B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 3 years ago

12: The State of the Channel in North America w/ Bruce Johnson

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Can one sector of a business drive change in an entire channel?

Though the IT channel is has been around for many years, it is changing rapidly to a integrated solution based model.  One of the most significant change agents is the urgent need to integrate information security and cybersecurity into all IT products and services.

Bruce Johnson heads up Global Channels at BlueVoyant, a next generation cybersecurity provider built on a threat intelligence platform. BlueVoyant has leaders from diverse backgrounds, from executives at Morgan Stanley to members of the NSA and FBI.

Bruce and his team at BlueVoyant have seen first hand the widespread impact that information security and cybersecurity concerns have had on sales channels.  If a company is in the technology space, they need to have measures in place to protect their own information as well as the information of their clients. BlueVoyant helps neutralize those threats.

Bruce has experience working all over the globe, so we sat down with him to learn more about the state of the sales channel in North America, the differences between the North American Market and the European Market, and where he sees rooms for improvement in these channels.

You're listening to be to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on thecutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show hi welcome to be to be revenueECCELERATION. My name is Orelia Mitie an I'm here today with Bruce Johnsonfrom blue voyancs. Are you doing today, Bross one for Ra, thanks for having megood so today bruce we wanted to invite you to discuss about the state of thechannel in North America hat. That's a big topic I would believe, but beforewe get started, it would be very, very useful if you could give a shortintediction to yourself, as well as blue voand to oritones. Certainly rightso blue Voyd is a next generation, ciber security provider, and what makesus different is we were built for the industry by leaders who have seen thisciber security challenge from a different perspective, leaders fromOrkanstanley from Thompson, Reuters, even from the intelligence community ofthe NSA and FBI. Eighty two hundred unit and GCHQ, and what really makes usdifferent is we were built on a thread: intelligence platform that reallynforms everything else, that we do and it's an unrivaled in the world really.But it's it's a leading platform for thread, intelligence that allows us todeliver value to our customers and really bring to the private sector. Indsmaller organizations, the level of Cyper security defense that has onlybeen enjoyed by the very largest organization. So Jim Rosen falls, ourCEO and he prior to starting Blue Wayit, was the COO at Morgan Stanley, with athree hundred and fifty million dollar Sibar security budget, and his visionis to bring that type of cybersecurity defense to smaller organizations whocan't go out and get those same type types of resources. So we've developeda company around thread intelligence around many security services andaround sybaforensics and incidente...

...response that really brings that levelof solution and cyber defense to organizations around the world. Whil emust admit that the p degree of the fondles or t the thinking heads that have beenadeearly stagear, the creation of blue voyance PRUSS, the team. Now so all thepeople that not only Yol, see you but also yourself person or the bacdgrorthat you are bringing to the table is definitely an impressive setup. Othankyou an we're excited about it it well. It seems that Lovansao Se othersayesbig background and big backup from from lots of interesting people, so very,very interesting, technoogy company, from your background, proces, and alsofrom lieving and breathing that channel in North America for as long as you'vedone- and I think one of the reason why we wanted to Inviteu is also becauseyou live both sides of the channel so working from the vendor as well asworking for the actual channel it seld. It would be very useful if yo couldshare with with us or if you could outline what is from your pespective teactual state of the channel in Noth America and also the direction in whichyou said going yeah love to. As you said, I have been onall sides of the channel. I work for companies like Samantach, then on theVendorside Cynex, as a distributor, I've been in the reseller space andit's obviously evolved over those decades that I've been around what I'veseen really happened. It's really incredible to see how one sector of thebusiness, the cyber security space, can really drive an entire channel becauseit's hard to be in the technology space anymore, without offering some level ofinformation, security, cybper security practice or or consideration in thatspace. So what we're seeing is that is driving vars to who might traditionallybe in the storage space or...

...infrastructure space or any other space.Just like cloud has really kind of pulled partners into looking at thingsdifferently. Cybersecurity is forcing people to look at their businessesdifferently. It has also been a natural connection, though, to another bigmovemental for the last couple of decades, which has been moving awayfrom the resale of a product to a recurring reveru model as a business.So putting those two things together really has driven a lot of developmentin the channel. It's driven channel partners to try to buildtighter relationships with their vendors in the in the offerins thatthey have, and it's also caused them to look deeper into the opportunity ofpartnering with their distributors, who have access to more technologies andcan help them vet those technologies and then really put resources togetherto go, build practice at Someti. In some cases, many cases the distructsare actually augmenting a lot of what the resellers or the service providersare doing with their own resources. So it's been a s, a lot of things movingalong, and I think the two biggest drivers are at that I see are the needto wrap security into all aspects of the offering, and this again, this ideaof over ocurring revenue model that it does. What everybody's been seeking andnow starting to see how they can deliver through cloud services andmanage services on that promise? Okay, so do you feel that there is reallyanubskilling of the channel going on so channel parthner being a little bitmore technical and more on the ball from product or vary propositionperspective simply because the market is becoming a little bit more complexand more foncested? I absolutely do I think that you're, seeing Youre drivingto war, specialization and and people are digging in and imhaving to invest,and I think one of the big Investin...

