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CRN Exclusive: iland Preps For Channel Sales Push, Staff Expansion

The disaster recovery and backup solution provider is hoping to fuel growth in 2018 by partnering with managed service providers and resellers.

Disaster recovery and backup expert iland is investing more in its channel sales efforts under new vice president of marketing Amy Hawthorne.

The Houston-based solution company, No. 470 on the 2017 CRN SP 500, said inbound interest from managed service providers and other resellers – especially from Asia, the Middle East and Africa – have fueled iland's decision to beef up its sales and marketing support for channel partners.

"We've done research and realized we have a huge opportunity there and we're really going to invest big on the channel side in 2018," Hawthorne told CRN. "It's a fast path to growth."

[Related: iland Among Solution Providers Helping Customers, Each Other As Harvey Soaks Houston]

A veteran of the B2B tech space, Hawthorne served as director of marketing at managed cloud vendor Rackspace from 2012 to 2015. There, she gained valuable experience in channel partner enablement through attractive solutions, field sales alignment and the right marketing assets, joint programs and incentives.

Doing that requires the right resources, of course. The company made its first channel sales hire less than a year ago, and she is "so very busy," according to Hawthorne. Because of that, iland is now in the market for more channel sales reps as well as a "partner implementation" coordinator.

Hawthorne added that she is looking to add product marketing positions, an Australia-based marketer and a SalesForce CRM technical expert, in part to ensure the right partners are accredited on deals and properly compensated.

Hawthorne said iland is a good fit for MSPs and resellers that need a "self-service" solution, particularly those that work with midmarket customers in high-regulation verticals such as healthcare, financial services, legal services and other industries that require sophisticated data protection.

The company has seen increased client interest in Europe with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to become enforceable in May 2018. The United Kingdom's ongoing Brexit saga has also caused some level of uncertainty in the region.

As a result, many companies are actively looking for alternative solutions that can protect data as required by GDPR compliance guidelines. Hawthorne said iland's cloud services will be GDPR-compliant and doesn't anticipate Brexit will change how the solution provider goes to market in the region.

"We have a VP of Compliance here at iland. It's a huge differentiator for us out in the market," she said.

From a high-level marketing strategy perspective, Hawthorne wants iland to maintain its position as a leader in the DRaaS and BaaS spaces while elevating the company's recognition as a cloud hosting provider. The company has earned top cloud partner honors from Veeam and Zerto within the past two years for its Secure Cloud IaaS solution, built on VMware vCloud.

"We've got more opportunity on the IaaS part," Hawthorne said. "Once people fail over to our cloud in a disaster recovery or backup solution, they can see the ease of use. They can move things from data center to data center as needed, depending upon where they are around the world, and they've got more opportunity to use iland for their infrastructure more than just as a fail-over destination for backup or disaster recovery. We can do a better job getting more exposure to our IaaS capabilities."

MSP and reseller partners will be an integral part of the IaaS marketing push. If iland can support partners the right way, Hawthorne thinks its sales team could become much bigger down the line.

"The future's really bright here, and I'm excited to be part of the team," she said. "I have experience marketing to the targets we're marketing to here, but the channel train had already started taking off before I joined."

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