SaaS security vendor Proofpoint has re-embraced its ex-partner Exclusive Networks in the UK, two years after ditching the distribution partner.
The decision to move onto a single-tier channel in the UK came in 2013, as part of a plan to get closer to resellers that it said could help the company penetrate the large-enterprise market. However, Proofpoint has now made a U-turn by reinstating Exclusive Networks as its sole distributor in the UK. The decision is part of a new focus on SMBs and the mid-market across the whole of Europe.
Mike Smart, EMEA product and solutions specialist at Proofpoint, said: "The strategy at a global level has definitely become more focused on the channel... it is an evolution, and something that makes a lot of sense."
The fresh approach to smaller businesses has already been implemented by Exclusive in France, now the UK, and then the rest of Europe going forward.
Proofpoint classes itself as a cybersecurity vendor, which provides cloud-based solutions for businesses, partnering with the likes of Blue Cube, Kelway and NTS.
Smart went on to say: "We need to scale fast, we need to capitalise on the growth that we are already seeing, and we need to build out a broader community of partners. We are also expanding not just in the enterprise – which has been a focus for us for some time – but also into the mid-market and SMBs."
Smart denied that the move would cause any trust issues, saying the company has a good working relationship with its partners, and a lot of investment is going into channel incentives such as marketing funds and margins - which he added would not be affected.
Exclusive Network's managing director, Graham Jones, said that he would not have entered into the partnership if he was unsure about it.
"We would not have done it if there was any worry about lack of trust. Where I see some vendors go wrong is hiding their direct sales team from channel. We have done a formatting exercise with the guys at Proofpoint, where they show us their account list, and we can introduce them to the VARs that own their end users."
Gary Haycock-West, managing director of Proofpoint partner Blue Cube, welcomed the reintroduction of a distribution layer.
"We have enjoyed working with Proofpoint, but they seem to have had quite a churn of staff for a period of time, which unsettled that business and our business, and I think others. So I think putting in another layer such as Exclusive is a great idea," he said.
"From our point of view it gives a stable platform to work with – from a commercial point of view and a technical standpoint. The recipe of a good vendor working with a good distie allows us to continue doing what we do with greater confidence."
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