...those resources- and I think one of thebig reasons for that is the lack of resources in talent in the generalpopulation to cover things like Siver security. There's a very large gap. Imean by some some studies: It's a million unfieled security jobs and sothe bars AF service providers are driving deeper and better. I guesssolutions and an expertise to be able to go out and provide those thoseservices to the client base where the clients are unable to fill those wolesyeah. I also think from from from my own pespective and my own experience inalso engaging with a channel that I feel that there is a little bit moresout process from distributors from resellers to try to get solutions thatwill fit with each other and almost coming to coming to market with theirown bundals of solution at that will, I guess she pot them to do two things.First, one would probably be a aving competitive advantage on the market,because we know that it's extremely competitive and extremely chalengingfor your resellor to acquire Newmak, Marketshar or offor your for Reselos toacquire new clients. So it's about differenciators, but it's also aboutkeeping the crients what we tend to see or what we tend to feel. I think it'smore feeling than seeing it beonest with you is Reselle distributer,putting more thoughts in what they can offer to the market, to also keep theclients for longer. There is always almost that sort of quest going ontrying to identify new vendors or new solution or something that will fit fitvery well with an offering that is already existing. So I guess what I'mtrying to explain: yea, that there is. There is a always that research for innovation,always that we are saking, something innovative, that we can bring to themarket. So we can impress our clients, no think from my pospecttive. This is abig shift when, when we started and my...

...career in the btob software business isa little bit shorter than your prus to somy expieses is is not as great asyours, but I feel that we kind of moving from a fullfilment role of thechannel to a bit more of a specialize role so and it seems that what you justmention is very much aligned with what I feel as well. Yes, I mean we areseeing the same facting, the same thing: Inthad it's more difficult for serviceproviders, valuated resellers, anybody standing in that role facing the customand the customers asking for a solution. It's difft its more difficult for thatpartner to not pick sides and have done the research so you're right from whatI've seen the role of fulfilment and ignostic position to provide whateverthe customer wants. Because of the vast number of options, now, we've got moretechnology in every category. UPSERY, it's making it. The customers arereading on those advisors, those trusted advisors, the they're askingthem to is now become of value in the in the value added reseller formula.One of those value ads is the decision, support the ability to put thingstogether and help the customer deside. You need to go this way, as opposed tojust being there with a line card of fifteen options in each category. Doyou also thin that there is again coming back to the SIAT you've beenseeing both side of the of the channel being in the Reselo leg, distributeoryourself and running this teams, as well as being at the vendow on thevendow side? Do you think it's more challenging now for distributers,because obviously we're speaking about thut scaling, Wele sphaking about beingspecialist, and I would have thought that this is coming with investment?You can' just become a specialist by just sitting dhere and doing nothing.We need to abskill your team. You need to train them to teach them. Youtheyneed to have a better on the...

...standing of the market, etc, etc. sessone things thats the investment, but on the other side, coming back tosomething that you mentioned only on it's a rectoring revenue is that',softwore, asthe service type of business, almost moving to a maageservice provider, type of offering, which I would have thought would bringless margine for the channel itself. So I kind of say it as from theconversation weare Haing right now that there is a requirement towhat skin.There is a requirement for larger investment, but that the other rentsthere is also an issue of lesh revenue coming in, because you can't say this:You gotto have a server sitting at your on your client side. You probably havethe services that you can sell. So doesn't do you think that slightlychange the business model or the way the channel is walking ou? Does the DEPskilling thetris on demand? Tes, WE SERV to othe service from yourpospuctive affect the business model or or the way the channel can sou life. Ithink it does put a lot more pressure on the distributor specifically becausethe distributor has a larger spread of resources, they're able to take on inspecific areas and go make those investments and prepare an able andhelp those bars build businesses and augment those businesses right, becauseit's hard for a for the Alcoholthem, a point of sale, reseller the person atthe end end point with the customer to go and invest all the it put all thepeople in place on the bet, if you will and yea, and not also from a workloadperspective so with th. The flow of business is sometimes better for e thedistributor to put those resources in place and then pull the resellers alongwith them, and that's actually become a value ad to the reseller to team upwith distributors who can help them even out that business and augment theservices were necessary. It's also it's a very good example of where sockservices specifically are a point where a lot of resellers and a lot of serviceproviders were out there saying hey...

