FireMon’s new CRO lays out plans to accelerate channel-centric company’s growth

FireMon  is one of those companies that have benefited material from the shift to Work From Home, and Brian Keets plans to leverage that growth further in the quarters ahead.

Brian Keets, FireMon’s CRO

Security intelligence platform provider FireMon recently named Brian Keets as their new Chief Revenue Officer. Keets comes to FireMon following a stint as CRO at application software vendor ETQ, following a much longer tenure at midmarket ERP vendor Epicor. He joins FireMon at a time when the company sees itself at an inflection point and is looking to drive to the next level, and talked with ChannelBuzz about his plans to bring that about.

“While we have shown strong growth, we have not yet even come close to the true opportunity of what this company is,” Keets said. “We have increased our stack in terms of automation and cloud, and into cloud operations and DevOps. Charles Gold, our CMO, has done a lot of good work in the last few months since coming to FireMon in remessaging our operations to make sure we aren’t seen as being in a bucket where we only work with legacy companies. So the pendulum has swung, but the sky’s still the limit as far as execution. We want to continue to grow at a 30-50% year-over-year growth rate, to take more share in the US, and make more investment in EMEA and APAC.”

FireMon began – as might be surmised by the name – as a firewall configuration and workflow solution but has since broadened out into a fuller platform play involving network security automation, compliance and risk mitigation. Keets said that FireMon still needs to do a better job with their install base. broadening their solution sets there beyond firewall management.

“We need to make sure that all 1700 of our customers have paths forward beyond what they originally bought us for,” he stated. “We need to get our sales team to think wider. Sometimes we aren’t viewed as that critical piece and we should be. It’s up to us to make sure that our customers and our prospects see that. Some have already migrated beyond FireMon Security Manager, and a lot of our pipeline is just that. But we used to rely on customers to figure out the next logical step they should take with FireMon, as opposed to being proactive. Now we programmatically ensure that customers can see that journey.”

Keets emphasized that FireMon’s expansion of its platform beyond the firewall has been done in a seamless way that gives them a competitive advantage.

“If you look at the IT stack and DevOps and CloudOps, those different departments don’t always get along,” he said. They don’t trust and respect each other. While I think that’s changing as things converge, FireMon is right now one of the only solutions in our space that can bring that single pane of glass all in one area. Having that single pane of glass for all these separate areas of IT will be critical, especially as customers move from using us for a single use case to a broader range of enterprise solutions.”

Keets said that understanding customer experience is something else that has become a major advantage for them.

“Customer experience has become a big area of strength for us. We do have a good understanding of where our white space is, and understanding that in a  programmatic way. Andrew Warren [who came to FireMon as head of Global Channel Sales in January] is doing a phenomenal job of improving those capabilities, in terms of how we market to our channel. Six months ago, we weren’t great at it, but we have improved those relationships. The result is that  partners are now much more educated as to where we fit in security stack. That has improved lead generation, by understanding how our products can sell into any industry and any size.”

“We’ve also put a lot of rigour on working with customers to calculate ROI, to demonstrate provable stats around cost savings and efficiency gains,” said CMO Charles Gold. “That gets away from price. It’s a much better place for us to be.”

FireMon posted a 300% growth in Q2 over the prior quarter, and Keets acknowledged that while customer transitions to a Work From Home market certainly goosed those numbers, the quarter would have been an extremely strong one regardless.

“I don’t expect 300% quarter over quarter for perpetuity, but Q2 was a really good quarter with some nice-sized transactions,” he said. “There’s a lot of pipeline right now, and a lot of that is pandemic-related, because it takes time with enterprise sales. But there has also been pent up demand in the last couple of quarters, and in the second half of the year we will see similar pipeline health, as we continue to help businesses with Work From Home scenarios. A lot of the work done in the first half the year will pay some nice dividends.”

Charles Gold, FireMon’s CMO

“One part of the pandemic market will be extremely durable, and that is the acceleration of the move to the cloud,” Gold said. “That move to automation because of the realization that things don’t scale in the face of rapid change insulates us to some measure.”

Finally, Keets emphasized that FireMon is now better prepared to leverage the channel than its competitors.

“The amount of opportunity we have within the channel is quite frankly endless,” he said. “We are the only NSPM that is 100% channel and we will continue to be that way. We want to have a clear understanding of how we can connect into their overall solution set and be a partner to them, not just a vendor. The comfort that the channel has with us is high because they know our dedication to the channel The Warren hiring was a clear indication of what the channel means to FireMon.

“We are starting to see more channel relationships through sourcing deals, and we want to see more of it faster,” Keets added.

“You will also see us do a lot more in integrations,” Gold indicated. “We have the most flexible API integration in the market now.  That’s only going to get better and better this fall. We will let them integrate how they want to integrate. That’s  important for partners who want to go to market with a set of solutions that integrate well together.”

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