Network security vendor Fortinet has launched an SMB channel assault in the UK through sole distributor Exclusive Networks.
Globally, Fortinet generates about a third of its revenues from SMB, with a third coming from ISPs and the remaining third from large enterprises.
However, the SMB figure is much lower in the UK, where - due to Fortinet's legacy as a direct touch-focused operation - enterprise sales generate 60 per cent of the total.
Country manager Mark Hyland said the goal is to achieve an even split between the three customer segments, with the help of a new four-strong, SMB-dedicated team at sole distributor Exclusive Networks.
Its job will be to recruit and develop Fortinet's Bronze partners, who sit below Fortinet's base of 50 Gold and Silver partners and only need "access to the internet and a finger" to enrol in the partner programme, Hyland said.
A new accreditation, Bronze Plus, is available to those who buy a starter kit featuring a wireless antenna, a wireless access point and some authentication tokens. Costing about £400, it can be used either by the VAR itself or for demonstration purposes.
Fortinet will aim Bronze Plus at its existing 300 Bronze partners but is also eyeing defections from rivals including WatchGuard and SonicWall.
At the same time, Fortinet has stepped up policing of its Gold and Silver partners, which must generate £500,000 and £250,000 of Fortinet sales, annually, and employ four and two trained staff, respectively. Those that make the grade will now enjoy much closer cooperation around business planning, Hyland said.
"We are working out which are the people that have a real hunger to build a relationship," he said.
Some of the policing will be carried out by Exclusive Networks, which now has a ten-strong team behind Fortinet and will remain as sole distributor for at least the foreseeable future, according to Hyland.
"It's working well," he said. "Has it been perfect? No, but the benefits are outweighing the disadvantages.
"We are limiting our ability for partners to have multiple credit lines. That hasn't caused us a problem that I'm aware of. It may be that lots of resellers aren't buying from us because they haven't got the ability to go out to three distributors; some of them might not want the relationship with Exclusive. But I've not seen that, and if there is [a problem], then we'll manage that."
'Smaller firms may struggle to keep up with Microsoft's innovation with Dynamics' says CEO Stuart Fenton after acquiring assets from Profile Enterprise Solutions
Pete Peterson admits the firm hasn't always been the 'easiest company to do business with'
New chief exec Aaron Painter says 'longer-term strategy' could see firm tackle the Asian market
XMA bosses on becoming a 'performance VAR', pocketing £50m of Misco leftovers, and acquisition near-misses
Lee Hemani and Andy Wright reveal that XMA is aiming to boost net profits to three per cent of revenues as they run through the growth ambitions of the UK's ninth-largest reseller