LAS VEGAS – SonicWALL’s official separation from Dell as a stand-alone security company is little more than two months away. Their top executives have been energetically preparing for the launch, however. Nowhere will the transition be more significant than in channel management, as the move from the Dell SonicWALL hybrid model to a 100 per cent channel SonicWALL takes place. To that end, SonicWALL is putting the final touches on a new channel program, in which several things will be very different from the Dell PartnerDirect program.
“The separation is an incredible catalyst for us,” said Steve Pataky, SonicWALL’s vice president, worldwide sales. “What does life look like as we separate? On Day One we will unveil a brand new partner program, the SonicWALL Reward For Value Partner Program.”
In contrast to Dell’s hybrid sales model, SonicWALL will work on the same 100 per cent channel model it utilized before Dell acquired the company.
“We are fundamentally based on the channel going forward,” said Chris Auger, SonicWALL’s Executive Director Americas Sales. “The best decisions are always made closest to the partner because the partner is in front of the customer. Everything I do will be all about the channel. Dell will become a channel partner, like CDW.”
Pataky emphasized that in the new SonicWALL, with its 100 per cent channel, the head of sales should be the channel head.
“I’m head of sales, but I really look on myself as the channel chief,” he said. “Almost my whole career has been in channels – with 3Com, Vertical Networks, Netscreen [Juniper] and Fireeye.”
Pataky indicated that early this year, when Dell recruited him away from Fireeye, where he had been channel chief, he was well aware that his destiny would likely include driving the channel reins of an independent SonicWALL.
“Curtis Hutcheson painted a picture of the possibilities the future could hold,” he said. “I came here under full disclosure of what was likely to happen.”
Pataky noted a couple core differences exemplify the different philosophies of Dell PartnerDirect and the SonicWALL Reward for Value Partner Program.
“The biggest change is this value orientation, where we will do everything within the program to be specifically optimized toward a security practice,” he said. “That is very different from also having to consider the interests of networking and other things, as Dell must do. Secondly, we will really emphasize these value-add components. Dell has a massive program, so things have to be generalized. We get to dial in and be very specific, such as with the multiple stackable benefits we offer.”
The program is still being worked on, but Pataky said they are in the final stages.
“We have our final session Wednesday to lock and load on the final details,” he indicated. We still have to finalize things like the specific requirements by level, and the final reward for value framework. We are now at the stage through where we are looking at things like the financial threshold for deal registration.”
The program contains a base discount differentiated by program level, with stackable value added discounts for registering new business, doing POC and verticals solutions. Funds are also allotted for investment development, rep incentives, and special pricing discounts to win deals.
The back end rebates offered feature something of a novelty – two different systems. One, the Accelerated Growth rebate, is for new partners, who can typically rack up large exponential growths in sales, and is the norm for most of the industry. The other, the Foundation Rebate, is for veteran partners with established practices, which bring in consistent production and are really the base of the company’s business.
“This is the first time we have used the dual compensation model,” Pataky said. “Why does it have to be one or the other?”
Pataky noted that designing the piece of the program for MSPs has been a top priority.
“We are trying to make sure we have the right program, the right enablement tools,” he said. “It is important for us to be the platform of choice for MSPs, so we have a new focus in the program on maturing this out. If you are in managed services, we want to be your path of choice.”
Pataky said that Lost Deal Protection, which had been a part of the pre-Dell SonicWALL Medallion program, would be back in the new one. The new program will also have an Authorized Support program, something that has been missing in the past.
Another task is to fix what Pataky said was an acknowledged gap in enablement, improving sales and technical training to inspire SEs to have new conversations with customers.
“We have put a focus historically on post-sales technical certification, which was very product centred, mainly technical, and included a little pre-sales and mostly post sales. We also relied heavily on channel account managers and SEs in the field to train partners. We need sustained contemporary online training for the channel. We are building that, backed up by online infrastructure, which is very modular. It’s not that we don’t want our SEs training our partners – but we have no way to structure it or to track it.”
Pataky said that while Dell’s certification program is a strong one, SonicWALL will be more specifically enablement focused.
“Certifications are great and important, but they don’t train a sales rep,” he said. “Having a technical certification doesn’t train a sales rep how to have a conversation with a customer about the threat of ransomware.”
Pataky also indicated that SonicWALL has also been reclaiming direct distribution relationships, which had been outsourced to Dell.
“We now have full control of those, and will be able to put things in place to benefit the entire system,” he said.