By Peter Colsted, Secunia CEO.
When I took the job as CEO of Secunia this summer, it was to bring Secunia further out into the global playing field of vulnerability management and patch management. So this month, we will be introducing a new go-to-market strategy for Secunia.
Since Secunia was founded in 2002, our corporate solutions have been sold directly from the headquarters in Copenhagen by dedicated sales teams, servicing customers in Secunia's primary markets – Europe and North America. The HQ activities have been supplemented by a few partners in key areas such as the UK and the Middle East. Then, in January 2013, we opened a US subsidiary in Minneapolis, staffed by sales and support teams, to cater to the North American market.
It is clear to me, that the company has reached the limit of what can be achieved by relying exclusively on this direct sales strategy in EMEA and APAC. The success of the US subsidiary confirms that a local presence is an effective means of growing Secunia's business, and I believe we are now at a level where we can benefit from adding an aggressive, new channel strategy built on a strong partner program, which we will launch this month.
When organizations invest in security they like to buy the solutions from a trusted advisor with whom they have an established relationship. A trusted advisor understands the customer's business requirements, and infrastructure, and is therefore able to recommend the right solution for that particular organization.
So rather than trying to bring the customers to Secunia, we will now bring Secunia's solutions out to where the customers are – that is, playing a key role in the process of optimizing IT portfolios comprising different technologies and platforms, to match the needs of the individual IT departments. The decision to invest in vulnerability management and patch management solutions is a decision that requires careful consideration, insight into business requirements, regulations pertaining to the space the organization operates in, and good old-fashioned trust in the person and supplier advising you on which model to go for.
We cannot effectively build many of those relationships from the Copenhagen HQ. From HQ we can build those relationships with the channel, and train the channel to ascertain which of our solutions are a match for their customers.
The new strategy will retain the strengths of the old approach – and add new muscle:
Direct sales at Secunia have historically been executed by a team of dedicated professionals, who work closely with the technical teams and in-house research experts. This remains an effective means of establishing our expertise and maintaining a productive relationship between Secunia, the industry and our customers.
That is the model's strength. The weakness is that a centralized sales force is not easily scalable when an existing market undergoes change or new markets emerge.
We are now introducing a fully-fledged channel strategy, comprising the best and most relevant distribution partners and resellers in the geographical areas we want to increase our market share in. Adding local partners to the Secunia sales team will enable us to go to market in EMEA and APAC with flexibility and tenacity, and thereby stay top-of-mind and build brand awareness locally. In the US we will not be changing the strategy implemented with the opening of our US subsidiary earlier this year, as our US go-to-market strategy already reflects this approach.
Consequently, for EMEA and APAC we will maintain a strong sales and presales team to support our business at the enterprise level. That team will work with our partners on larger projects, and offer sales support and training to the channel.
The channel strategy will hinge on a comprehensive Partner Program, offering options for VAR, MSP, consultants, technology partners and OEM partnerships. We will be seeking out two different types of partners:
- Those who specialize in security solutions. With in-depth understanding of the vulnerability and patch management aspect of securing IT infrastructures, they are therefore able to advise their customers on the right solution.
- Consulting companies who specialize in implementing client management tools and need third-party add-on solutions to fill the gaps in those tools, in order to deliver a complete solution to their clients – typically solution providers working with Microsoft's System Center products, looking for an integrated and effective third-party patch management solution like our Secunia Corporate Software Inspector (CSI).
Later this month we will roll out the new Secunia Partner Program with certifications and training programs, but we have already signed agreements with these distribution partners in nine different countries.
Distribution partners signed are:
UK: Alpha Gen
APAC: EMT APAC
Middle East: EMT ME
To launch our new strategy and Partner Program, our distribution partners will host a series of local events in the months to come.