SMBs will need partners to help them get the most out of their current tech as IT spend dries up as a result of the pandemic, according to Dropbox's global channel chief Simon Aldous.
Speaking to CRN, Aldous said that a "concerning" trend he is seeing is the financial hit that SMBs are taking as a result of the pandemic, in comparison to their enterprise counterparts. He anticipates this will cause them to seek out MSPs who can help them get more bang for their buck in their IT spend.
Two-thirds of its channel business comes through SMB business, he added.
"We've seen more organisations looking to make better use of the technology that they have and they've been talking to us and our partners about how they can more effectively integrate Dropbox with other applications and use it to do more things," he explained.
"Maybe before they were just using it as a data file server-type technology and now they are asking how can they use it from a more collaborative standpoint. Net new business has been quite tough in those spaces but helping those partners utilise what they've got has been a big part of what we're doing.
"Customers can actually see the value of Dropbox when it's integrated within their IT offering, rather than us just talking about Dropbox in isolation as this content collaboration platform, it has really opened their eyes to the value that we can add to their business.
"If we want to continue to penetrate the in SMB and mid-market, the way for us to do that effectively is with partners."
Dropbox started out with a direct channel model but four years ago they introduced an indirect model because it saw having partners as "critical" to its growth among business customers, Aldous said.
It has recently refreshed its partner programme which it is "heavily pushing" in order to make partners aware of the support the vendor can provide at the moment.
"We've spent the last three years really learning how to become a channel company," he stated.
"We're trying to provide more tools and more support to partners in terms of how they are talking to their end customers and supporting their end customers directly.
"Whether it's just looking at the introduction of new products like [recent acquisition] HelloSign, or looking at increased marketing support or dual registration and additional rebate opportunities, we're rolling all of those things up and making sure partners are fully aware of them and can utilise them."
Dropbox counts 11,500 partners globally, and though Aldous declined to count how many it has in the UK, he stated that it was a "critical" market for the company.
"The UK for us is leading the market in Europe, from a development perspective and also driving some of our initiatives," he said.
"It's a market where we've seen good success from an SMB standpoint, and it's a market where, yo we're working very hard to ensure that we can integrate our direct sales teams with our channel sales teams, to make sure, that when we are talking to customers, we understand that if they have a preferred partner, they use for IT outsourced provision, that we're bringing those guys in early in the process."
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