The new Veeam VP of Sales in Canada said his appointment to the new role is part of Veeam’s intensified commitment to the Canadian market. He indicated his plans to take the company, which sells entirely through channel partners, to the next level here.
Availability vendor Veeam Software already has a presence in the Canadian market. However, Jeff Goldstein, who was recently named Veeam’s first-ever Vice President of Sales in Canada, believes the company has massive potential to expand here. He recently spoke with ChannelBuzz to outline his plans to make that happen.
Goldstein is well known in the Canadian channel as the long-time country head of NetApp in Canada.
“I was there for 15 years, joining when NetApp in Canada was about the size that Veeam in Canada is today,” he said. “We grew that business and took it to over 200 million dollars.”
Goldstein said that building the business in that way is the work he enjoys the most.
“For me, the most fun part at NetApp was the growth part,” he said. “Storage got more difficult because there is now more ways for customers to consume, and NetApp was also going through restructuring. I left, took some time and recharged my batteries. I popped my head up in January this year and ran into Veeam. They have ambitious plans, and I had been where Veeam wanted to go. I wanted to be associated with a great product, great people and company that was going places. It didn’t take us too long to decide to get together, and I have now been there 17 days.”
Veeam, which was founded in 2006, grew swiftly with a backup and replication portfolio designed specifically for the growing virtualization market. Their focus for years was on the upper part of the SMB and the mid-market, and exclusively with for the software market. Now they are actively broadening that base, aggressively targeting both the enterprise and the cloud market.
“The company is doing well, growing globally at 24 per cent last quarter, and growing 75 per cent in enterprise-oriented deals,” Goldstein said. “That’s indicate of our message resonating.”
Goldstein said that one reason why Veeam’s Canadian business has so much room for growth is a traditional lag between Canada and the U.S. in technology adoption.
“The trends take a while to come up to Canada, and I believe its typically 12-18 months,” he said. “With virtualization originally, in Canada we were still doing it in test/dev environments when the U.S. was using it in production. Our Canadian business in Q1 grew 24 per cent year over year, and 147 per cent in the cloud and service provider part of the business. Growth in Canada is strong, which is why Veeam decided to double down on the Canadian business and see if we can scale it up pretty dramatically.”
Before Goldstein’s appointment, Veeam had been in Canada for five years.
“The last three have been in a more significant way however, and will be a much more significant way moving forward. Canada has been managed as a separate region from the U.S., and had a sales leader and a few people. However, my new VP title is evidence of Veeam’s greater commitment to the country. I report to the North American senior sales leader, Jim Tedesco.”
Veeam has around 8000 Canadian customers – as the company approaches 200,000 worldwide. While the company sells entirely through channel partners, it has effectively leveraged its internal resources to drum up new business in Canada for them.
“Veeam has figured out the inside sales model, and we have 20 people there focused on Canada, with very specific geographic responsibilities for supporting the Canadian business,” Goldstein said. “The inside sales team supports all the field teams in a complementary way.”
Goldstein said that his strategy going forward has three components. First, he wants to make sure their existing customers are enabled and aware of the forthcoming 9.5 release of Veeam’s flagship Availability Suite. Secondly, he wants to grow their ecosystems of pathways to the customer. And finally, they want to scale out the Canadian business so more people are speaking to prospects.
“Our first focus is on our big install base,” he stated. “Version 9.5 of Availability Suite is coming very shortly with a whole new set of capabilities.” Some of these features, such as a new integration with Nimble Storage [joining EMC, HPE and NetApp] and full integration of the existing Direct Restore feature, are already known. Unusually, Veeam publicly announces the key features of an upcoming release in stages, beginning months before the release. This allows Veeam to build the new features into sales material, inform customers and partners of upcoming changes, and create several smaller news announcements, with the flip side being that it makes the actual release somewhat anti-climactic.
Veeam is also actively trying to expand its presence in its newer markets – the enterprise and the cloud.
“The Canadian landscape is a midsize environment, and has a large midmarket that we are very focused on,” Goldstein said. “My goal is not to drop the midmarket rope, but also to grasp the enterprise rope and drive hard in both sectors. NetApp was in the enterprise long before it was recognized as an enterprise vendor, and that is the case with Veeam as well. It will be a very exiting battle as we move to displace the legacy boys in the enterprise.”
Goldstein noted Veeam’s enterprise push is being validated by industry recognition.
“Gartner just announced their 2016 magic quadrant, and Veeam for the first time is in the upper right hand quadrant, which is where we want to be,” he said. “The product is enterprise grade now. What we have to do is get customers and prospects to perceive us as enterprise. Gartner has helped validate us there.”
Another key element of building enterprise presence is focusing on their ecosystem.
“We have strong enterprise distributors, and we are typically in their advanced solution groups, so we have raw distribution power,” Goldstein said. “We have a complete set of alliance partners, who work in both the mid-market and the enterprise, who we go to market with. We need to meet our alliance partners more in the channel. I’ll be spending a lot more time with the enterprise channel, and with our large software-focused partners who sell to the enterprise. We have a very active reseller community and a very vibrant alliance partner community and we are stitching those together with a focus on the enterprise.”
Cloud is a key part of that landscape, Goldstein said.
“Our software enables end user customers to direct their backups to a cloud provider,” he said. “The days of vendors controlling customers are over. Now customers make these kind of decisions, and they each decide how much will be on-prem, and how much will be on cloud.”
Goldstein said their customers are pushing partners in that direction.
“If some partners don’t want to go there, lots of others are going,” he said. “Part of the challenge in the channel is that the market is moving. Partners today have the opportunity to get great fits. Some distributors are offering them leverage, standing up cloud services with white label offerings. We want to get designed in there. Some partners will decide to stand up their own infrastructure for specialized services and we want to get designed in there too.”
The final element of the strategy, Goldstein said, is to build out the Canadian team.
“You can’t win a race when you don’t show up, and we have to show up for more races,” he said. “Veeam has a tremendous marketing machine to get our message out, but there’s nothing like salespeople calling to tell the story, especially to larger customers. We need more sales people and engineers to show up and tell the story, because while we have a fantastic story, if you have never heard about it, it doesn’t matter.
Goldstein noted that 87 per cent of their customers that do a proof-of-concept end up buying.
“Our goal is to do more proof-of-concepts, and that requires people to assist and answer questions as we go through the process,” he said.