MessageLabs has embarked on a global sales push with the launch of its new channel program.
The managed email service provider wants to increase global indirect sales from about 50 per cent of all sales to 80 per cent by the end of the year.
While the previous program was based on developing quality relationships with partners, it lacked the tools, systems and processes needed for rapid expansion, MessageLabs channel sales manager, Andy Lake, said.
"There has been recognition globally that partnering is the most important part of our strategy, so there is a need to be more formal in what we do," he said. "Putting a lot more structure and process in allows us to capture more partner opportunities."
Under the new program, several structural changes had been made, Lake said.
"We used to just have global Alliance partners such as MCI, IBM and Unisys, and regional, local partners," he said. "Now we are adding a certified partner tier which is typically for ISPs, smaller SIs and VARs.
"We will also be splitting that tier in two with partners that have a regional presence on one level and those that operate in one country only, on another."
For the Australian market, however, where the channel already constituted close to 100 per cent of all sales, the approach would be somewhat different, Lake said.
"After a lot of success in the UK, we are launching an associate program in Australia and APAC aimed at the lower end," he said. "Where a partner may not want to handle a billing relationship or be the front line of service, they can simply refer business to us and we will take it on, do all the selling, consulting and managing of the customer."
Message Labs would also divide this tier in two, Lake said. At one end, partners would gain a double digit percentage of the first year's revenue and a one-off payment per referral. At the other end, a partner who referred five or more sales in a year would additionally gain ongoing, recurring revenue.
"Partners want to add value to customers, increase loyalty and minimise churn, but from a financial perspective, what they really want is ongoing stable, recurring revenue," Lake said.
To make the most of the push, MessageLabs would also go on the recruiting trail, he said.
"We will focus a lot of energy on our global partners but will also look at other key verticals or segments which those key partners don't cover," he said. "What we will also be doing is aggressively taking lots of associates on. Many organisations running networks, providing hardware or software that see a need for email security will be a great source of new business for us."