CRN Exclusive: Mobile Security Vendor Zimperium's New CRO Makes Channel Business A Priority


New Zimperium Chief Revenue Officer Eric Grotefeld plans to boost channel headcount across the globe and increase the company's engagement in partner marketing activities.

Grotefeld wants to help take the Dallas-based mobile security vendor from doing half of its business through the channel in 2016 to carrying out 80 percent of its business through partners within a couple of years. Under his leadership, Zimperium will reward direct and channel sales equally to maximize synergy between the two teams and drive support for its channel organization.

"We see being a heavily channel-oriented company as fundamental to the success of our whole business," Grotefeld told CRN exclusively. "We can bring more value to our customers together rather than alone."

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Zimperium today works primarily with global telecom service providers and VARs such as CDW in North America, Grotefeld said. In addition to strengthening those routes to market, Grotefeld said Zimperium wants to boost its involvement with the systems integrator channel and strengthen its performance and empowerment platform for partners.

Grotefeld started at Zimperium in mid-January, and he said the company should expand its missionary zeal in the market with partners to ensure the real and persistent threat about mobile devices is properly understood. The company needs to combat the ignorant yet pervasive belief that mobile is inherently more secure than other types of end computing devices, he said.

"You have a massive extension of the attack surface. And none of it was secure," Grotefeld said. "Companies and corporations are finally waking up to the persistent risk they have on this surface."

Grotefeld's most recent executive role was as a senior vice president at CA Technologies, where he spent two and a half years leading the strategic DevOps business unit globally. Most of Grotefeld's channel work to date has been with systems integrators due to his experience in the middleware space as well as building software.

Zimperium's focus on mobile security makes the company very topical and relevant, said Grotefeld, who said he hasn't been this passionate about an application of technology to the market in a long time.

"It was always hard to explain what middleware was to my mother," Grotefeld said.

Zimperium's product portfolio lends itself well to channel partners, who Grotefeld said span a multitude of verticals and geographies. Grotefeld said the channel is vital for early stage companies looking for the velocity needed to reach breakout momentum.

"Behind the tip of the spear, you need a good tailwind," Grotefeld said.

3Eye Technologies began working with Zimperium a year ago, and President and CEO Conor Macfarlane has been impressed by the effort the company has made during that time to building out channel collateral, training, deal registration, marketing and margins for partners.

And Grotefeld's hiring only further demonstrates the company's commitment to bringing in top talent with a proven track record of supporting the channel, according to Macfarlane.

"We're excited to see them add competent, capable people," Macfarlane told CRN. "We see the groundswell of threats at the mobile level, and really like what Zimperium has to offer."

Macfarlane said he would like to see Grotefeld focus on awareness-building inside the channel around mobile security as a growing concern. He would also like to see Zimperium work more with partners to shine a light on the mobile security threats that exist today and how they'll continue to grow and impact the end user's business.

"There's a major lack of awareness," Macfarlane said.