SonicWall investing in direct touch and channel skills

Security player has seen resellers flocking to its University to get skilled up and is looking to drive more business their way with its direct touch efforts

SonicWall's ambition to get more resellers trained up and confident selling a wider range of products has been gathering momentum over the course of the year. 

Since January the firm has seen its own staff take 19,000 courses through SonicWall University but seen 103,000 taken up by partners. 

Emerging from the vendor's training facilities have been a number of resellers focusing on wireless, client access security and client capture technology. 

Terry Greer-King, vice president of EMEA sales at SonicWall, said that the firm had a portfolio that extended well beyond its firewall roots and it wanted resellers to work with it in more areas. There are also demands from customers for more vendor consolidation, which also play into the hands of those that can provide numerous services from a single source. 

"We have 54 products and are very much more than that firewall company that sold into SMEs," he said. 

As well as the University offering SonicWall has also been adding significant numbers of staff to its direct-touch operation to drive more business through to channel partners. 

“There have been more than 100 sales people added to the global sales team,” said Greer-King, who added that he had joined the business just a few months ago with a brief to crank up the growth, “There is investment in sales, the channel and distribution along with direct-touch". 

The direct-touch strategy has the backing across the business and a month ago at a board meeting the firm got the green light from investors to continue those efforts and keep hiring for roles that will drive fresh customers towards partners. 

The UK and Germany have been a particular focus of the direct-touch efforts and Greer-King said that it had been driving more business towards the channel, including an increasing number of enterprise opportunities. 

"We are proud of our SME position in the UK and Europe but we can push upstream," he said that having a history of selling into small and mid-sized firms did not prevent it from working with the channel to open up enterprise because it had the products that were appealing to that customer base. 

SonicWall has also been reaching out to the managed services community and MssPs can expect to see more enhancements to the propostion in the near future the vendor looks to try and increase the support it can provide those offering managed security services. 

"We want to accelerate that drive to cloud," he added "We want to drive adoption for customers with an easy pay-as-you-go model." 

Greer-King said that SonicWall viewed services as a key growth area for both fresh partners coming on board as well as its existing base and adding more depth to that area could see it recruit some fresh blood into the channel ranks. 

"We are looking to build a business with partners that have, or aspire to have, all these additional services. In addition to the existing partner base we are [open to working with] a partners with advanced services," he added. 



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