Cloud-based storage and collaboration firm Dropbox has conceded that it has taken longer than it expected to shift its business from a direct to indirect go-to-market model.
In an effort to put more business through the channel, its global head of channels, Simon Aldous (pictured), told CPI that the vendor has begun pushing more business through partners in the SMB space in the last 18 months.
"Our channel business started three years ago, and adding an indirect sales model for us was very different to the seven or eight years of how the company had been operating before," he said.
"Working through third parties was a big learning curve for us; it was an evolutionary process," he said.
"And yes, it's taken us longer than we expected to feel confident and comfortable that we are managing to support our partners in the way they need to be treated."
Aldous described Dropbox as being currently "direct led, but channel friendly".
"For SMB customers, the only way you can buy Dropbox is through the channel, and that's where we have really focused in the last 18 months, working through a two-tier cloud aggregation model to build a global reseller base and supporting them.
"However, if you are a mid-market or enterprise customer, we will lead with our direct sales team. But if they do want to buy through a partner, we will absolutely work with them."
Dropbox claims it has 10,500 partners globally, split fairly evenly between North America, EMEA and APAC.
About 40 per cent are MSPs, and that's where Dropbox sees its "largest channel opportunity".
Aldous also said Dropbox's one-year IPO anniversary has raised the company's profile among partners.
"I think the biggest change was brand awareness. And that has helped us significantly with partners over the last 12 months. We've definitely accelerated the number of partners we were able to bring onto the platform."
In January, the company also made its first acquisition since going public, spending $230m for e-signature start-up HelloSign.
"This acquisition will add an awful lot to our partners and customers… We see that whole part of the market as a critical place in terms of workflow management," he said.
"It's a logical addition to our portfolio, and we look forward to taking that to our partner community in the coming months."
In 2018, Dropbox's revenue rose 26 per cent year on year to $1.4bn.
It's set to announce its first-quarter results on 9 May.
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