What was your first job:

My first job ever was a as Flambe waiter at a restaurant, I’m actually a qualified chef and used to cook right at the table. The two dishes I loved to cook were steak Diane flamed in brandy and Crepe Suzette flamed in Cointreau. However, my first job in IT was at Clarity Distribution working to create a channel and bringing new vendors and technology to market. Some of the products that I worked on were Tadpole Technology (Solaris on a laptop), Alteon for Gigabit Ethernet, Watchguard Firewall, and Tivoli IT Director. I spent over 4 years in distribution and would wholeheartedly recommend it as a great place to start a career in IT.

How did you get into Channel sales:

I had gained interest in the channel from my time working at Clarity Distribution. I found the channel to be such an immersive and exciting place to be a part of. I enjoyed the variety and challenges of working within and alongside so many different business models, particularly the ability to work with both start-ups and established businesses.

Best day on the job ever:

I have to say my first day with Netwrix was genuinely a brilliant day. I was re-united with my former colleagues from Quest software, a place where I learned so much and really grew as a manager with some of the best mentors that I have had in the industry. I think most of us recognise as we became established in our careers that when we are presented with an opportunity to sell world class software with world class people it’s just something that we have to do. It was the perfect situation for me.

Biggest thing that’s changed in the industry since you started:

Without a doubt, Cloud and the role that cybersecurity plays within it. When you look back a few years ago at people’s scepticism and reticence, and how that has changed so quickly, it has created a whole new layer to how businesses operate.

Best ever deal:

I think it will always be the first time I did £1m+ on a single deal. I was working for Group Bull and pulled in a £2.7m deal for the combined Councils of South Yorkshire to run an education project with EU funding. It was a happy day that still makes me smile just thinking about the PO rolling in off the fax machine. Yes, sadly I am that old!

How has the pandemic changed your priorities:

I think the pandemic has shone a light on many of the ways that we work. The events from the pandemic have created an environment where I think to succeed everyone has naturally become more reflective on what they do and how they do it. For me the priority has been, although isolated by lockdowns, to create my collaboration between internal teams, channel partners and end users.

Are you witnessing a skills shortage and difficulties recruiting people into the channel? Why should young talent choose a career in the tech channel?

I think that it is fair to say that the strategy for recruitment has changed and, without giving away any secrets, we are generally getting the ideal candidates we’d prefer. I think that at Netwrix we have certainly seen the power in using our networks for recruitment and hiring where possible known quantities has been beneficial.

For young people coming into the channel, it is the challenge that for me sets this job apart. No two days are the same with having the chance to travel, quick career progression, a technology landscape that is forever changing, and honestly the financial rewards are certainly attractive.

Tomorrow’s world: your prediction:

In a word MSP’s, I think that this will become the key delivery method for software, and it is one we are keen to embrace.

Then and now- the one thing you wish you knew back then:

I wish that it would all come out where I hoped it would in the end. Seriously, I feel much of my career and the success I have had has been down to finding some great mentors, who have kept me on track and pushed me to improve my skills and develop my career. The best advice I have ever received was when I earned my first management role and was told, “It’s nice to be important but far more important to be nice”.

Rob has been working in IT sales for over 25 years and has maintained his work within the channel for most of his career. Rob brings a substantial amount of expertise to his role at Netwrix, most recently he and his team had built an on-line training and certification programme with over 300 delegates in attendance. Under Rob’s leadership his team have produced over 1,000 courses ranging from sales to pre-sales, becoming instrumental in the continued growth of Netwrix. Having previously worked at Quest Software, Bull Information Systems, Axial, and had even opened a consultancy of his own, Rob enjoys sharing his advice to those who are looking to enter the channel industry.

Visit Rob’s LinkedIn profile