...well, do manage services will do ioffer.You know some infrastructure as a service will do these things and thenthey've kind of evolved to hey. Let's, let's make that a security as a service,but they found that yuilding a sock is very expensive, so ei they're, lookingto Liders, like blue voyant, to say, okay, you've built your sock or yourmultiple socks and you've got those mand with all the people that you needand all the analysts. So what we can do now is go out and add a layer ofservice on top of that, put our expertise into a particular industry ormarket segment and then leverage those sock services of a blue voyant toultimately build a profitable business where we haven't had to do the outlayof funds yeah. I compantely agree with you. I think it's it's it's aninteresting changing world for the channel itself was distributed, the onetothe two chic channel. Another thing, that' really interests me and I guess Iwant to move the conversation towords is: Is your global experience? You'vebeen working a lot in North America, you've been working O lot in Europe.You've been working ya, Loto, Nay, pack, you've got you've got that veryinteresting global experience, and my next question is really around thedifferences or, if you see any differences or any different level ofmaturity between Americas, thewis Europe, verss Apack in Tim of Chanoin,Tom of you could be at the engagement level or the way they work may be veryinteresting. If you could comment from your ponspective on the differencesbetween regions, Wlli'll give you my perspective, but it's purely from theseat of a US base business going into new markets. That's an importantdistinction, because from that perspective, it's trying to get placesthat we can't necessarily get in touch with the same types of direct sellingresources. So taking a business that is primary to the US as we are today, forexample. Well, yeah evoyit is is a global company, but most of ourresources are in the in the US, so our...

...reach into Europe, for example,requires us to lean on those channels differently than we would in the UnitedStates. When I was at Symantech, we had a different play because we had anentire sales infrastructure in Amedia regions and things like that. But soI'll tell you that, for example, from the the large vendor perspective, wesee the specifically in the Europe areas. The role of the distributor isvery different. It's a much more of a value added position place in the ecosystem. We've seen thesame thing evolved in the United States, where the broadline, if you willdistributors, are taken on more o a value position and- and that's happenedover the last- you might say ten years, but certainly the last five, where thetraditional big big broadline distributors are getting deeper intospecifics and de specific areas, an certainly adding a lot more resourcearound the solution. Selling and things like that. So we're saying a valueadded development in the United States. That's been there in Europe for quitesome time when we moved at going off into other regions. We see you know,for example, and Apac. Cultural differences are one of the biggestadvantages that the channel brings us to understand the culture and how to dobusiness. You know, in those reasons, whether it's, Japan or Australia,wherever so cultural cultural things are very important, and but I would say,in general, you know it's a case where we have to build a complex strategyaround how we're going to leverage the channels in each of those differentregions. absutely, and I think you are completely right and starting with thestatement that you locrate from a US company coting into Europe, it's very,very vebore, because we do it the other way. We sometimes look at Europe andclients. So an Israeli client, for example, Ar is a turn of ISRAE, startedat a fantastic product and they want to scare in North America and scaling inNorth America because of the the...

...territory so vast you need to. You needto really have the granuarity on theground, if you're scaling up in theUK, if just cetting up in France, if youus getting up in even in Korea andAustralia and things like that, at least, you could find a localdistributor, local partner, that note market very well. You can do a bit ofjdiligens find Ta Hu, but what it comes to North America and going the otherways gut is own challenges, and I think this is sociat who would actuallydiscussing more details Han oter podcast, but I will definitely pictyour brain up on the Topicla from aother thing that I obviously the kindof my last question that I've got for. You is the improvement. So you again,you have been working for the channel. You are no in a vendor, so you've gotATVENDDOC torspective, which is increasing revenue sellings. You wantthe channel probably to do more on a daily basicccetr etc, but from yourpespective. What should be or what could be, the improvement that we needto see in the channel. Moving Forwardo in the TIKAL system. Moving follow I'd,say the biggest thing this we need. We need to see a willingness to build atighter process and tighter engagement between vender and partner Willinyessand a lot of times that that means an investment which requires both sides tochoose fewer partners instead of trying to go out and do be all things allpeople, specifically the channel partner, the valueaded Raceseller, thesolution provider. I really believe they need to pick fewer vendors and godeeper into understanding those vendors and actually be willing to take sides,in particular TECTECHNOLOGC technology arguments right and they do yeah it'swhich direction to go so that you can go deeper with the customer and providemore value together. So the the willingness to invest in that tighterengagement, understanding of each other's businesses. I think it'scritical and it's on both sides. The...

...vendor has to pick fewer partners andtry to actually invest in an enablement and and go to market with morespratengic partners. That requires an investment of time and resources andand delivery mechanisms, and I think they also, they also need to be willingto, as I said, stand up for where they want to take their business. A partnerdoes so that they can add value to the customer in their overall strategy foraround technology, so they can yeh need to add more and more value. I think those are the key things but ta that's very ousefor. Thank you very much for for your insight on that Broselast question that I've got for. You is for the purpose of Ou Gensa for thepoopose of our listener. If anyone wants to get in touch with you todiscuss, is all about Bluevoyan, Soluton or just to have a chat with youto carry on the conversation as we just Tad aroun the channel. What is the bestway to get all the Brost Transon? The best way to get hold of me is throughBruce Tot Johnson at Blue Voyantcom, a KAIT's, my email address and I'd loveto love the chat with folks when, as been wonderful Bros. Thank you vor Ymuch forl time. I really appreciate Ordein say that you Shud with us todayso again. Thank you for much. Thank you rer. My pleasure operadics has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams in househas existed for many years. Companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales. Seeo operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics. Dot Net you've been listening to be to be revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

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