FrontRange Launches New Tools, Portal For Channel Partners

Over the past 18 months, however, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based vendor of Goldmine and Heat has taken steps to improve partner relations. The company installed a new management team, including CEO Michael McCloskey and Gary Brand, senior director of channels for the Americas. FrontRange reduced its direct-sales force and has rolled out new tools intended to help its partners generate more revenue.

These include direct marketing postcards and e-mail, a new landing page for resellers and a detailed sales methodology that partners can use to prospect and sell for every product they carry, not just FrontRange's.

"I'm a big believer in teaching the partners how to fish and giving them the tools and enablement to do that," said Brand, who came from Network Associates (now McAfee). "We work with the partners to provide market development funds, but that's not enough if we don't wrap programmatic content around it."

Brand said he is particularly proud of the interactive sales methodology worksheet FrontRange now offers its solution providers. Available for download, the methodology toolkit comprises a detailed framework, with accompanying Webinar, that walks partners through all of the phases of a solution sell—from prospecting to telephone scripting to managing the relationship.

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"We know that a strong partner is good for FrontRange, so we wanted to provide a methodology that works for any product a FrontRange partner might sell," he said.

Ed Buckley, vice president of sales at Professional Edge, a FrontRange partner based in Dallas, said the vendor's sales methodology tool has been a boon—and not just for his existing staff.

"I now have a documented and repeatable process I can give new hires," he said. "We can give the material to people and say, 'You need to talk to IT managers this way, and CEOs this way.' And it shows them the different kinds of questions for each audience."

Besides the sales methodology, Brand's organization also has released a landing page, which resellers brand with their own identity, where prospects register to download white papers, sign up for seminars or learn more about specific issues, such as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

All registered prospects will receive a partner-branded "thank you" note with follow up information. Partners can manage and analyze all captured leads via an online reporting tool.

In addition, FrontRange partners also can put their own logos on direct-mail postcards, e-mail blasts and other marketing collateral that drive prospects to the microsite that FrontRange has set up on each partner's behalf.

"The marketing-in-a-box has been especially valuable for us," said Mike Antonelli, president of Anton Systems, a partner in Sunrise, Fla. "By giving me the copy, logo and the call-to-action, I can get 4,000 or 5,000 postcards out every month. That's a huge benefit for us as a small-business partner, giving us a way to quickly and effectively produce marketing programs," he said. "I feel like I'm a franchise in a way. They say, 'Here's your look. Here's your stuff.' And, of course, FrontRange benefits by having partners with the same pitch and the same high-level skills, thanks to that sales methodology."

In addition, FrontRange revamped its partner portal, making it easier for partners to find a variety of information, including product materials and other solution providers with complementary skills.

"We've also made it easier for partners to establish virtual teams, leveraging FrontRange's systems engineers to account reps in the field, when they need to," Brand said.