Will Benton

Doug Woodburn
clock • 4 min read
Will Benton

Name: Will Benton

Role: Regional director UK&I, SonicWall

Spirit animal: Butterfly

How would you summarise SonicWall's channel philosophy?

At SonicWall, the mission is placing Partners and Customers at the forefront. SonicWall values the loyal relationships it has been able to build with partners. The SecureFirst Partner Program was created to pursue profitability and predictability for all our partners worldwide. Listening to the partner community is incredibly important and SonicWall is always striving to provide the best partner experience, with the goal of building highly profitable security practices. Through this, SonicWall has built a world class global channel organisation that remains one of the most committed in the industry.

The channel still sees us as an SMB vendor where we are very much an enterprise player

Tell us about SonicWall's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…

SonicWall's SecureFirst Partner Program accelerates our partners' ability to be not only game changers but thought leaders in an ever-changing security landscape. Becoming a SecureFirst partner with SonicWall offers superior products, technical expertise as well as aggressive margins and partner loyalty. The SonicWall SecureFirst Partner Program includes:

•            -Co Competitive Margins and Deal Registration Protection

•            Technical Training and Sales Enablement

•            Marketing and Lead Generation Support

How many partners do you work with in the UK?

1,200 in UK&I.

Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?

Recruitment of new partners is always key. Currently there is a particular focus MSSPs.

Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?

There have not been any major changes to the partner programme but there have been some advancements regarding partner education.

Describe your perfect partner?

Nimble, dynamic and MSSP ready.

In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?

New customer acquisition is very important for the business growth of both partners and SonicWall. Over the next 12 months, we'd like to see a focus specifically in sectors such as cloud, remote working, and distributed networks with SonicWall.

New customer acquisition is very important for the business growth of both partners and SonicWall. Over the next 12 months, we'd like to see a focus specifically in sectors such as cloud, remote working, and distributed networks with SonicWall

How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?

I expect to see over the coming years an evolution in the programmes and engagement models, that can cater to the different needs of partners. Their priorities may have changed and while they may not fix the box of the vendor programme, they are still able to add great value to it.

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

The recruitment of MSSP partners.

Do you feel SonicWall is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?

This is already in discussions, with programmes in place addressing those who sell technology.

Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?

There is no direct-channel conflict as SonicWall is 100 per cent two-tier channel and our Enduser teams work tightly with partners across multiple verticals.

Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?

A trait we prize are partners who remain active and engaged with us while there is nothing I deplore.

How do you feel SonicWall's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?

I believe we stack up really well against our peers in the current climate.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one aspect of your channel performance or strategy overnight, what would it be?

To adopt and drive the boundless strategy into the enterprise base.

What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?

The channel still sees us as an SMB vendor where we are very much an enterprise player.

I started my career as a commis chef and spent one season working with a Formula One team feeding the team

Tell us something about yourself most people won't know? 

I started my career as a commis chef and spent one season working with a Formula One team feeding the team.

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