The latest channel exec to sit in the hot seat is AlienVault's VP, global channel sales
Describe your company in five words.
Unified security management vendor.
Tell us about how your channel program works.
AlienVault's MSSP partner program is a multi-tiered, pay-as-you-grow model. Upon joining the program, partners receive access to our product USM Central™, our solutions architecture team, priority support and a channel account manager (CAM), who is tasked with enabling partners from a business, sales and marketing perspective.
They also gain access to our partner portal, as well as to monthly licensing. Discounts are set based on number of end customers under management. Our three pricing tiers are listed as silver, gold and platinum.
Program participation also gives access to our marketing team and offers the ability to request market development funds. The program has two financial components, the first is the program fee, which covers access to all of the listed benefits, and the second is the license for AlienVault USM.
What do you think is the most challenging trend in the channel today? Why?
The most significant challenge facing the channel today is demonstrating value to the customer. The internet has made researching technology so much easier, and many organizations are opting to procure without the involvement of a channel partner.
The connection between the vendor and the customer is much stronger than any other time, so channel partners are faced with the challenge of demonstrating more tangible value to the customer - it isn't just about financing and availability, it needs to be more. More services, more insight and solution selling over point products. This isn't a new concept, it's just becoming an imperative.
If you had to give your channel partners one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find a gap in the market that you can fill. It's easy to be reactive to what customers are asking for, but that isn't a high-profit avenue to pursue.
The real value (and money) is in truly understanding what your customer can't do for themselves and delivering the products and services to help them fill their gaps. This requires a lot of research and effort on part of the channel partners, but the rewards in both margin and loyalty are worth the investment. This is certainly a long term-strategy.
What are the three most important things partners need from vendors to be successful?
1). Rock-solid technology - partners need to know that the product they sell will deliver the value they sold and deliver it long-term.
2). Consistency - partners need to feel confident that vendors will act the same way every time. Whether this is about what co-marketing gets approved or the rules behind deal registration, it has to be consistent.
3). Receptive team - all levels of the vendor's organization need to be open to listening to feedback and input from the partners.
What is your favorite conference location and why?
London, UK - the food, the culture, the people, what isn't to like about London?
What IT trends do you expect to see dying out over the next 18 months to two years?
On-premise anything… With the migration to the cloud, we will see less and less usage of resources that are physical or dedicated on premise. This applies to individuals and businesses, it's not just a macro IT trend. Whether it's storage of data or the centralization of computing resources, the era of hardware is dying.
Mike LaPeters is the VP of global channel sales at AlienVault, which he joined in 2015 to lead the North American channel initiative. After 4 months LaPeters assumed worldwide responsibility for the AlienVault channel team.
Prior to joining AlienVault, LaPeters held the position of SVP of sales and customer success at SignaCert. He joined SignaCert in January 2015 after spending two years at Virtual Bridges as VP of worldwide sales.
LaPeters has also held the position of VP of worldwide sales for VeloBit (acquired by HGST, a Western Digital Company), VP of North American sales for AVG Technologies, with overall responsibility for the company's SMB business, VP of channel at CA Technologies and VP of worldwide sales for Winternals (acquired by Microsoft).