detected.
The channel is vital as the company’s route to market, said Halsey. He believes customers are increasingly turning to channel partners to navigate the “overwhelming” choice of security products on the market.
“There’s 101 different vendors all claiming to be the best next thing. There’s also a huge overlap now within those vendors. So end users can’t possibly look at all the vendors in a particular market segment, because there’s so many.”
He said customers are “now moving towards channel partners to give their expertise, rather than having to look at 100 vendors for one thing.”
Research conducted by cybersecurity vendor Kaspersky earlier this year found that there is a disconnect between customers and vendors. This leads to a lack of the right technologies being deployed. Sixty-three percent of customers believe messages are too complicated to convey to the rest of their business.
“My view is that the channel is becoming more important as end users hide from vendors,” said Halsey. “So, we now have to go as a vendor to the channel. We have to differentiate ourselves and make ourselves more attractive to those partners, to get them to listen to us. But also obviously recommend us in areas where their customers are feeling pain.”
However, Halsey notes that one problem for Cyren is that it currently isn’t a well-known brand. “So getting to those end users makes it harder. But there’s a number of tactics that we’ve employed to make ourselves more attractive.
“One is to make our messages as simple as possible, so that it’s easy for that partner to understand what we do. And also, more importantly, easier for their sales people to articulate what we do.”
Secondly, Cyren has increased its deal registration, offering a 20% advantage to partners – significantly more than the market average.
“The reason is to protect the partner’s investment in us,” said Halsey. “When a partner takes on a product, they have to train people, and understand the value proposition. It’s a significant investment to bring on a new product. If we make deal registration 20% it means that when the customer decides to buy, that partner has a significant advantage over their competitors. And I think that’s resonated very well in the marketplace.”
He added: “One of the other things I’ve noticed over the is about vendors is being easy to deal with. Some do make it complicated and difficult. We’re focused on trying to be as easy as we can be”
Cyren currently has 20 signed partners in the U.K. but wants to…
…double that figure. Halsey said it has “similar sort of numbers” in the DACH region and is expanding into Benelux and the Nordics.
“To be honest, it’s not really a number, it’s more a level of quality,” said Halsey. “We’re defining a new market. Inbox detection and response is a new area. So, we’re looking for partners who can see that as an emerging market and are willing to invest in us and take us to their customers.”
Cyren’s GoCloud Partner Program is a multitier program with three levels – Elite, Premier and Select. Each tier has financial and technical competency requirements and partners can earn more benefits as they progress through the tiers.
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.
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