CAFE TECH: Serving Up SonicWall, One Cup at a Time

Need a break from the grind? Grab your latte and join SonicWall for a half-hour of actionable technical insights.


Catching up with friends and colleagues over a cup of coffee is a time-honored tradition. But what if you could enjoy a coffee break with more than a thousand of your friends at once, keeping them up to date in a way that’s as entertaining and relevant as it is informative?

That’s the idea behind SonicWall’s CAFE TECH, a series of 30-minute videos designed to share useful technical information with a SonicWall spin.

A Robust Beginning

After I joined SonicWall in mid-2020, I’d often invite partners to join me for a cup of coffee. I’d update them on our latest developments and upcoming launches, and they’d share some of their thoughts and ideas.

While I enjoyed these casual chats immensely, I was soon doing 10-15 of these meetings a week — and I still wasn’t able to speak with everyone I needed to. So I had an idea: What if I could scale these catchup meetings in a way that would preserve the casual, intimate feel but would allow me to connect with all the partners in my region, at whatever time worked best for them?

The Café Is Open

The first invite for CAFE TECH was sent in January 2021. Shortly thereafter, I grabbed my trademark SonicWall mug, switched on my camera, and began what would become the longest-running series in SonicWall history.

True to the in-person meetings that were already working well, we kept sessions to 30 minutes, just long enough for coffee and a donut or croissant. And much like the opening of a real-life café, the original approach was hyper-local — sessions were limited to EMEA and were in English only.

The topics were fairly limited, too, generally designed to spread awareness and generate interest around launches. But as we looked at how we could provide more value for our partners, we began transitioning from a product-centric approach to one centered around use cases — and our viewership continued to grow.

A Café on Every Corner

Before long, we soon saw an opportunity to expand CAFE TECH’s footprint. Today, we offer CAFE TECH sessions in German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and English. Each region works off a single deck, ensuring that the core messaging remains consistent across the globe—but that doesn’t mean we’re taking a cookie-cutter approach. All regions add their local touch, with local language, needs and use cases.

A Coffee to Go

Paradoxically, CAFE TECH opened the door to more in-person interaction. In part due to interest generated by CAFE TECH, we connected with at least 140 different partners in the first six months.

I was recently invited to a roadshow in Italy, where they liked one of our CAFE TECH presentations so much they wanted me to host a live roundtable event based on it. And a CTO at a UK event recently requested help setting up an industry-specific CAFE TECH for healthcare.

There’s also been an uptick in partners running CAFE TECH with their customers. Their distribution team modifies the content for their end customers and then runs it later, often leveraging the same SonicWall regional SE who originally presented.

Finding the Perfect Blend

While the strength of SonicWall’s products and partner community contribute to CAFE TECH’s popularity, it’s bolstered by a philosophy of continuous improvement. Each week I challenge the team: Are we talking enough about use cases? Why does this slide matter? Is this context necessary?

In combination with listening to our partners, this has gradually transformed CAFE TECH from live-action white papers, to a unique offering that partners love and consider high-value. But as we enhanced and expanded our content, we soon realized these sessions might be valuable to end users, too.

The result is a CAFE TECH designed to appeal to not only our most experienced partners and customers, but also brand-new partners and users. We’ve eliminated most of the acronyms in favor of content that even someone who’s brand-new to SonicWall can understand.

To help facilitate this, we’ve moved from presenting on RingCentral to a new home on BrightTalk. We just passed 30,000 viewers on our EMEA BrightTalk channel, and these subscribers are helping grow CAFE TECH’s following: One recent session drew three times the expected number of registrants. Best of all, most stay for the whole session, and nearly a quarter rewatch sessions after the fact.

An increasing number of these attendees are end users. In the less than six months since we opened CAFE TECH up to the public, the percentage of attendees that are customers has grown to more than half. These customers cover the gamut from SMB to enterprise. Some attendees don’t have SonicWall anywhere in their entire ecosystem, and some are people we’ve never even spoken with.

All this success is having a measurable impact on SonicWall’s bottom line in the form of pipeline growth and very high successful close rates. Most importantly, because SonicWall is 100% channel-driven, this success means CAFE TECH is helping our partners to be more successful, too.

What’s Brewing for the Future

Going forward, our goal will be continuing to balance the needs of our longstanding partners, our new partners who have questions like “How can I take an order?”, and our end users, who want to know about value and how solutions make their lives easier.

In the new year, I’d like to have actual customers, partners and distributors discussing what they’ve learned and done, and the outcomes of that. Partners like to hear from other partners who’ve been successful, and customers want to see how to solve their problems.

In the meantime, we’ll be continuing to ensure CAFE TECH is the premier destination for keeping up with SonicWall developments, region-specific advice and industry happenings. And just like with a traditional café, we’re here to serve you — if there’s an idea we haven’t covered, but you’d like us to, you can email me directly and I’ll happily take that on. There’s room for everyone in CAFE TECH, and we welcome the opportunity to connect and collaborate with you.

Click here to explore recent CAFE TECH sessions!

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil) French German Spanish Italian

Osca St. Marthe
EMEA VP of Pre-Sales and Sales Engineering | SonicWall
Osca St Marthe is EMEA VP of Pre-Sales and Sales Engineering. He is spearheading SonicWall’s technology offering in the EMEA region, and is responsible for building and expanding a technical community of trusted partners and customers. Osca provides SonicWall customers and prospects in EMEA with expert advice, cutting-edge cybersecurity intelligence and solutions that focus on customer value and outcomes.

Osca has been leading high-performing teams for the last 15+ years in Sales Engineering, with a focus on customer outcomes and partner alignment across enterprises and SMBs. Before he came to SonicWall, Osca worked on cybersecurity for the cloud space at McAfee. Osca continues to champion the importance of women in cybersecurity, coach and mentor aspiring graduates in technology, and support a diverse and inclusive workforce.