Sonya Mazzaferro, who became Veeam Canada channel chief last year, discusses the changes that are ongoing at Veeam and what Canadian partners can expect to see going forward.
Last April, Sonya Mazzaferro, a long time Cisco and Xerox veteran in channel-focused roles, joined Veeam as their Canadian channel chief. Mazzaferro joined the company at a time when its Canadian channel strategy and operations are undergoing a significant amount of change. Mazzaferro talked with ChannelBuzz about what she brings to the role, and where Veeam’s channel strategy is headed in Canada
Mazzaferro, like Veeam’s Country Manager Damian Serjeant – who held the Veeam Canada channel job himself between July 2017 and December 2018 – both came to Veeam from Cisco.
“Damian and I met at Cisco, and he was a one-time mentor to me, who was influential in my decision to come over to Veeam,” Mazzaferro said. “He was on their data centre team at the time and he and I worked together.”
Before taking the Veeam job in April 2021, Mazzaferro had spent the previous ten years at Cisco Canada.
“I led the midmarket sales team in Canada, and also led the virtual partner organization for the Americas,” Mazzaferro pointed out. “Several things attracted me to Veeam. As alliance partners we had worked together for many years. There is also a monumental energy here. I also have considerable strength building high performance teams, and that has been a major focus at Veeam since I arrived in 2021 and in the first month of 2022.”
Mazzaferro said that these high-performance teams are critical because Veeam is a matrixed environment.
“We have many different organizations I need to work with,” she indicated. “These include the Canadian team, the U.S. channel team under Kevin Rooney, Veeam’s VP, Americas Channel Sales, America’s Alliances, and the corporate reseller organization. In working with many different organizations, it’s important to ensure that everyone is going in the same direction, whereas they often go in different directions. Having come from a 20-year career in the channel, one of my initial focuses was reaching across in this way. It enables us to bring in passionate people who are self starters and want to be part of a team environment.”
In 2021, Veeam embarked on a more aggressive channel strategy. They encouraged partners to sell more subscriptions with a new incent which makes subscription renewals more attractive by treating them as new licenses for comp purposes. They also added more points to their deal registration program. Those policies continue to guide Veeam in Canada as well.
“Any change of direction will be done as part of Kevin Rooney’s North American organization,” Mazzaferro said.
One significant Canada-focused change that is underway is Canadianizing Veeam’s Canada-based Inside Sales Team.
“In late 2021, we embarked on a journey to add 25 people in-country around a true country model,” Mazzaferro indicated. “Damian announced an initiative to bring the Inside Sales Team to Canada. where we brought in the entire sales organization into Canada. The existing U.S.-based Inside Sales Team was redeployed to new roles in the US. We are presently half-way through hiring our Canadian workforce. Because in Canada we are a field office, meaning that we don’t actually have a physical office, we can hire people who are based anywhere across the country, so we can get critical mass in regions where we didn’t have it before.”
Mazzaferro had noted that the Canadian channel has adjusted very well to the 2021 changes, which include not only the new emphasis on subcriptions with their much smaller deal sizes, but the addition of Dev/Ops and Kubernetes-focused Kasten to the portfolio.
“The channel had adapted really well,” she said. “We had a really strong year in 2021, with double digit growth across the business. We have seen incredible growth in Canada overall, which has been moving even faster than we had anticipated.”
A month ago, Veeam announced the appointment of a new CEO, Anand Eswaran, who actually began at Veeam a week ago today. He replaces Bill Largent, who remains at Veeam as Chairman of the Board.
“Anand is a big supporter of our partner ecosystem, and there will be consistency in our 100% channel approach for 2022,” Mazzaferro said. “We see 2022 as a year of momentum for us.”