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Cobalt Iron Partner Program ‘IPA’ Hops Into The Channel

‘From my perspective, I think its spot on. We get an opportunity to achieve different levels. Its absolutely what was needed from Cobalt Iron ... This just puts it in black and white for us,’ says Cobalt Iron partner Bill Asimos, VP of Sales with ATS Group.

Back-up and disaster recovery software vendor Cobalt Iron has launched a revamped partner program that focuses on recurring revenue around its flagship product Compass, which “sets the bar” for the competition, Chief Revenue Officer Rodney Foreman said.

“We're really proud of what we created here. I think it sets the bar for our competitors,” said Foreman, the former channel chief at Nutanix. “We're taking a completely different approach, because of our SaaS-based solution to make sure that when partners are comparing us to Commvault, or Rubrik and others that we have a clearly differentiated program that really allows the partners to be successful in the market providing data protection solutions to customers.”

Called Ironclad Partner Advantage, or IPA, its designed to help generate recurring, software-as-a-service revenue for partners, by offering the total contract value on signing, for contracts up to three years, Foreman said. He said it is critical in today’s environment to not just win the sale day one, but to keep the customer and maintain the recurring dollars generated by that relationship.

“What's really unique is that we pay more on renewals than the original contract payment, which is unlike any other software vendor today, but it's important that we look at our business from a long-term perspective,” Foreman said. “You want that re-occurring revenue. You want the partners to work with customers and make them successful with their product so that they renew, year after year and term after term.”

[RELATED: Cobalt Iron Adds Sales Stars Ahead Of Partner Push]

The program is tiered with three levels -- Trek, Base, and Summit. All levels have access to sales, technical, and marketing material, an authorized reseller title, and rebates. Foreman said the highest level, reserved for more than 10 sales a year, wins access to the best rebates, a designated account manager, qualified leads, co-marketing funds, as well as a spot on the company’s partner advisory council.

IPA is designed to fit many partner types, whether the reseller is an MSP, a VAR, or systems integrator, Cobalt Iron hopes to deliver a system that works best for their partner’s business, Foreman said.

“We align our benefits and how we go to market specific to your partner type,” he said. “So it's not a cookie cutter program. It's a program that aligns to you by partner type supporting your business strategy and your go to market model.”

Bill Asimos, vice president of sales at Cobalt Iron partner ATS Group, a Malvern, Pa.-based solution provider, said he is glad to see Foreman – who moved into his new role in September – take on the job of remaking the partner program. Asimos said prior to the revamp, he found Cobalt’s program “immature” and lacking in key areas such as tiers, rebates, and market development funds. He said Cobalt Iron CEO Richard Spurlock made the right call, in putting Foreman in charge of rewriting the plan.

“From my perspective, I think its spot on. We get an opportunity to achieve different levels. Its absolutely what was needed from Cobalt Iron. It’s inline with the market, in terms of other types of channel programs I’ve seen,” he said. “Richard and Rodney have done a really good job. Its exciting, not just for me and ATS, but their other channel partners as well … The renewal piece is key. Their program before this, everything wasn’t as structured. This just puts it in black and white for us.”

Foreman said the company moves 100 percent of its product through the channel, and IPA gives channel partners a chance to realize their goals of customer retention, and capture recurring revenue dollars.

“We wanted to come to market with something that is truly differentiated and so when we look at our competitors and their programs quite frankly, they're boring and they're the same old programs that we've seen year after year,” Foreman said. “We want to make sure that our our program really captures the attention of the partner sellers.”

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