Our success is closely tied to our partners

Channel Post speaks with Miles Rippon EMEA Channel Director at Carbon Black about the advantages and opportunities that the company’s partner program provides its channel partners.

What factors have helped you in becoming one of the dominant players in Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) market?

As founders of the EDR market, Carbon Black has held a unique competitive advantage by understanding the entire lifecycle of an attack, encompassing prevention, detection and response. As organisations around the globe evolve their defences away from signature-based antivirus, many are turning to Carbon Black to provide a market-leading solution that can help close security gaps at any point in the attack lifecycle. Our investment in both our technologies and our global teams has helped increase our footprint around the world.

Who are the biggest contributors to your success and what has been the role of channel?

Carbon Black’s success is closely tied to the strong relationships that we have formed with our channel partners and attribute our success largely to the partner community. Carbon Black channel partners have a significant role in our overall go-to-market plans throughout EMEA. Partners add value in many ways – through introductions to their end-user community, education and knowledge transfer, initiating and developing sales opportunities and driving revenues.

In a crowded market, what advantage do you provide to your partners to work with you?

Carbon Black offers award winning and recognised solutions suite, differentiated and disruptive technologies that are resonating with enterprise security professionals, a consistent and clear channel engagement, protection on opportunities, high retained margins and a predictable annuity-revenue stream.

How has your channel program evolved and what are its key ingredients?

Carbon Black has always ensured that our partner program delivers simple enrolment, useful and relevant solution and technical training, free access to solutions to showcase to end users, rich and protected discounts and margins, strong customer care, and fairness. Our partner program continues to evolve and has always been based on industry best practices. Today it offers predictable and generous margins, useful sales and marketing tools, and in depth education courses, videos and papers. These program tools and services are further supported by a team of sales and opportunity development staff, channel managers and direct-touch sales professionals. With this structure we jointly maximise opportunities for our experienced partners while being able to offer valuable support and assistance to new partners as they build their Carbon Black specialization.

How does your partner program help channel partners grow their business?

Carbon Black delivers an instant market opportunity – a simple, clear and consistent partner program environment where partners can identify, qualify and close opportunities very quickly. Carbon Black looks to support new partners through their first few transactions while they improve their own knowledge and ability to execute. We also deliver tools and campaigns that create awareness and mindshare, a huge installed customer base of legacy antivirus, which drives partner motivation and rich retained margins on sales.

What kind of marketing and technical support is extended to your partners?

Marketing support is delivered either from Carbon Black directly or from our authorised distributor Westcon. We support our partners to create and close pipeline, from email campaigns, seminars, CISO briefings, customer support and joint sales engagements. Carbon Black has a dedicated team of pre-sales engineers to help deliver demonstrations, RFI responses and create solution showcases within the partner’s own environment so they can deliver themselves. Our customer success team ensures that clients maximise the functionality of Carbon Black’s solutions and remain happy. This team also works closely with partners to ensure a timely annuity renewal, which is as rich in margin as the original sale.

In a competitive market margins are the first causality, how do you ensure better margins for your partners?

Carbon Black’s channel charter has always been to ensure that partners retain strong and worthwhile margins and our business is structured such that we can deliver on this promise. Deal registration not only allows a partner a differentiated margin reward, it also protects that partner from other partners. We ensure our deal-registration program is managed in a way to deliver a consistent approach and expectation to our authorised partner community.

Is there any provision in your partner program to avoid clash of interests between your partners?

Yes, via deal registration. Authorised partners have the ability to register deals that are timed and date stamped ensuring no duplicates are created.

What has been the feedback of your partners about your partner program and what message would you like to give?

I always ask partners when I meet with them as to what we are doing well, could improve and are missing. The feedback has been positive; they value our commitment, clarity and consistency in our approach to the channel. In a rapidly growing high-tech market Carbon Black is often asked for latest competitive intelligence and positioning to improve their execution which we now proactively deliver.

Our message to our partners is that great opportunities exist to replace legacy antivirus solutions with our next generation endpoint solutions, that are disruptive and deliver protection for today’s as well as tomorrow’s threats. These solutions are simple to deploy and manage, with the capability to deliver strong margins and annuity revenue streams.