EVERY PARTNER PROGRAM has rules. What sets Bitdefender’s MSP program apart from that norm is the delight the company seems to take in tossing the rule book out the window.
Want to join at the silver or gold level, rather than the entry-level bronze tier, even though you’ve never closed a single deal? Just ask. Want to sell a one-of-a-kind software bundle tailored precisely to your go-to-market strategy? They’re listening. Nothing, according to Jason Eberhardt (pictured), Bitdefender’s global vice president of cloud and MSP, is flat-out impossible.
“If it’s a crazy idea, call me,” he says. “What got us to where we are today is thinking inside the box. We have to think outside the box.”
Launched a little over two years ago, the MSP portion of Bitdefender’s Partner Advantage Network currently has more than 11,000 members. Under a revised benefits model introduced in April, those companies receive enhanced financial protection on renewals; access to subscription-priced editions of the vendor’s endpoint, extended, and managed detection and response products; and an updated portal with a streamlined interface and new sales and marketing resources. As before, members get access to business-building advice from marketing, financial, and other experts as well.
“We invest in their business,” Eberhardt says.
In exchange for those rewards, silver and gold partners must cross preset revenue and certification thresholds and meet additional goals set out in their annual business plan. According to Eberhardt, however, the program’s defining characteristic is how easily partners can adjust those requirements to their needs.
“People try to cookie-cutter this stuff,” he says. “We’re trying to make it work for each individual.”
That very much includes entering the program at an elevated tier even though you’ve never sold a Bitdefender license before. Newcomers who say they can deliver big revenue numbers generally get a chance to prove it. “My philosophy on partner programs and tiering is you start where you want to start and then show me that you’re going to stay there,” Eberhardt says.
That approach fits within a broader emphasis in the program on ease of use. “It’s easy to work with us, it’s easy to deploy us, and it’s easy to purchase from us,” Eberhardt asserts.
As before, membership in the revised program is month to month. “They don’t have to be sucked in for a 12-month contract,” Eberhardt says, a policy that puts the burden on him and his team to keep partners continually satisfied. “If I don’t win your business today and tomorrow and the next day and the next day, you’ll go to another vendor in the industry,” he notes.