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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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July 22, 2022 |

NINJIO Partner Program Targets Resellers and Referral Agents in Addition to MSPs

The partner program that the security awareness training vendor launched last week, its first, is part of a broader effort to adopt a partner-led sales model, according to channel chief Tim Acker (pictured).

Turns out MSPs aren’t the only channel partners who can profit from security awareness training solutions. Any channel pro with clients big enough to have an IT department stands to make money as well. NINJIO’s first-ever partner program includes a track specifically for resellers as a result.

“It was really a little bit of ‘back to the future’ to put together a classic resale model that allows a partner to find an opportunity where the customer wants to have a direct contract or direct support relationship from NINJIO, but be able to procure that from their partner of choice,” says Tim Acker, a veteran of Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and T-Mobile who became the security awareness training vendor’s vice president of global channel and alliances in March.

Founded in 2015, NINJIO has been collaborating with partners ever since, but the channel program it launched last week is the company’s first formalized offering ever. In addition to the VAR track it includes one for referral partners, mostly in the telecommunications agent community, as well.

“We had sort of a one-size-fits-all way to partner with NINJIO before,” Acker says. “We really felt it was important for us to broaden our reach to partners and look at new partnership types.”

Both the NINJIO Sell and NINJIO Refer tracks, as they’re formally known, are intentionally easy to join. Applicants are required only to complete a sales training course.

“It’s really about positioning and understanding the importance of cybersecurity awareness training, and some of the tools that we have,” Acker notes. “This is not a highly technical sale.”

Members enter either track at the Advanced level and progress to the Premier level as their sales volume grows. “We’re a co-sale friendly model,” Acker notes. “Our direct sales teams are incentivized to work with partners.”

Sell members, who bill clients directly, receive additional license discounts as they rise in the program. Refer members, who need only hand leads off NINJIO, get extra commission.

Additional benefits include deal registration, customizable demand generation resources, and access to market development funds. All of that is delivered through the new partner portal NINJIO also recently introduced.

NINJIO Sell members place orders through either TD SYNNEX or Rain Networks, a value-added security software distributor based in Bothell, Wash. One-, two-, and three-year SKUs are currently available.

MSPs, NINJIO’s strongest channel segment historically, can join the NINJIO Complete track, which unlike Sell and Refer offers subscription-based pricing designed to align with recurring revenue income streams, plus a multi-tenant management console. Complete members handle invoicing along with Level 1 and Level 2 support themselves, and can choose between white-labeling the NINJIO platform or co-branding it. 

To get in, applicants must complete technical training on top of the sales training Sell and Refer partners take. NINJIO grants them steeper discounts to compensate for the support they provide.

Pricing is based on total order volume across the member’s entire client base. “Whether they have 100 customers with 10 seats or 10 customers with 100 seats, they get a very predictable price,” Acker says.

Channel pros with multiple business models can join more than one partner program track. “The partner can sort of pick and choose and participate in multiple areas of the program based on what’s right for them and what’s right for their customer,” Acker notes.

Numerous vendors, including Barracuda Networks, Kaseya’s ID Agent unit, and OpenText’s Webroot business, offer security awareness solutions alongside other security products. NINJIO, like KnowBe4 and Breach Secure Now! among others, specializes solely in training.

“We’re very complementary to the other vendors the typical solution provider has in their portfolio,” Acker says, adding that the company has integration partnerships with Sophos, InfoArmor, and IRONSCALES, among others.

NINJIO’s solution, unlike many competing products, emphasizes animated short-form educational videos rather than imitation phishing emails. The system encourages users to consume that content all year long.

“A number of studies have told us that 90% of what you learn you forget about in 30 days,” Acker says. “You take compliance training in January and it rolls around to September, you’re going to forget a lot of what you learned.”

Acker, without specifying an exact number, says NINJIO currently has “hundreds” of partners. Raising that number to thousands is not among the company’s goals.

“We’re not going to measure the success of the program based on the breadth in terms of number of partners,” he says. “We’re really looking for depth.”

Though NINJIO sells direct, sales through the channel account for a “substantial portion of our revenue,” Acker says. “Part of the need for the program is a real commitment from the board and the ownership and our private equity firm to say, ‘we believe that this is going be a partner-led model going forward.'”

That equity investor is Gauge Capital, which bought a stake in NINJIO a year ago and has been helping it expand rapidly since.

“We doubled the size of the company in the last six months alone,” Acker says. Partners can expect to see more growth in both employees and solutions, potentially through acquisitions, over the months ahead, he adds.

“I think you’ll see us continuing to add technology both organically and inorganically and people organically and inorganically,” Acker says.


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