Symantec Channel Chief: Simplicity, Consistency Goals
John Eldh has been at the helm of Symantec’s Channel Sales for the Americas for just less than two months, but in that short time he’s gotten an earful of advice from Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) partners.
“They (Symantec’s channel partners) want greater simplicity in doing business,” he said. “They also want us to ensure consistency, so our messaging is and will continue to be on that theme of consistency and how Symantec can help partners find new ways to differentiate themselves in the marketplace — ultimately helping them find more ways to drive sales and make more margin.”
That’s not too lofty a goal, given the fact Eldh picks up where former channel chief Randy Cochran left off — in 2008 he served as a calming voice to Symantec’s partners who were put out by comments Enrique Salem, then COO, made about the direct sales model. Then-channel chief Julie Parrish resigned and joined NetApp.
Symantec’s relationship with its channel partners since then has been steadily improving, thanks in large part to Cochran’s efforts to right the ship. In March 2012 it was announced Cochran was leaving Symantec to pursue other opportunities, and Eldh considers it his duty to continue what Cochran began.
“In my first 30 days or so I’ve spent a lot of time in the field engaging with partners to get clarity about our relationship — what they’re looking for and as much so from me as the leader of the Americas Channel,” he said. “It’s clear my role will be to be the advocate for the channel and be that bridge between channel community and Symantec. With the work Randy did we have strong meaningful relationships with partners, and as we look to the future, we want those relationships to continue to be strong. And that’s why I use the word ‘advocate’ to describe my role — we have ambitious growth goals and key to achieving those goals will be our partner community and maximizing those relationships.”
Eldh most recently was VP of sales for Symantec.cloud, the on-demand version of Symantec’s most popular security offerings and the components of which touch the channel, giving Eldh some insight into the machinations of the indirect sales model. And as the role of the traditional value-added reseller change thanks to new technologies and the march of progress, he hopes such insight will benefit Symantec and its partners both.
“I think we are in a period of a lot of change — the classic LAR/VAR (large-account reseller/value-added reseller) partners are looking for ways to deliver value themselves, and that [value] will be in services,” Eldh said. “The No. 1 demonstration of that for us was our move to a more partner-led services model to drive services opportunity with us. Now we are following up by trying to help partners take better advantage of cloud and SaaS services. And let’s not forget the whole MSP phenomenon, and we are working to ensure we are at the heart of our partners’ MSP plans.”
Nothing new, but still lofty goals. Eldh is riding the goodwill forged by Cochran, and so far he’s at least saying the right things. If he’s following the Cochran blueprint, chances are he’ll do the right things as well.