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IGEL Platinum Partner XenTegra Sees Success By Going Beyond 'Traditional' Marketing Tactics

XenTegra founder Andy Whiteside says the solution provider is differentiating itself with its own IGEL OS conversion workshop that lets potential customers test-drive the technology.

As German vendor IGEL Technology continues to reshape the North American perception of its thin-client offerings behind an aggressive, software-led marketing campaign, Platinum partner XenTegra has seen success through a dynamic sales strategy of its own.

The solution provider, launched by former Citrix employees and consultants in 2012, is one of 17 Platinum-level IGEL partners, which means its 15-person team receives access to IGEL-delivered sales enablement training and joint marketing support, among other benefits. Within a year of earning Platinum status, the Huntersville, N.C.-based company won IGEL's Excellence Award at Citrix Synergy 2017.

One of the biggest reasons for that distinction: XenTegra founder Andy Whiteside pioneered the usage of a hands-on IGEL OS conversion workshop – both in live and, more recently, virtual settings.

[Related: IGEL North America CEO Ayres On Beating HP And Dell, Digital Marketing And A 'Breakthrough' Tesla Giveaway]

It's all part of the differentiation strategy for XenTegra, which Whiteside said has enjoyed 100 percent revenue growth for five straight years.

"At some point, every great technology company has to realize that they need to be an equally great marketing company if they want their technology to be viable, if they want their technology to get out there in the industry and stay out front," Whiteside said. "I think that IGEL realized that early in their U.S. infancy."

The conversion workshop concept is simple: Potential customers bring in an old device that they want to convert. Partners like XenTegra do so either using converter software or the UD Pocket, a thumb drive from which users can upload the IGEL operating system directly to the device. Then the devices can be enrolled in the management solution, which allows salespeople to easily demonstrate the policy management software before their eyes.

"It's certainly working well to create pipeline," Whiteside said. "The idea behind that is no different than the same ideas we have around Citrix and other technologies that are easy to demonstrate.

"We're not a company that leads with a lot of infrastructure or route switch-type technologies, primarily because they're not as fun to sell. They're not as fun to show. It's easy to sell a technology that demonstrates well."

With efficiency and increased reach in mind, XenTegra is now hosting these demos in thousands of locations via webinars. Instead of an in-person presentation, which involves travel expenses and other associated costs, potential customers receive a virtual PC and a virtual machine to convert. Eventually, Whiteside intends to create a setup where customers can convert their own device and bring it under management completely through the virtual gateway.

"I want you to see what I have to say, see me demonstrate it and then I want you to test-drive it yourself," he said. "At the end of the test drive, if you tell me you don't want it, that's fine. But at least I know you've gotten your hands on it and you've got an educated stance on why you want it or don't want it."

Jed Ayres, IGEL's North America president and CEO, who also acts as the company's global chief marketing officer, said the hands-on approach of XenTegra's demos is key to their success.

'We've had people get out of their chair, walk out, cancel orders ... that were pending," said Ayres. "We've had people ask the [sales] rep and the [software engineers] to come back to the office with them to embark on a proof of concept with the technology. It's a hands-on thing. And they see it in real time."

Whiteside notes that IGEL has done its part to effectively equip partners with marketing and sales tools. One example is a $5,000 demo bag built and managed by Citrix that features an IGEL thin client, a UD Pocket device and co-branded partner splash-screens. IGEL plans to provide all 17 of its Platinum partners with these bags.

The XenTegra founder added that, while a "really good technology partner" would come up with the demo bag concept itself and integrate that into its sales strategy, IGEL's crisp packaging makes the pitch more compelling and helps eliminate the "barrier to entry" some partners experience.

"If you stop and really pull back and look at companies like Microsoft, Citrix and Cisco, they're as much about marketing as they are the technology. It takes the two things together," Whiteside said. "And because IGEL gets that, they understand when they see that in a partner, they can recognize it. Whereas a lot of technology companies you work with, a lot of vendors we work with, they don't understand themselves that they need to be great marketing companies.

"Therefore they can't recognize when somebody else is trying to market around them. IGEL gets it. … They see someone trying to market around them by thinking outside the box of what traditional marketing looks like."

XenTegra's marriage of technical expertise and forward-thinking marketing tactics will remain a foundation of what has made its small team so effective, according to Whiteside.

"The challenge a lot of my competitors have, the people who run those businesses are either salespeople or they're businesspeople, not technology people with a desire to market through the technology. So they stumble a little bit," he said. "It's not a natural fit. For us, it's a natural fit."

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