Check Point's partners should be anticipating a "bounce back" in demand for partners once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided,according to its UK head of channels.
Michael Wakefield told CRN that past pandemics have shown pent-up customer demand unleashed once containment measures have eased and that partners should expect a similar situation to arise with COVID-19.
He is adamant that the pandemic will not knock the company's growth strategy, stating that it has already hired three new people to its UK operations in the last month. The security vendor enjoyed a buoyant first quarter for the three months ending 31 March 2020, with a three per cent year-on-year increase in revenue to $486m.
"We're still pushing forward; what seems to happen when something like this happens is that there is a bounce back and the bounce can be significant, so you need people getting back to work," he elaborated.
"While we haven't got a crystal ball we need to understand what the bounce back will be like, there's a general feeling that other regions have experienced similar situations in the past and the bounce back was significant, so there's hope."
Check Point relaunched its partner programme in January, adding secured margins for certain deals and a professional services specialisation, as well as a new Elite tier.
Some vendors have relaxed requirements for some elements of their programmes or java extended deadlines for partners in order to help them weather the financial fallout of the pandemic, but Wakefield said that as Check Point's new programme is still in "transition" there's a certain level of "flexibility" for partners.
"Check Point's 100 per cent a channel driven business and partnerships are the key to our growth and to our success in business," he said.
"We haven't seen any significant impact in terms of the revenue so there's no real concern for partners in the short term on how their revenues might affect their partner status.
"There's no concern for partners, short term, that there's going to be any knee-jerk reactions from us for a simple blip over a particular quarter - it shouldn't affect anyone dramatically.
"All of our partners have a business plan with us and we're always working on together on proactive sales activities and because we have that close one-to-one relationship there is always a conversation, it's not a distance set of rules."
He highlighted pipeline generation as one of the most pressing concerns partners have expressed to him and that vendors and partners have a lot of work to do in reassessing where the next opportunity is coming from.
"For any sales organisation generating pipeline is how we achieve our numbers, so it's the ability to still be proactive and find new projects," he said.
"Certainly when one of your key growth areas is signing new customers it's about finding new ways of being able to engage with customers that you may have never spoken to before, when you can't attend events or do the face-to-face thing."
"A big concern for our partners - and for every vendor - has been ‘where is our pipeline coming from?' A lot of work to be done there in terms of reassessing and re-evaluating that pipeline.
"I don't think the partner landscape should be too worried at the moment, provided we can get back up to speed as soon as possible."
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