Fortinet has tapped two executives to lead its sales channel in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, and both channel leaders tell CRN their focus will be on improving communications and boosting partner certifications training to foster growth upstream to larger businesses.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based network security appliance maker named Bryan Wood its U.S. channel chief after spending. Wood was previously vice president of U.S. channel and mid enterprise sales. Peter Brant, who served as vice president of Americas enterprise sales, was promoted to vice president of Americas sales.
The Fortinet promotions fill vacancies left by two channel executives that left this year to oversee channel operations with U.K.-based security firm Sophos. Channel veteran Michael Valentine left in February to lead Sophos' global channel sales. Kendra Krause, Fortinet's former vice president of channel sales, left in April to oversee Sophos' Americas channel program.
Wood, who has been at Fortinet for the last seven years, said channel partners will see no significant changes to the FortiPartner Program. Fortinet has been encouraging growth with an incentive program that gives partners a kickback on the back end of sales, Wood said. Partners that finalize sales opportunities at $10,000 earn a 3 percent kickback, and those who finalize sales over $100,000 earn a 5 percent kickback, Wood said. The company continues to make certification training affordable, offering onsite classroom-led training and virtual classes. Fortinet is working to encourage partners to take advantage of the training, Wood said.
"From the benchmarking we've conducted, we believe this is a fairly aggressive incentive program," Wood said. "Our partners are seeing profitability, but there are minor directives that we're executing on to enhance how they operate with us."
The company is also increasing outreach to partners, Wood said, putting a greater emphasis on reaching out to partners via mobile devices. Fortinet is introducing push notifications for iPhone and Android users with an app that will enable deal registration and access to other information such as product documentation.
Wood started his career at 3com where he worked in a sales and business development role. He also worked at UTM vendor Watchguard technologies and security information and event management vendor, NitroSecurity, which was acquired by McAfee in 2011.
NEXT: Fortinet To Encourage Larger Enterprise SalesFortinet's Wood and Joe Sykora, senior direct of Americas marketing, now report to Brant, who is overseeing the company's Americas sales. Brant told CRN that Fortinet will remain 100-percent channel with Wood leading day-to-day channel operations.
"There isn't a massive, broad sweeping set of changes we're looking at making," Brant told CRN. "We're very fortunate to have inherited a well-oiled machine."
Brant said efforts will revolve around getting Fortinet partners to drive sales into customers that are bigger than they are used to working with, boosting sales among Fortune 1,000 and Fortune 500 businesses.
"There will be a continued focus on the SMB because that is very near and dear to our heart, but we'll work on how to encourage larger deals," Brant said.
Fortinet has built out a strong technical organization on the back end and will use the team to work with channel partners to help them extend sales into the upper midmarket and enterprise sales, Brant said.
"When you start to get into the veranda of mid-enterprise and above, there's very proof-of-concept that take place there, which requires a pretty expansive knowledge-base on set solutions," Brant said.
Brant who has been at Fortinet for three years, held positions at Breach security and AdmitOne Security, and he was a management contributor to the early years of SonicWall, now part of Dell. While at Fortinet, Brant has been focused on developing a customer base within the Fortune 100. He also worked to broaden the portfolio into healthcare, education, financial services, high-tech and retail sectors.
Fortinet has made a number of moves in recent months to strengthen its product portfolio and boost its reseller program. The company developed a stronger partnership with FishNet Security to help build out FishNet's managed security services using the Fortinet virtual appliance line. The company also has plans for announcements on further developing its unified threat management line. In addition to UTM capabilities, the FortiGate 3,000 series firewall line offers next-generation firewall capabilities, enabling inspection of the application layer. Fortinet is also readying a partner program to foster growth with managed security services providers.
In March, Fortinet announced the acquisition of Coyote Point Systems, a maker of application delivery control and load balancing solutions.
PUBLISHED MAY 20, 2013