Absolute confidence born on back of success

Personal Innovation - Sales Excellence Daniel Nyssen, Sophos

For the winner of sales excellence honours at this year’s ARN IT Industry Awards – Daniel Nyssen of Sophos – absolute confidence in the quality of the product is instrumental to his performance.

“From a sales perspective, if the product is going well, then that’s half the job done and to get good feedback from partners for our product gives me a lot of confidence – from there I know I can provide any necessary support whether in terms of technical or sales training or company structure to get the partner up and running,” Nyssen said. “The Sophos product is going well and word of mouth has helped that greatly.”

Sophos is a multinational vendor of Web security solutions. It maintains offices in the UK, US, Canada, A/NZ, mainland Europe, mainland Asia and Japan. According to Nyssen, it has been a good year for the vendor on a global scale.

“The company is growing in a number of areas. It’s great to see success in the US and Europe, and of course that filters through to Australia,” he said. “My area is southern channel, which includes WA, SA, Victoria and Tasmania, and I’m focused on a large range of partners – from small business IT resellers up to the larger partners within Victoria.”

Nyssen has been with Sophos in Melbourne for almost three years now as its channel development manager. Prior to that, he worked the channel for the vendor in the UK for two years before deciding with his wife to return to his home town.

There are some differences between working the UK and Australian channels, but Nyssen said the transition has been a comfortable one.

“Our channel here is younger than that of the UK, but our partners are as well trained and have access to all the same materials as any other partner worldwide,” he said. “Even though we have a younger channel in terms of years working with Sophos, they are certainly as advanced in their abilities to sell, maintain and support their customers.”

Nyssen’s focus has been firmly on building relationships with channel partners and bringing in fresh blood.

“We work directly with our channel partners and don’t use distribution, so it’s been key to cement some good relationships with partners and to educate those partners on our products, training and look for other ways to differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” he said.

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Nyssen claimed a major personal coup for him over the past two years has been Sophos’ success in moving into the mid-tier space. “I think we’re gaining ground in our effort to break into the mid-tier space. One of my main roles in the channel is to put some focus into mid-tier partners. We’ve got national partners across Australia, but within each area there are some large resellers who have started to acknowledge us and start to pick up Sophos as a product.

“Of course, as well as picking up the product you have to develop them as a partner as well, and we’ve seen some great growth in that area.”

A significant advantage that Nyssen believes Sophos has once it has recruited a new partner is the depth of support it offers.

“Once they have been recruited we have a fantastic program that trains the resellers in all aspects of the product from pre-sales to post-sales installation and support. This allows them to understand a business’ needs and to provide them with the product set which best suits these requirements,” he said.

Over the next year, Nyssen plans to continue strategies and channel initiatives already in place, while concentrating on making new product launches successful.

“From here, the plan is to first of all focus on getting new technologies into the market. We’ve always got new products coming out, and of the new products we have out there at the moment there’s a large range from endpoint security to email security and Web security,” he said.

“We’re going to be adopting a two-pronged approach which involves firstly educating our existing partners on these new products and getting them up to speed with the offerings that we have, and then further to that is continuing to grow the business itself. There’s a fine balance between growing quickly and maintaining existing partners and having enough time to build new partners as well, so finding and maintaining that balance is certainly the focus.”

And winning the award next year? Nyssen definitely thinks he’s in with a shot. “I absolutely believe I have what is required to be considered again in this category. I pride myself on the relationships I have developed with my partners, the support I provide them and the training I deliver. This is reflected in the success I have had and I will keep on working to better this at all times.”