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Bitdefender channel plans aim to avoid "race to the bottom"

Bitdefender is working on a new channel programme to support existing channels and help them broaden their expertise, while ensuring they make more money, says Andrew Philpott , VP Sales EMEA of Bitdefender who joined the business in January. His aim is to build the enterprise sales in core European markets.

“I’m focused on b2b – developed from the consumer side and now selling to SMB and enterprise. There is a tremendous opportunity to break into enterprise, selling through two-tier distribution where the channel is absolutely critical for us, especially in Europe with different countries, cultures, languages,” he says.

It means having the right partners to give a good representation of Bitdefender, “selling next generation as well as traditional end-point security for enterprises who need the highest levels of security”.

The message is clear and he says they are most proud of the third party tests which marks Bitdefender up very highly above competitors.

It needs to channel to understand the message and be able to differentiate the offering.

“We have our own reach into customers, but It is two-way street with the channel who have to be able to differentiate, that is why it is important for us to pick partner who understand the differentiation. Endpoint security is a very crowded market, but we are nimble enough to adapt and have the flexibility to provide a solution that is easier to deploy, managed and procure and provide the security.”

His channel is selling to all the verticals - government, finance, education, pharmaceutical and retail markets and healthcare with a special push on the NHS currently. Education is also a specialised market and very important.

“We have been working on upscaling some of our channel partners who have been loyal and successful in all our main markets, but we need focused partners in the bigger enterprises. As we branch out into some of the larger integrator and other relationships, we will use distribution, but the aim is to ensure that all partners understand the positioning.”

Data centre business is a specialised area where Bitdefender is working with vendors Nutanix and Citrix. Conversations with key partners there show that they are selling data centre solutions but need a story around security that differentiates them. “We are being successful with companies that use a different approach. Buyers in those organisations looking at data centres and security are different and the partners who are successful are those able to engage with both and where the partner has a broader relationship in selling technologies. It is our job to give them the joined-up proposition to position the technology,” he says.

“With Nutanix as an example, we have some embedded integration in the platform, which makes it easy to deploy and manage through the Nutanix pane of glass. This is important for customers who want to use a familiar environment. We are working with joint partners and will develop it further because we both believe in running in simpler environments.”

“We are investing in channels and in our own teams; we’ve just pulled in someone to head up the sales engineering team, where the longevity of our sales teams is a testament to our technology. We need to be out there even more and invest in partner relationships.”

The programme should reward those who plan to develop the business, by investing in knowledge and technical ability as well as joint marketing to broaden the reach, he says.

 “So you can expect to see us a lot more in the marketplace, we are looking at the partner programme and the partners we have, since we think we can be more valuable to them. The idea is to help them make more money in a very competitive space. It is not the race to the bottom which some competitors are engaged in.”