The Enterprise of Things has reached a critical mass and companies everywhere across every industry from healthcare to financial services and manufacturing are struggling to defend their networks against unagentable and unmanaged devices, including IoT and OT.
Forescout solves this problem today and helps customers secure the hundreds or thousands of devices connecting across their environment and accessing the network. Having worked in the channel community for more than 15 years, I knew when I received the call to join Forescout at the end of last year, it was clear partners would play a critical and important role in solving this vast challenge.
Channel partners have a unique opportunity to serve as a trusted advisor to their clients on this issue and help them develop a holistic strategy to identify, segment and enforce policies against those devices. Partners can feel confident capturing this opportunity alongside a company with a well-established product, strong base of existing customers and margin-rich services offerings.
To help our partners realize this opportunity, we wanted to make some improvements to the Forescout Envision partner program to make it more predictable, straightforward and profitable. So, we went to work and have the support from CEO Wael Mohamed and Chief Revenue Officer Steve Tchejeyan, whose channel roots run deep. That commitment extends to our ownership, Advent International and Crosspoint Capital, who have made it clear from Day 1 that the channel is a key pillar of the new Forescout and an area in which they will continue to invest.
As Channel Chief, my personal commitment to partners is to make the opportunity with Forescout greater than ever before. We did 79% of our business through the channel in 2019 and 93% in 2020. We couldn’t be more excited about that baseline and look forward to driving even more business through our partners in 2021.
Over the last several months we have made multiple updates to the Forescout Envision Channel Program that lay the groundwork for an immense opportunity for partners ahead. These improvements are just the beginning …
- First, we updated our deal registration program to allow our pricing to be more predictable for partners and competitive in the market. Above all else, we want to ensure partners are protected in the deals they bring to us and can go into a competitive deal situation with the confidence to win. These updates will also give partners more control over their gross margins and easily predict profits from selling Forescout solutions.
- In addition to improving deal registration for partners who bring in new opportunities, we want to ensure we are protecting and rewarding partners who help us transact deals in other ways. We are relaunching and increasing the number of business deals registered through Teaming Plans, which allocates margin to partners who support our efforts throughout the sales cycle. We want to ride through the deal process hand-in-hand with our partners and leave them with a great experience, new business opportunities and increased margin on the other side.
- When partners invest in Forescout, we will in invest in them. We have worked with our sales leaders around the world to ensure we are “locked-in” on our focus partners in each region. Our goal is to have at least 50% of the business in each subregion flow through the corresponding focus partners. These partners will receive a forecast of what we can do together in 2021, an investment plan and overall tighter integration with our planning and deal roadmap processes.
- We are changing the technical resource requirements for our Service Delivery Partners. Instead of requiring three Forescout Certified Engineers (FSCEs) for each partner, we will only require a minimum of one going forward. This will reduce the barrier of entry for partners to capture more margin over the lifetime of a customer and build strong businesses based on the services delivery component.
- We want to bring our partners closer to Forescout when it comes to learning, enabling and delivering on our technology platform. We will launch the Forescout Forerunner program to provide partners with a technical community to support them at becoming best in class. This will give them access to the same technical resources as our internal teams and the opportunity to provide feedback on existing products, submit trouble tickets and gain insights into our roadmap. We think this will have a significant impact on customer adoption and expansion.
- Finally, we are excited to aggressively build our channel team with the best of the best in the business. We are adding new team members to build out our channel, SI/SP teams. These individuals come to Forescout with 10 to 15 years of channel experience (if not more!) and deep relationships with partners and expertise in region. Our partners will feel the impact of the increased support and expertise our expanded team will provide.
In each of these efforts and improvements, our goal is to be more consistent and to create more margin for our partners. We made huge strides in 2020 to drive more of our business through the channel, and we look forward to sharing in more success together in 2021. However, we are also just warming up. We have new programs that will be coming later this year, as well as program support for partners to transition to the “as a service” delivery models that customers are looking for. Stay tuned… more to come!