Initiated by distributor WhiteGold Solutions, try-before-you-buy will launch on April 1 and will enable resellers to provide trial units for their customers for up to three weeks.
"We want to go beyond a quote," said Scott Robertson, regional director A/NZ for WatchGuard. It is an opportunity for partners to say, ‘let me show you the product'. This is particularly exciting and differentiates us in this crucial time.
"The offer is the first of its kind in the world and it has been so successful with WhiteGold that we decided to adopt it. So far it has had a 90 percent conversion rate from trial to sale," said Robertson.
WatchGuard made the announcement during an exclusive event with partners and CRN. Singapore based Norbert Kiss VP of WatchGuard APAC was present and said the world is experiencing uncertain times but they have played to the vendor's strength.
Unlike the enterprise, Watchguard's audience of mid-market SMEs had been unaffected, although growth rates were expected to be lower. "Those that are successful are those with good long-term partners. We like to think that our partner programs are market leading," said Kiss.
Further improvements to the WatchGuard Security Partner Program (WSPP) are in store as part of next month's revamp. WatchGuard has canned rebates and will implement an upfront discount program, a move that is a growing trend amongst IT vendors.
"Previously we had a rebate model where resellers didn't see cheques for four to five months after a sale. We've switched to a new front-end discount model which is more visible and flexible," said Robertson.
Scott Atkinson, director, CTO, at managed service provider Netforce, said discounts are always welcome as it helps cash flow. "Anything that brings forward the buy price is a good thing. Partners want to bring those discounts forward, and it gives us ease of control," he said.
However, Atkinson said the success of discounts depends on the program. "A rebate that turns into a discount for everybody is not a discount," he said.
Also another world first for the vendor, WatchGuard will be restricting its new higher end-products to its WSPP partners only. Robertson said the new XTM 1050 needs people who are skilled with the enterprise. "We want to protect your investment in us. XTM 1050 is a data centre type solution where customers will be more high tech and have more complex environments. It will be a much more time consuming process," he said.
WatchGuard urged partners to participate in its deal registration program where an immediate 5 percent benefit is available to resellers that register a deal larger than $15,000 . Robertson said by registering, it gives WatchGuard visibility and resellers receive access to back end support.
Meanwhile, additional sales training with the help of Channel Dynamics will be held in Melbourne on April 6 and Sydney April 7 as part of the new program.
No changes will be made to the new program for at least six months, said Robertson.
Australia is Watchguard's number one market, and the try-before-you-buy and restricted access to top products schemes could be rolled out to other countries, said Kiss.