SonicWall CEO: 'Direct touch' model has helped us win more enterprise accounts

Nima Green
clock • 3 min read

The security vendor has added 100 new people to its direct touch sales team this year, to generate leads on the behalf of partners

SonicWall has added more than 100 new people to its direct touch sales team globally in the last six months as it looks to grow its footprint among large enterprises.

In July, CEO, Bill Conner, told CPI that SonicWall is now pitching to large customers directly, instead of leaving the responsibility to channel partners.

He said that many customers, particularly in the public sector, want to hear directly from the manufacturer "about our product roadmap".

Speaking to CPI this week, he claimed that the security vendor has won "many more very large contracts" as a result of the direct touch strategy.

"Last year we weren't driving hundred thousand-plus dollar deals; we just didn't have that kind of touch. And a lot of our partners didn't," he said.

"Now, we've got a lot of those - into the triple digits. So that's a very different profile [of customer] for us.

"We're still hundred per cent channel, and we always will be. However, this direct touch strategy is because of a lot of feedback from our partners.

Conner added that some of the vendor's government customers are now buying multiple products from SonicWall, a procurement trend the vendor enjoyed less of in the past.

Meanwhile, EMEA channel director Michael Berg wants to reassure parners that "it's always going to be a two-tier model with us".

"We don't have the capabilities to deliver anything direct," he said.

"So, we are seeing a lot of interest for our strategy in the UK and Germany, but also in other areas where we have large enterprise customers, like the Middle East.

"We will always involve a partner at the right point in time into these opportunities. Sometimes that's earlier, sometimes that's probably a little bit later. But the delivery will always be managed together with a partner or with a partner on its own."

Conner maintained that SonicWall remains focused on the SMB space. However, he wants to drive up the vendor's market share in the enterprise market.

"The increase in sales resources is helping right now. You know, we lost a little momentum last year, but we're growing now in the high single digit, or lower double digits, depending on the region, and that's in enterprise and our SMB market."

Looking ahead to approaching refresh deadlines for many end users, Conner is convinced that partners will get more larger deals coming their way.

"When we weren't talking to the end users we had to contend with a lot of our partners having other vendors as well. So, while end-users may have known us for firewalls, they might not know the capture ATP, they might not know the wireless piece, they might not know the CAS (cloud app security) piece, they might not know our capture security centre, a new kind of SOC in a box.

"Now we're coming to refresh time, and we're talking to them. They're going to be able to looking at our whole picture. Our partners are going to see customers say, ‘we hadn't seen that before, let's put that together'."

More on Vendor

Gavriella Schuster: Tackling the gender gap in AI

Gavriella Schuster: Tackling the gender gap in AI

In this opinion piece, the former Microsoft global channel chief, and chairwoman of the advisory board at Artificial Solutions, explains what more can be done on this issue

Gavriella Schuster
clock 25 November 2022 • 4 min read
HP to axe 6,000 jobs after tough Q4 earnings

HP to axe 6,000 jobs after tough Q4 earnings

The vendor said it would axe up to 6,000 of its workforce by 2025 after a difficult Q4

Shane Snider
clock 24 November 2022 • 1 min read
VMware's Q3 'met expectations' despite flat revenues amid looming Broadcom deal

VMware's Q3 'met expectations' despite flat revenues amid looming Broadcom deal

The group’s net income plunged more than 40 per cent however saw a double-digit rise in subscription and SaaS revenues

Kelsey Rees
clock 24 November 2022 • 2 min read

Spotlight on

IBM raises eurozone software prices by 24 per cent

IBM raises eurozone software prices by 24 per cent

Timing of move questioned by software licensing experts

Doug Woodburn
clock 25 November 2022 • 3 min read
Okta sets Westcon-Comstor southern European mission

Okta sets Westcon-Comstor southern European mission

Westcon will deliver Okta’s identity-first zero trust security solution to France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece

Kelsey Rees
clock 25 November 2022 • 1 min read
Gavriella Schuster: Tackling the gender gap in AI

Gavriella Schuster: Tackling the gender gap in AI

In this opinion piece, the former Microsoft global channel chief, and chairwoman of the advisory board at Artificial Solutions, explains what more can be done on this issue

Gavriella Schuster
clock 25 November 2022 • 4 min read
HP to axe 6,000 jobs after tough Q4 earnings

HP to axe 6,000 jobs after tough Q4 earnings

The vendor said it would axe up to 6,000 of its workforce by 2025 after a difficult Q4

Shane Snider
clock 24 November 2022 • 1 min read