SonicWall is partner focused.

A New Era of Partnering to Win


SonicWall Partners are at the core of our success. We’re continually improving products, services, support, and brand awareness.

After a couple of months now as President and CEO of SonicWall, I’ve had a chance to begin focusing on the core objectives that will continue to drive the company going forward. A primary focus of mine will be staying better aligned with you, our trusted partners. To that end, I’d like to offer the first of many updates on how we’re doing as a company, what to expect in the future, and how we’re tracking on goals we’ve set for ourselves.

Where We Are and Where We’re Going

SonicWall is in the midst of historic growth: We’ve experienced five consecutive quarters of double-digit growth, with both top- and bottom-line performance at or near historic highs.

At the core of our successes are the key contributions from our partner community. We’re seeing strong bid performance globally, with record levels of Deal Registration Create, Deal Registration Close, In-Quarter Create and In-Quarter Close. We’re unbelievably thankful for your incredible performance and continued dedication.

We continue to see growth in the SMB market, which aligns to our strategy of building on our leadership there. We’re also continuing our expansion into the enterprise market, with strong growth in 2022. Much of this increase is due to the tremendous success of our enterprise-class NSsp next-generation firewall. We’re now coming off our highest-performing quarter of all time for our NSsp firewalls.

The growth of NSsp and other offerings has been bolstered by the strength of SonicWall’s supply chain. In 2020, long before any wide-scale supply-chain disruption had occurred, SonicWall had begun modifying its products, revisiting internal processes and changing the way we work with suppliers.

This has allowed us to have product in stock when others didn’t. In partnership with you, last year alone we collectively drove a 33% increase in the number of new customers and a 45% increase in sales — all while fulfilling 95% of all orders within just three days.

Getting ahead of supply-chain disruption has also allowed us to realize supply chain and shipping cost advantages, which in turn has enabled us to continue to offer industry-leading TCO. While SonicWall has long focused on providing the best products at the best value, during this time of economic uncertainty, this has become an even greater differentiator.

Prior to 2020, SonicWall had already begun looking toward a future built around widespread remote work. Since then, we’ve been developing, refining and expanding our cloud product offerings, including our Cloud Edge Secure Access solution, our NSv virtual firewall and more. And our focus in this area is paying off, with SonicWall’s cloud evolution achieving 36% growth in 2022.

The drivers of SonicWall’s long-term plan include maintaining our sizeable SMB base, steadfast growth in the enterprise space, and continued expansion into next-generation cloud security. And these strategies will be underpinned by ongoing innovation as we continue to build on our Boundless Cybersecurity architecture.

How We’re Continually Improving Customer and Partner Support

During this time, we’ll continue to focus on growing our MSSP program. In early 2023, we’ll introduce an updated MSSP portal, which will provide greater value for our MSSP partners.  We’re also increasing our MSSP product offerings: stay tuned as we lean even further into that area and ensure that every product is aligned to our MSSPs.

Over the past couple years, you’ve emphasized the importance of customer and technical support. We’ve already begun making strides toward greater alignment in this area, both through our web support presence and through our one-on-one support.

We’ve continued to grow and refine our knowledgebase and self-service options. As of this writing, our self-service score is 19-1. In other words, for every 19 inquiries, only one turns into a phone call — the other 18 are sufficiently addressed via the knowledgebase and other online tools. (For context, 13-1 is viewed as best in class.)

As you know, this is a journey and not a destination, and we’ll continue to do our best here. In fact, some of our efforts to improve the user experience for web-based support are already bearing fruit. In August, the Association of Support Professionals (ASP) awarded SonicWall a special award for Best Search on a Support Website, the first time such an award had ever been given.

ASP's annual Best Support Website, awarded to SonicWall in 2022 for our work with our partners.

