A10 Networks shows the channel love under a new CEO.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

October 8, 2020

3 Min Read
Letters form "growth" on an upward curve
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A10 Networks has revealed “a massive shift in the importance of the channel” to accompany a new aggressive growth strategy.

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A10 Networks’ Dhrupad Trivedi

The new mindset is driven by CEO Dhrupad Trivedi, according to A10’s EMEA channel sales leader, Chris Martin.

Since Trivedi replaced A10 founder Lee Chen as CEO last November, the vendor has refocused on sales and the channel.

“Previously we were growing organically. We were about existing accounts and renewals. If we look at the customers we won, it was based on reputation,” said Martin. “The new leadership has changed that mindset. Our new CEO is a completely different machine.”

As part of these aggressive growth plans, there is now an emphasis on sales, marketing and the channel.

“We have a new partner program,” said Martin. “We have a new portal, and we have new logos, new colours, new material — everything you’d expect to see from a company that’s going out to market with a channel.”

With this new approach comes new customers. Alongside Uber, A10 has signed up European food delivery service takeaway.com. Demand was spiking for takeout food during lockdown, which was placing strain on the company’s network. “That’s a customer we would never really have thought of before. That opens up a whole different market out there,” said Martin.

Demands on Distribution

A10 also is on a mission to get its partners to use deal registration, which not enough are doing.

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A10 Networks’ Chris Martin

“We need to change that mindset,” said Martin. “A few months down the line we could have some problems, especially because we are growing massively.”

However, when it comes to partner recruitment, A10 is adopting a “quality over quantity” approach.

“When we look at new partners, it is to understand which vertical market they play in; where they’re offering strength to their customers. We’ll make sure we have lots of meetings; we’ll have detailed business plans. We set out KPIs to ensure everyone is clear on what needs to be achieved,” said Martin.

Distribution now plays a much more central role, too. As such, A10 has switched from a single distributor per country or region, to dual distributors.

“I believe that partners need a choice,” said Martin.

A10 is also asking “a lot more from distribution,” including providing “quality partners.” Alongside that, the vendor has KPIs for distribution around recruiting partners, net-new revenue and certification.

Elsewhere, Martin revealed a new program called “Path to Platinum.” This aims to enable bronze and dold partners to achieve the highest-level accreditation in the Affinity partner program. By invitation-only, Martin has removed a revenue target, but included a 20% growth plan.

“If there is a partner that we are interested in developing a relationship with, we’ll say, ‘Let’s talk.’ We talk about the level of discount we can offer, the support and how to build that relationship.”

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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