May Mitchell, appointed last July as vice president of channel sales for cloud-based mobility management provider Fiberlink Communications Corp., knows she's in a horse race. “This space is hot. There is high demand. This marketplace of mobility/security is a horse race for the customer,” she says.
To better compete in that race, Blue Bell, Pa.-based Fiberlink, which Gartner Inc. positioned in the leader's quadrant for mobile device management software in 2012 for its cloud-based MaaS360 solution, has been transitioning its direct business model to a channel-friendly one. The company's partner program was six months old when Mitchell came on board. She describes those earlier partnerships as “more opportunistic.” It was about forming a relationship and getting a contract in place, she says.
First order of business for her was getting feedback from partners, particularly their concerns about channel conflicts. “We have to make sure we don't have channel conflict because we're going to be ramping this [program] up.”
In addition to recruiting new partners, Mitchells says the company spent some time in the first few months of her tenure determining the “ideal DNA” of those partners. She says Fiberlink did a gap analysis and looked at the customer segment it wanted to target. The company determined the midmarket and enterprise was a natural fit for MaaS360. “We then mapped to the ideal partners,” she explains.
Mitchell says Fiberlink will be looking to derive value from partners while scaling the business. “We're focused on IP and support,” she says. “We provide value-add in terms of helping customers create policy and set direction for BYOD. But we're not here to be building a full services practice; we will deliver best practices to our partners.”
THE WHITE LABEL OPTION
The MaaS360 platform, which also delivers mobile applications management and secure document sharing, is simple for partners to white label, Mitchell says. “We don't charge extra, it has an innovative design, and it can add true value to the customer. It is designed with the end-user experience of speed, performance, and scalability.” Customer devices and applications can be managed from a single cloud platform.
Today, the MaaSters Reseller Partner Program has two levels: authorized and elite. Mitchell says there are more than 60 authorized resellers and 20 elite resellers. The goal is to have 30 to 40 elite resellers in place by year-end. Both levels receive sales and technical training, and there is a detailed onboarding program when partners sign up, she says. The onboarding handbook includes prospecting and positioning guides, marketing and PR templates, and links to marketing resources. Certification is an investment area for Fiberlink in 2013, and Mitchell says the company is working on that now.
The goal is to set partner behavior, says Mitchell, so they “wake up in the morning and think about us.” She says the program has enhancements to its deal protection coupled with simplified and competitive pricing. “We have to be competitive, [the product] has to be easy to quote and win, and partners have to feel protected.” She says Fiberlink will work with partners on special pricing, and if they register opportunities “we will find resources to help them move the process along.”
When she arrived in 2012, Mitchell says her focus was on doing three things: “build, fix, transact.” Through the rest of 2013, she wants to “dive deep into some of these partners we have, going deeper in mobility.” Further out, Mitchell says she would like to scale the training program, which is now primarily accomplished through webcasts or in-person sessions.
In the last two quarters, Mitchell says Fiberlink has seen the size of partner transactions increasing, and deal registration has increased 100 percent. “That's good news for us.”
“In the mobility space it's about keeping up with the pace of change,” says Mitchell. “We have major releases every week. It's simple for customers and partners to take the update and push it out fast.”