In the weeks before he signed the dotted line with Lacework, Graham Pearson was asked one key question: what was his ideal company?
The former Okta and AlienVault leader was no stranger to overseeing a global vendor's Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) operation. However, this would be a chance to remake it in his image.
"I was extremely comfortable in my previous role at AlienVault [now acquired by AT&T]," he told ARN and Reseller News. "I was looking after the global security team for partners, including our managed security services partners across North America, Europe, EMEA [the Middle East and Africa] and Asia Pacific.
"But then [Lacework president] Andy Byron, reached out to me and said we have something really exciting for you."
Although the cloud security vendor already "resonated" with Pearson, it was Byron's next words that sealed the deal for him.
"He said: 'build Lacework as if it was your ideal company and it is going to be your last organisation. How would you want to be remembered?'"
"I want to build that amazing company with the most talented people – the one that everyone wants to come and work for."
So far, in the six months since launching Lacework in A/NZ, Pearson has already hired a 23-person team of sales and development managers, area directors, field marketing, partner marketing and sales engineers.
"We've already hit the ground running. We've picked some of the most talented leaders in this field to build this company," he added.
From a channel perspective, Pearson is aiming to replicate Lacework's global 100 per cent channel model, with A/NZ now sitting at around 60 per cent.
The vendor now counts seven partners among its regional channel: Tracer Cloud, Katana1, Baidam Solutions, Control Group, ES2, Consegna and Cloud Comrade. It is now in talks to sign up another three.
"We probably want to leave it there then because what we're looking for is a true relationship," Pearson said. "We're looking for someone who is trained on our products and can go out and grow their own lead generations and their own pre-sales."
"We're super excited about all of them," he added. "They've all gone through our program and our training course. We've done account mapping with them to match our respective customer profiles and are working together to promote and eventually sell the product."
Shortly after joining Lacework, the vendor globally rolled out a new partner program, unveiling a set of tiers – labelled simply One, Two and Three – for the first time.
The program introduced a refreshed partner portal and a new deal registration system, as well as an increase in marketing development funds (MDF), something which is critical for the vendor, according to Pearson.
"We're especially focused on our MDF," he said "We want to go to market together. This is not just a partner program where you get 20 per cent off and then go do your own thing – and then clash with everyone else in the market. This is something where we do everything together. We help each other to build both of our businesses."
Speaking about the decision to introduce tiers, Pearson added: "Everyone loves a competition. As you bring on a partner, the partner has 100 per cent of their business already happening, then we come and get some of that 100 per cent. We're never going to come in and say we're going to do 50 per cent straight away.
"There's a time for dipping your toe in the water, understanding you can float and then finding you can swim.
"Not everyone wants to be the same at the beginning. At the end, ideally, we want to be 50 per cent of your business but we know that takes time and trust. The partners have to believe in us as we have to do in them."
As well as growing its presence in A/NZ, Lacework has already set its sights on markets across Asia Pacific. Although Pearson could not reveal too many details, he said the company is just waiting for the green light to officially launch in Southeast Asia with a head office likely to be in Singapore.
"Something I would love to achieve in A/NZ is the same growth as we have experienced in North America: triple growth quarter on quarter every year," he added.
"That is where I'm heading as well, not only in terms of customer acquisition but also in terms of headcount. Expanding into new territories and regions is at the forefront of my mind now and will be for the next year."