ESET has been investing significantly over the last two years in building up their Canadian presence. Their first distribution deal reflects that growth, and now will let them broaden their channel reach.
Ingram Micro has been distributing ESET in the U.S. for several years, but the Canadian relationship is not simply an extension of the deal. Its timing is also significant, in that ESET considers the Canadian organization is now at that inflexion point where it has been built up significantly to get optimal benefits from adding distribution.
ESET sells 100 per cent through partners, but until the summer of 2015, it had no physical presence in Canada, and sold here through partners who were managed out of the U.S. That changed at the beginning of August 2015, when they opened a Toronto office and hired Symantec veteran Iva Peric-Lightfoot to run it. The original skeleton crew was gradually augmented, with James Chalmers coming on board as Director of Sales and Partner Alliances in February 2016. Chalmers is responsible for developing, creating and managing the overall Canadian enterprise channel strategy.
“We were tasked with developing our own Canadian channel strategy,” Chalmers said. “This was all part and parcel of ESET making an investment in Canada. We didn’t want to be simply a branch office of the U.S. ESET Canada grew to the point where it became a full standalone office on January 1 of this year, and now reports directly to head office.”
The channel strategy did not involve going with Ingram Micro simply because they handled ESET in the U.S.
“After I came on board, I talked with all the distributors in Canada, and concluded that Ingram Micro had everything that we were looking for,” Chalmers said. “We signed up for their SMB Alliance program. It’s a great fit for us and a way to reach thousands of partners that we aren’t reaching now. Down the road. we will look at Trust X Alliance, which is for their larger partners.”
ESET Canada will rely heavily on Ingram Micro’s traditional logistics services.
“ESET in Canada has grown to the point where it makes sense for us to start using a third party for logistics, including order processing, quoting and professional services,” Chalmers stated. “We will lean on them to provide resellers with info about us, and want them to be proactive about sending out information, and proactively pushing out quotes. We will also lean on them for renewal services. Because ESET is still relatively new to Canada from a sales organization perspective, Ingram Micro gives us the added reach we are looking for.”
Ingram Micro’s Cloud business has become a key strategic asset for the distributor, and it’s something that ESET hopes to leverage in Canada – but not quite yet.
“At this point, we don’t have a cloud offering, although it is on the roadmap for later this year,” Chalmers said.
ESET has been offering solutions specifically for MSPs since 2013, and while in Canada MSPs work directly with ESET, the plan is to move that to Ingram Micro as well