By Todd R. Weiss
Zadara is refreshing its channel partner program with new sales and support tools, an improved partner portal and the first three distributors brought in to help make it easier for the company’s partners to sell Zadara’s enterprise storage-as-a-service offerings.
The updated channel program is the first big revamp since the company was founded in 2011 and adds a two-tier partner system for the first time in the company’s history, Greg Newman, vice president of marketing for Zadara, told Channel Partners.
Zadara previously did most of its partner sales through the Amazon Web Services Marketplace and other similar portals, but deals with three distributors – Ingram Micro, Promark and Lifeboat – are expanding that, said Newman. Under the revamped program, Zadara is moving away from selling directly to end users and doing more sales through cloud marketplaces like AWS, as well as adding three distributors with whom their MSP partners already do business to serve customers.
“It was time to get distributor relationships in place,” which would not have been possible even just two years ago, he said. “We have worked hard with our distributors to do distribution, including working with them on generating SKUs and focusing the product around specific use cases.”
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With the help of the distributors, Zadara put together some preconfigured storage-as-a-service packages under about nine SKUs to provide selling options while allowing tailoring for capacity and contract terms required by customers, he said.
“We took a little bit of the old partner program and added a little bit of the new,” giving Zadara partners broader features designed to help them better serve their customers, said Newman.
Improvements include a redesigned and updated partner portal that offers full integration with Salesforce.com so partners can more easily manage their deals with customers; an all-new deal registration system so partners can get access to presales opportunities for the first time; and new dedicated teams for sales and solutions architecture to provide partners with improved support before and after sales.
Also new is the creation of bronze, silver and gold levels for the first time, giving partners clear guidelines for how they can advance with the company, said Newman.
“We’ve built that out so our partners can find the fit that’s right for them,” he added. “We’ve tailored it to look like a very traditional model so it’s a program that they can be familiar with and work with. We figured, don’t reinvent the stuff that’s working.”
With its storage as a service offerings, Zadara is a service provider to channel partners and to end-user customers. For partners who wish to offer the fully managed storage as a service directly under a white label or with the Zadara name, Zadara provides them the hardware and they can then offer the services to customers.
“Often the partners ask Zadara to be part of the sale,” said Newman.
Other new parts of the improved channel program include co-op marketing funds for use toward joint marketing efforts between Zadara and its silver and gold level service providers, RFP proposal assistance for silver and gold level service providers, and around-the-clock professional technical support to all service providers. The company also is providing partners with comprehensive training materials to help partners grow their businesses.
Several months ago the company bolstered its channel program by hiring industry veteran Roland Serna as its vice president of channels and alliances. Serna came over from VMware, where he had worked in various executive leadership positions, including strategy for the development of the VMware cloud in the AWS partner program.