Blue Coat Steps Up Support for VARs

The WAN optimization vendor unveils a new channel program to drive VAR profitability, increase market awareness and simplify the selling of both its WAN optimization and secure Web Gateway solutions.

Just a month after offering $268 million to acquire rival WAN optimization vendor Packeteer, Blue Coat Systems has unveiled a new channel program to drive VAR profitability, increase market awareness, and simplify the selling of both its WAN optimization and secure Web Gateway solutions.

The main objective of the Blue Coat Channel Advantage Program is to foster top- and bottom-line growth opportunities for Blue Coat partners, said Jim Harold, vice president of worldwide channel sales for Blue Coat. He said the pending acquisition of Packeteer was not a factor in the timing of the program, emphasizing it had been under development for months.

“As we sell 100 percent through the channel, we are always seeking ways to improve our channel relations and to create opportunities for our partners,” said Harold. “Most of our new channel program grew out of partner feedback.” Key elements include an evaluation product program, a support program, better discounting and deal registration, new sales and marketing tools and support, and sales engineer training and certification.

VARs will be able to save up to 60 percent on evaluation units through the program. “This is much better than what we offered through our previous demo program," said Harold. Besides offering deeply discounted ‘eval’ units, the program will give VARs the ability to recreate specific customer environments to test proof-of-concept designs.

On the support side, Harold said the BlueTouch Support Partner Program will help channel partners achieve greater profitability and enhanced customer service. The support program will enable Blue Coat-certified resellers to market, sell, and deliver their own branded service offerings backed by Blue Coat support. Certified partners will be able to provide first- and second- line technical support to their customers, and receive incremental price reductions and rebates on Blue Coat services.“VARs can make up to 40 percent gross margin by selling these services,” he said.

To boost the competitiveness of large VARs with a global presence, Blue Coat has changed its pricing, providing them with balanced discounts regardless of location, ultimately allowing VARs to do global deployments more easily and cost-effectively.

Another bottom-line incentive is that Blue Coat will offer deal registration to all partners, regardless of level. “VARs will secure a significant discount once they register a deal,” he said.

On the marketing front, Blue Coat will launch a Virtual Marketing Agency to provide partners with free, turnkey marketing solutions for implementing partner-branded Blue Coat campaigns. “We’ve also developed new sales and marketing tools to educate and maintain a higher level of knowledge about Blue Coat solutions,” he said. “We will provide select tools in localized languages to better serve resellers in our top markets around the world.”

Finally, the vendor is introducing a new course for channel sales engineers. designed to equip them to assist better in pre-sales and post-sales deployments. “We will offer the course at various Blue Coat authorized training centers around the world as well as at Blue Coat headquarters,” he said. The course will be available in early summer.

TAGS: services,marketing,technical support,VARs

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