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Check Point backpedals on activity-led partner program plan

Check Point backpedals on activity-led partner program plan

Revenue-based tiering still on the table following partner confusion

Credit: Check Point Software Technologies

Check Point has backtracked on plans to tier-grade partners entirely on customer activity following confusion within the channel.

The security vendor had intended to replace its traditional results-based partner schemes in 2020 with an activity-based program that would reward their customer engagement efforts.

However, head of worldwide channel sales Frank Rauch told ARN  that Check Point would continue to reward sales revenue and deal registrations after partners complained the metrics were too vague.

“What we do well is really listen to feedback, and part of the feedback was pay grade,” he said. “[Partners were saying] we just need a little bit more clarity in the program about how we're going to be able to make money. So now we combined both concepts.”

As part of a refreshed program due out this year, solutions providers will now be reimbursed based on traditional metrics of sales and customer acquisition alongside activities like C-suite meetings and product demonstrations. 

As such, the refreshed program will include an additional 5-Star tier -- sitting above its existing  2-Star, 3-Star, 4-Star and 4-Star structure -- that Rauch said was included to encompass partners’ client-facing activity and “recognise exceptional performance”.  

The activities will still be registered through Check Point’s self-service app called ‘Engage’ and can contribute to partners’ ability to rise up the tier ranks, although Rauch was keen to stress no partners were demoted for shunning client meetings.

Check Point’s ‘Elite’ category, which was previously aligned to the top Four-Star tier, will now sit as a standalone club for partners who both perform well and use the security provider as their preferred vendor. 

When asked whether Check Point’s initial plan was misguided, Rauch said: “We tried to be able to put together a programme, that rewarded activity. The activity was an activity based on what we've seen over the last couple of years, that basically grows results.

“We knew that it was something new that was going on in the industry. So we didn't know exactly how the partners would react. We did it and we did it with eyes-wide-open and we saw good partner adoption. But based on the data adoption, we decided not to demote any partner: we decided to either let them remain at their level or advance.”

Check Point currently has 7,000 partners globally and around 2,000 transacting daily in Asia Pacific.

Over the next year, the vendor said it will be looking more closely at partners who secure margins for their customers while from a technology perspective putting cloud, internet of things and SD-Wan at the centre.

In March, Check Point will introduce a professional services specialisation that will see the vendor provide training and shadowing in order to give partners another tool in their arsenal.


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