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Aviatrix’s Steve Mullaney: There’s No Going Back To ‘Cisco Model Of The 90s’

Gina Narcisi

“We’re very picky, actually, about who we work with. If somebody is tied to the old, on-prem world, and selling boxes, we say: ‘Good luck and hold your breath when the boat goes down, because you’re going to get pulled under,’” the company’s CEO Steve Mullaney tells CRN.

How much business would you like to see come from the channel?

All of it. My belief is: there’s no half measures with the channel. You don’t take the good deals direct, give [partners] the crappy deals. That doesn’t work. You have to give really good deals. And we have to bring deals to the channel. For example, Chewy is a large customer of ours and we just we just brought in a partner that doesn’t know anyone from Chewy. We brought them in, and they’re going to make about $80,000 on that deal. Why are we doing that? Because that’s what partners do. We could have been selfish and kept the $80,000, but if we bring them in, [the partner thinks] this went well and this company is pretty good, maybe we should bring [Aviatrix] into five more deals. Share to get more.

Every deal we looked at -- either it‘s a partner-initiated deal that they brought us into, or we need to fill in that line and bring them in. That’s the thing about us not having too many partners. We don’t have 1,000 partners; we probably have 20 partners in the U.S. and 20 in Europe. And that’s deliberate. Eventually, it will grow. But right now, I want to make all those partners very successful. And I want to bring them business. If I have 1,000 partners, [they] may get one deal a year that I bring them, if I’ve got 20 partners, maybe they get one a month. We have to treat them just like they’re one of our sales organization and educate them and bring them up to speed because it’s new, and the customers are learning, too. And it’s not just a fulfillment business, people just don’t come in and say: “I’ll take six Aviatrix software.” There’s still a lot of selling that has to be done. So by definition, we need a small number of really good partners that we treat like our own sales organization, we empower them, educate them, teach them how to do the services, and then eventually we’ll scale that, but that’s maybe not for another year or two.

 
Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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