Channel Chief: Marcelo Palazzo, Hillstone Networks

Channel Chief: Marcelo Palazzo, Hillstone Networks

Marcelo Palazzo, Hillstone Networks Global Channel Sales Director, tells us how Hillstone Networks supports its channel partners in the Latin America market.

What does your position entail?

My position is Global Channel Sales Director. This includes commercial enablement of the company with all channels globally. The goal is to make sure that the channels we choose are ideally suited to develop the brand in the markets we focus on and have the tools to deliver the products and services that are needed by Hillstone Networks clients.

It is part of my role, too, to act as team leadership, as I have set ambitious sales targets, managed deployment strategies and develop go-to-market plans to take advantage of all revenue opportunities. I have been contributing to positioning Hillstone brand awareness in less than three years as a leader in Gartner Peer Insight, as well as positioning us as a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for NGFW (Next-Generation Firewall).

Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?

We look for key partners with the business footprint that ensures the brand’s entry into the main resellers in each of the regions that are the focus for us today. The secret is to get partners that allow rapid capitalization in the business.

It is also very important to have good incentive programs and technical training so that the partners are better prepared to offer products and services. We support them, also, with marketing and sales actions.

What is your management philosophy?

It is very important to manage work tasks and professional teams in this type of job position and more so in technology companies where dynamism and change are constant. Some of the management and philosophy strategies I focus on is to build an inclusive relationship with Hillstone’s channel partners and distributors. The goal is to have a collaborative environment, understanding their needs and objectives to create a strategy that is beneficial for them and therefore for the company.

It is also key to ensure that these strategies are always aligned with those of the company to achieve organizational collaboration with all related departments and management levels. To achieve this teamwork environment, it is necessary to have the right resources within the company and within the partners.

Do you work differently with channel partners in Latin America compared to other regions?

The approach to working with channel partners may vary depending on regional differences, including cultural, economic and regulatory factors of the country environment. However, while this is always considered, the strategy of the company and the channel must always be followed to achieve the intended objectives.

How do your partners deliver Hillstone solutions to end-users?

As cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses today, solution delivery is a critical aspect of ensuring the protection of sensitive information and maintaining secure access controls.

To know how to offer to clients Hillstone different services and products, it is necessary that every channel partner follows a methodology built in processes.

This includes steps such as:

  • Assessment – A business and technical stage of the process. Several times the result of the assessment is a surprise for the customer CIO or CISO, as one of the key resources of Hillstone solutions is the use of AI to discover, using behavioral analysis, malicious breaches at corporate systems.
  • Design customized solutions – Every customer is different and should be understood like that. Hillstone solutions are going to be integrated in a digital environment that sometimes is very complex. The partner consultant services can help the customer to extract the maximum value of Hillstone technology.
  • Implementation and integration – If the two previous steps are achieved, this step will happen in a smooth way. One of the key values of Hillstone offerings is the interoperability with several protocols and platforms – this helps the implementation and integration processes to be based in several templates that can accelerate the process.

How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?

For the partners to be able to succeed in selling to end-consumers, it is essential we provide them with at least three key points:

  • Necessary support
  • Constant training with permanent training
  • Determining KPIs that ensure the fulfillment of the goals in the time and manner established in the contract.

These objectives and support from our side will be critical for the channels to flourish in their commercial approach of the market.

What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?

The trend today is for channels to add value and solve the customer challenges in a 360º approach with strategies that always need to be stronger than the direct competitors of the partner. To be a key partner for the customer the channel must be engaged in a constant learning process – the digital criminals are always innovating strategies and technologies. Without the focus on the capacitation of its professionals, the channel partner will sell commodities, not high-end solutions that really protect the customer business processes.

Additionally, cloud security solutions have been a major adoption in the last two years with services such as cloud services access, data protection and cloud application security.

Which regions do you see offering the most opportunities for your company?

LATAM is key for us as a business. On the other hand, as part of the Global Development team we are launching strategies to expand our market share in Southeast Asia. The same is true regarding European emerging countries with digital economies that are advancing fast but still are not designed and protected as it would be necessary to be. Usually, first the digital infrastructure is built and only afterwards, when this same digital infrastructure becomes an extended attack surface, businesses leaders start to really consider building an environment prepared to face all kinds of breaches and data leaks.

Hillstone Solutions is recognized by its excellence – we have a senior R&D team and include AI and ML resources in our offerings – and by the great cost/benefit offered to the customers. This profile helps the channel partners to do business and to engage the customer in long-term relationships.

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