2015 Channel Chiefs Details

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One of our "50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs"

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Mike Valentine


SVP Worldwide Sales

Bio and Background: Michael Valentine joined Sophos in 2013 as senior vice president, worldwide sales. He is responsible for the company's global sales and channel organization. With more than twenty years of senior sales and channel experience at global IT security companies, Michael most recently served as vice president, Americas sales and support at Fortinet. In this role, he oversaw all facets of the company's network security offerings-VPN, UTM, web filter, security software-and business development across North America, Latin America and Australia/New Zealand, helping to increase corporate revenues by nearly 40 percent. He guided Fortinet's multi-national sales team through the company's successful IPO and played a major role in the integration of two acquired companies' sales teams. During his tenure, he also expanded the company's network of North America technology distributors, signed more than 700 new Americas partners and grew the internal channel team by more than 80 percent, ultimately helping the company grow from $200 million to over $500 million in worldwide annual revenue. He is a recognized and respected sales executive who in 2008 and 2009 was named a top "Channel Chief" by CRN magazine. Prior to joining Fortinet, Michael held vice president of Americas sales positions at both SonicWALL and WatchGuard Technologies, as well as senior sales positions at Panasonic. Michael has a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Texas - Arlington.

Number of years with the company: 2

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 30

Reports to: Kris Hagerman, CEO

Does that individual report to the CEO/president: Reports to CEO

Number of employees in channel organization: N/A

Top products sold through the channel: Sophos Enduser Protection: Endpoint Security, Mobile Control, Data Encryption SafeGuard Enterprise, Sophos Cloud, Sophos Server Protection, Sophos Network Protection

Partner organization's top accomplishments over the past year: New & Simplified Partner Program: This past year, Sophos launched a simplified Partner Program in North America, enabling its channel partners to dramatically grow their business with attractive discounts, deal registration protection, joint lead generation and other programs. This program was designed to provide increased profitability for active partners, and equips its channel with incentive and a competitive edge to win. Sophos has also made significant investments in local channel sales and sales engineering resources to fuel its partners' growth. Channel Recognition: The Sophos Partner Program received a 5-star rating from CRN and was also named the overall winner in both the Client Security Software category and the Network Security Appliances category in the CRN Annual Report Card (ARC) awards. Not only that, we won the three subcategories in each -for product innovation, support, and partnership. This is the first time in the 29-year history of the awards that a single vendor swept both these categories. Valentine helped shape the new program and is strong figurehead in the channel.

How partner community has grown over the past year: Over the last year we have focused on recruiting the right partners to join the Sophos community. With such a broad yet complete security profile, we welcomed partners with Network or Endpoint experience, as well as partners looking to expand their services and cloud offerings. We have increased our partner base by 15% and are continuing to bring on new partners every day.

How do you expect your channel sales as a percentage of your company's overall sales to change: Increase

How do you expect the number of channel partners you work with to change: Increase

Top channel goals for 2015: Add more qualified partners
Improve partner profitability
Increase the amount of net new accounts coming through partners

Single most innovative partner initiative in 2014: At Sophos we continue to innovate and the following three initiatives are having a positive impact on our company and partner community: 1. We are executing on an innovative strategy called Project Galileo that completely shifts the security world from piecemeal -silo'ed- components to integrated enduser, server and network protection that communicates with each other, correlates information, and proactively responds to threats. The solution encompasses detection, prevention, investigation, and remediation. We are the only vendor that can deliver on this strategy because we are a leader in endpoint and network, and we are actually tying them together. 2. We're also betting the future on Cloud. The industry's only unified cloud-based management platform will incorporate our entire security portfolio across end users, mobile, servers and networks. We're already selling today with endpoint, mobile, web and server protection and soon encryption and network technologies. 3. Our security research, via Sophos Labs, is also unmatched. We've developed a state of the art big data analytics system so we can efficiently process the millions of emails, URLs, files, and other data points that come into the labs each day.

Key channel/partner investments made over the past year: New simplified partner program - New deal registration and incumbency renewal programs - Expanded our distribution partnerships: Ingram Micro, D&H Distributing and Lifeboat Distribution can now all sell any Sophos products -making it easier for partners to purchase - Increased channel account management field presence -now have in territory Channel Managers and Channel SEs for all regions - Launched a Sophos Partner Advisory Council to help us stay in tune with the needs of the channel community

Plans for attracting the next generation of solution providers: Sophos is attracting the next generation of Solution Providers by providing them with a complete security solution that is simple to use, manage, deploy and sell. As the threat landscape evolves and becomes more complex, Sophos products are being developed to work together, and provide partners and customers with a solution that will share intelligence, allowing us to stop even the most complex of threats in a simple way. Today, we already offer a Cloud solution that allows customers and partners to manage both their endpoints and their mobile devices from a single console, and that's just the beginning.

Advice to someone getting into the channel today: Value your channel relationships today, they will pay dividends tomorrow.

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