In an increasingly crowded market, partners can strengthen their position and achieve sustainable growth.
Secure software is an increasing priority for organizations. In fact, the application security market is expected to reach $22.6 billion by 2026, up from $5.5 billion in 2019*. This represents a significant opportunity for partners looking to grow their practices and establish themselves for future success.
It’s an increasingly crowded market for partners. So how can they strengthen their position and achieve sustainable growth? To optimize performance in key business functional areas through strategic partnerships with application security vendors, partners should consider three key principles.
#1 – Achieve Market Alignment
A successful partnership begins with a mutually developed and agreed-upon go-to-market plan that benefits both parties. This plan becomes the framework that guides marketing activities and identifies milestones for success. Subsequently, alignment between teams throughout the planning process, with buy-in at the executive level, is crucial.
Partners and vendors should identify goals and objectives that leverage shared resources to optimize marketing efforts and drive the sales pipeline. It is important to ensure that the results of the campaign correspond to a “victory” for both parties. This helps to set the correct focus priorities.
An agreement on key metrics and performance indicators to measure success and highlight customer gains serves as validation of the “Better Together” story. Staying focused on priorities will ensure team collaboration throughout the customer journey, from initial prospect identification, qualification, discovery, trial and adoption. Quarterly business reviews help identify what is working well, as well as areas for improvement and future marketing investments.
#2 – Enable teams to succeed in their endeavors
A supplier’s partner program should include a comprehensive team enablement program that builds skills and knowledge, as well as best practices to streamline and optimize processes. This can be accomplished by implementing a role-based training and certification program that provides ongoing training and access to security skills aligned with industry requirements. A role-based training program should feature curricula that provide up-to-date content for sales, marketing, technical, and service teams to deliver the most relevant information to the right people at the right time.
These best practices should be reinforced with personalized and ongoing tools and resources to foster self-sufficiency, allowing partners to internalize the vendor story and apply it to their role in the organization. The result: Partners benefit from an enablement program that is repeatable and scalable, educates the team, and improves the ability to leverage the vendor story based on their business model. Partner teams will in turn become subject matter experts for their vendor’s solutions and gain trusted advisor status to customers to build long-term relationships.
#3 – Ensure ongoing engagement and collaboration
Partner management teams should engage regularly with their vendor counterparts to take advantage of key solution updates and market insights. This can help improve overall success rates, identify expansion opportunities, and further integrate the vendor into its customer value proposition. Access to regular vendor product roadmap updates enables the team to understand vendor product vision and strategy, as well as their market differentiators, improving their ability to sell against to their competitors.
Partners should leverage surveys, advisory boards, focus groups, partner conferences, and regular meetups to share ideas and recommendations with their vendor. For application security vendors, the goal is to gather real-time feedback, with partners representing the voice of the customer, to better understand the requirements of emerging markets. This gives the supplier the ability to incorporate feedback into future product planning discussions, resulting in greater customer value.
To maximize their market reach (application security platform + partner application security services + technology integration partner solutions), partners should also leverage the full suite of solution features and capabilities available in their provider’s entire partner ecosystem. Application security can be a complicated landscape and this alignment is important for mutual understanding of differentiators and the value created through this “better together” story. Account mapping sessions with the vendor then become much more focused and the paths to delivering value to the customer begin to appear more organically.
For partners, there is immense potential to grow their AppSec security practices over the next few years. By working closely with their application security vendor, they can harness the power of the entire technology stack. Partners should view their vendors as strategic allies and look beyond their solution offerings to realize the full potential of their investments. Taking a team approach to these technology partnerships sets the stage for continued success. In the words of Henry Ford, “If everyone moves forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
Jacques Lopez directs the Veracode The North American Channel team is focused on aligning its leading application security technologies with partner security portfolios. You can follow him on LinkedIn.