The successful transition of Gigamon from a partner-friendly vendor to a channel-first company has led to robust partner growth. In the first year alone, Gigamon’s channel business grew more than 35%. In addition to the increased revenue, Gigamon, a provider of network visibility and analytics on all information-in-motion, is also reporting growth of channel-initiated business and deeper ecosystem alignment.
Larissa Crandall, who was recently promoted to Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Alliances, was credited with much of the enhanced partner program’s success. Crandall “played an integral role in providing our partner ecosystem with the solutions they need, including creative demand generation initiatives and financing options,” said Doug Woodley, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales at Gigamon.
In her new role, Crandall will be responsible for driving the global channel strategy and ensuring that the company’s channel-first approach is executed with tight collaboration among the various GTM and corporate teams.
In a conversation with CMR, Crandall said that Gigamon was in the right place at the right time as COVID-19 emerged. Gigamon solutions are deemed “mission critical” right now for many companies eager to secure their infrastructure, she said. Businesses “are really paying attention to what is going on with their infrastructure right now. Security, visibility. They need analytics around what they have, because look, we’re all at home. They need to protect their organization.”
When that increased opportunity knocked, Gigamon was fully prepared to help its partners meet the urgent needs of their customers having already started the process to build a more robust channel team. For example, the company had increased its channel resources 50%, beefing up its team of channel account managers, channel marketing staff, and other groups.
The company had launched a Gigamon Playbook for the channel and was building creative demand generation programs. In addition, Crandall was already championing focused training and enablement initiatives.
Nonetheless, when the pandemic emerged this year, “We had to pivot very quickly,” said Crandall. “I’m proud of the marketing team here because they came out with a clear message that wasn’t just around work from home. It was around the new tomorrow, and what the market looks like. We’re coming out with new messaging that’s around ROI and TCO.”
The more immediate need for partners, said Crandall, was training. Training is available on the Gigamon portal, but Crandall and her team made an extra effort to personally guide partners to the information. “I’m not a fan as a leader in saying, ‘Here’s a link, go find it’. I want to show them, tell them and talk about it.” Gigamon’s channel staff and sales teams were instructed on where content could be found and trained on how provide training sessions. “The human connection is very important right now,” said Crandall.
The channel team has implemented new tactics to engage and inform partners. For example, a series of short (five minutes) ‘Ask The Expert’ videos has been popular. The videos typically feature top sellers talking about how to solve a customer pain point, closing a deal, length of sales cycle, etc. When Crandall met with CMR, 12 videos had been produced and more were in the works. “We’ve got a great reception to them,” she said. “I think it was fun for some of our partners to see our top sellers and really learn from them. Everybody wants to know what’s working.”
The strategy is doing its job. “We’ve had a record number of certifications,” reported Crandall, and will continue to remain “hyper-focused” on training enablement.
Gigamon is also working on developing partnerships with other vendors, as well as having a better understanding of the relationships its partners have with other technology companies. Gigamon has increased its resources to explore “better-together” opportunities with other technology companies, especially since more of them “are knocking on our door,” said Crandall.
In the meantime, Crandall remains vigilant in listening to Gigamon’s partners and being “empathetic to what’s going on in organizations, the ecosystem, and our partner community.” The company has some “very vocal” partners, said Crandall, and an engaged partner advisor council that wants to be included in the overall strategy. Paying attention to them she added, “is how you stay relevant.”