The acronym might be a letter off here in Canada, but Kaspersky Lab North America says its new SLED (State, Local and Education) sales team will mean just as much to its Canadian partners as it will to its solution providers south of the border.
The company has introduced Jeff Gaffny as director of sales for SLED in North America, and hired a team of channel sales and marketing resources with knowledge specific to the space. That includes French-speaking resources to business in Quebec and the National Capital Region, both of which are hotspots for that market.
“We’ve been a little surprised by the amount of opportunity, and the amount of communications we’ve had around this business in Quebec,” Gaffny said. A recent stint in the Ottawa region also turned up a lot of opportunities.
SLED (or PLED, if you prefer) currently represents about 15 percent of Kaspersky’s commercial business in North America. But it’s growing at a rate of about 25 percent.
It’s a finite market without a lot of green field, so Gaffny said the effort is “a matter of overcoming issues and enabling education.”
Along with the new sales resources throughout North America, the team is offering SLED-specific e-mail and phone queues, and SLED-specific pre- and post-sales support to the mix.
Building a new security-focused team in this space is not new territory for Gaffny, who in a previous role, helped build out the public sector team for antimalware rival Sophos about eight years ago. Gaffny and his team will report in to Matt Goulet, vice president of SME sales for the Americas. The timing of the new division – just months after the debut of the company’s new Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business offering – is not coincidental, Goulet said.
“As we grow, we want to look at segmented and vertical strategies, both for customer size and for industries,” Goulet said. “We want to dvidie the market into segments and built expertise in those segments. SLED was a place where we had both critical mass and really, really great partners.”
The company already lists many major Canadian channel partners – Hypertec, Softchoice, Herjavec Group, Informatique EBR, and IT 2 Go Solutions among them – in its SLED-focused base, and Gaffny said the company would look to develop other partners in the space. It would seem to have a particular opportunity to onboard a few good solution providers into the SLED practice from regions outside of Eastern Canada, particularly those with active practices in provincial capitals from Victoria to Winnipeg.
This may be the first specialized vertical sales team for the security vendor, but it’s not likely to be the last. Goulet hinted that healthcare may be next on the agenda, “as soon as we’ve got critical mass” in the space.