But because not all support tasks can be handled through online inquiry, we’ve also been investing heavily in our support call center. We aren’t just focused on adding more support resources, however — we’re also focused on supporting more partners and customers, which is key as we grow and expand. Among our support initiatives is the addition of local language support wherever possible, greatly increasing the breadth of our support program.

How We’re Building Brand Awareness

Not all support is after the sale, however — we’re aware that we can make your jobs easier by ensuring end users recognize SonicWall and our partners as thought leaders in the cybersecurity space. In July, we released the mid-year update to our 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. This report continues to set records, not only in number of downloads, but also in terms of media coverage and mentions in major articles and news stories.

The Threat Report also serves as a vehicle to highlight SonicWall’s threat performance, particularly our patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI™). Through the end of Q3 2022, this technology had discovered 373,756 new malware variants — a 22% year-to-date increase, and an average of 1,374 new variants per day.

These capabilities have also been validated by third-party testing — not just once, but seven times in a row. For the past seven consecutive quarters, ICSA Labs has evaluated a SonicWall NSa 3600 equipped with Capture ATP with RTDMI. And in every test cycle, the solution identified 100% of new and little-known threats, some only hours old.

SonicWall is currently the only participating vendor to achieve seven straight 100% threat detection scores, and we’ve now had seven consecutive quarters with the highest overall score among all participants.

Our Partners Are at the Core

But no matter how strong our portfolio is, at SonicWall we know we’re only as strong as our partner community. That’s why we’re working toward increased partner communication and collaboration on every front.

Gen 7 have seen an eight- to nine-times improvement in their top line.

We’ll continue to focus on expanding our technical tracks, as well as our SonicWall University offerings, which have been incredibly successful. We’ve found that partners who take just three hours of SonicWall U training on topics such as Gen 7 have seen an eight- to nine-times improvement in their top line.

But for those who may not have a chance to complete a full training module right away, we’re introducing a new series of 15-minute videos that will serve as a supplement to our SonicWall U training. These videos will provide a bite-sized look at a particular topic and can be shared across your team and with customers. In our GTM revamp of the SonicWall sales team four years ago, we moved to weekly mandatory training for the entire team — something even I continue to do — every week.

With the COVID-19 pandemic easing a bit in many places, we’ll be ramping up our in-person training and will continue reintroducing our regional roadshows. Our Sales Enablement team members have begun meeting partners and customers in person where appropriate, as well.

But as our Sales Enablement team hits the road, we recognize they may be unavailable while they’re in transit or with customers. To maintain a Sales Enablement presence that’s consistently available, we’ve begun investing in virtual SES. These team members are equipped with a variety of tools and will be available during working hours in case you need a quick response.

We’re also in the process of revamping our SonicWall Secure First Partner Program. We’ll be spending a considerable amount of time, effort and investment into improving this program from a partner standpoint, to offer high-quality training and to reward the commitment partners are making in SonicWall.

Like so many of our other initiatives, this one is built around acknowledging the work that our partners put in and continuing to learn how we can better align and better understand your needs and pain points.

Going forward, my key priority is ensuring we’re listening across the company to our partners — getting your input and soliciting your opinion to shape our initiatives and offerings, as opposed to just providing updates. We’ve always strived to be a partner-centric company, but we want to continue to grow in how we can better support and enable our partners across every function and team.

Robert (Bob) VanKirk on Twitter
Robert (Bob) VanKirk
President and CEO | Sonicwall
SonicWall’s President and Chief Executive Officer is Bob VanKirk. Under his guidance, SonicWall delivers more security-rich, cost-effective, partner-centric and user-friendly products and services than ever before. His articles bring together his vast knowledge of the cybersecurity marketplace and technology. In addition, he draws on his expertise in sales effectiveness and efficiency, partner strategies and marketing. His work helped deliver year-over-year growth for SonicWall, including record sales for FY2022. Before joining SonicWall, Bob was the Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing with Silent Circle and served as SVP of American Sales and Service at Entrust. Bob received a B.A. from Davidson College and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University in Business and Policy.