In the last of our ‘Meet the Shortlisters’ Series, Tom Corrigan, UK channel director at Mimecast (pictured), talks about the vital role the channel plays in the vendor’s success, why resilience is so important during these challenging times, and how Mimecast has positioned itself to thrive in the 'new normal'
Give us a flavour of your channel strategy - how long have you worked with the channel, how is your programme structured, how many partners do you work with etc
Mimecast's Channel strategy and programmes are designed to attract, retain and develop our MSP and reseller communities with both strategy and programmes now serving over 500 UK partners built around three supporting pillars:
Winning new customers
Acquiring new customers across SMB, commercial, enterprise and public sector is critical to success with the channel and our partner programmes are designed to ensure that customer acquisition with Mimecast is commercially attractive for the partner community. At Mimecast we recognise that the Channel community often requires specialist sales support during new customer pursuits, for that reason our new business sales teams work incredibly closely with our channel teams and our partners across segments, territories and industries which is an engagement model that works incredibly well with our channel.
Keeping the customers forever
Ensuring that our partners are best positioned and enabled to service and support our joint customers is very important to us and to our channel. Sales and technical enablement is the key to ensuring success with the customers throughout their lifecycle. Through our partner portals we provide access to a wide variety of training and enablement content supplemented by instructor-led courses which helps our partners deliver pre and post-sales services and sales as well as technical certifications which operate as an approval stamp describing a partners capabilities around Mimecast.
Selling the customers more services
Once customers are acquired and onboarded to our platform, we lay down ongoing upsell strategies with our channel. As Mimecast continues to expand our portfolio this upsell opportunity with our channel increases; our joint track record in upsell performance coupled with our strong customer retention rates really invigorates a healthy and loyal Channel community.
On a personal level, I have worked in the Technology sector for close to 30 years, during which time I have seen all sorts of great technologies come and go and have also seen some that were perhaps not so great! I have also experienced first-hand how technology adoption and consumption has changed over that time with Mimecast, through our 100 per cent cloud business model, keeping nicely ahead of that.
What is the biggest benefit you have seen from working with channel partners?
Without a doubt the key benefit of our channel is the scale and customer access that they deliver for us and our channel dramatically accelerates our ability to reach new customers across all segments and industry verticals. Mimecast now serves over 39,000 customers globally, and without our fantastic channel community this impressive customer count wouldn't be possible. Another benefit is the relationships that are developed in working with channels and the diversity that exists today compared to yesteryear - long may that diversity continue to accelerate.
How have you supported your partners during the pandemic? Has it made you change your strategy in any way? If so, how?
Mimecast's vision is to prevent bad things from happening to good organisations and the strategy supporting that vison remains intact. What has changed is how we work with our partners as we continue to operate in remote working environments, for example, we have now shifted to 100 per cent digital content delivering training and enablement to our partners and fully remote delivery for all channel and customer interactions. A great example of this is a Mimecast site we launched which is dedicated to offering advice, guidance and content to helping our business partners and our joint customers secure their mobile workforce. As you can imagine that site has been especially busy over the past eight months or so.
What has been your company's biggest challenge during 2020 and how did you overcome it? What role did your own teams play in that?
Probably the biggest challenge this year and one which all organisations faced was the shift to 100 per cent remote working. One challenge in that shift was the technical side of the transition which at Mimecast was seamless and the challenge thereafter, ongoing in fact, is ensuring our staff and families were supported through this difficult period with wellness programmes and other initiatives designed to support health and happiness as well as keeping energy levels in a world where so much time is spent video conferencing.
What lessons have you learned from this year?
I think that the biggest lesson learned this year is that people, teams and organisations remain remarkably resilient to the environment. Another lesson is that challenge brings change but also breeds creativity and innovation and some of the creativity and innovation we have seen from the industry this year has been extraordinary. Our job, both channel and vendor, is to respond to market requirements and customer needs and I think we did a pretty good job in getting after that together.
What has been the highlight of 2020 for your business?
2020 has been another year of growth for Mimecast with our global customer count now exceeding 39,000. We've also strengthened our product offering with the acquisition of MessageControl to increase efficacy in the fight against advanced phishing and impersonation attacks.
In addition to this, were recently named a Gartner Enterprise Information Archiving Leader for the sixth consecutive year for our enterprise information archiving solution. Internationally, we recently opened our first data centres in Canada and, particularly exciting for us, we appointed Jonathan Corini as senior vice president of global channel sales to further strengthen our commitment to the channel.
What does it mean to you to be recognised for the shortlist/an award?
Mimecast is proud to support CRN and being shortlisted in these two categories clearly demonstrates our channel pedigree, the ever-increasing strength of our security portfolio and also our Covid response strategy which we are immensely proud of. Being shortlisted is great however a victory would be something to savour in either category!
How do you think the industry will change as a result of Covid-19 and how do you plan to thrive/grow?
We have seen a seismic change since March as customers moved at pace to accelerate digital transformation projects to enable new productivity tools and applications as well as supporting new working patterns and hybrid/remote working models for staff. In particular
the execution of remote working initiatives brought a massive opportunity to life for the channel and the vendor communities who responded incredibly well however it also brings risk and challenge which Mimecast reported on in our 100 days of Coronavirus Report which describes massive increases in Spam (+26%) , Impersonation attacks (+30%) , Malware detections (+35%) and blocking of URL clicks (+56%) reported and captured in that period.
With our strategy intact and broad product portfolio designed to defend customers at, inside and beyond the traditional perimeter Mimecast and our channel are well positioned to thrive in this new environment as we work together to stop bad things happening to good organisations and to make customers more resilient.