Coyote Point Sees Channel Loyalty As Its Secret Sauce

Jim Puchbauer puts it this way: "We have a 10-year pedigree and we're extremely reliable, but what happens when people walk up to us is they say, 'Oh, you sound great, but we've never heard of you guys.'"

It's something Puchbauer has gotten used to hearing. Name recognition has been a problem for Coyote Point Systems, a specialist in application delivery and load balancer technology for SMBs, for nearly its full decade of existence. By focusing on smaller customers instead of the enterprise-heavy deployments of a lot of its competitors, the company built a name for itself among tech insiders. But it's still largely an unknown in the broader context of the channel -- something Puchbauer, who is Coyote Point's director of marketing and business development, intends to fix.

The company in April revamped its channel program with a number of new offerings, including a deal registration program for authorized Coyote Point resellers to protect VARs from larger integrators and direct market resellers like CDW in competitive situations.

It's only the latest in a series of channel moves that the company has been making for the last 18 months. It wants to be a go-to option for solution providers that don't lead with F5 Networks and other application delivery competitors, but who crave 100 percent channel-focused companies that promises tight support and rich margins for a technology that will grow in popularity as more data centers go virtual and get more sophisticated.

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"In the midmarket, you want a solid performance factor, a good price and a reliability in ease-of-use. We have all of those things," Puchbauer said. "But we don't have the play. So we're going out this year and really have been going out over the last 18 months to press our awareness. We don't sell anything direct -- we have a channel program that's exciting to the partners, and that protects the partners."

Next: Coyote Point's Growing VARs

John Pearson, president and founder of IP Networks, a Tuscon, Ariz.-based solution provider and Coyote Point partner, said IP Networks has increased its revenue more than 300 percent over the past year, much of it due to the 30 percent or more profit margins it can get selling Coyote Point.

The VAR, which de-emphasized its sales of Citrix Netscaler for the K-12 education and other SMB accounts it felt would be better served by Coyote Point, recently completed Coyote Point's Platinum Technical Certification Training program. According to Pearson, their relationship is full speed ahead.

"They have the best performance for the dollar -- the best bang for the buck where the needs are 1 gigabit and below," he said. "It's a lot of nice features."

Coyote Point's appliances provide hardware-based SSL acceleration, HTTP Web compression and global server load balancing, and come in four different offerings. The top-tier Equalizer E650GX (v. 8.6) appliance comes in about $14,395 MSRP, including a year of technical support, and there are less-expensive options in the E450GX, E350GX and E250GX models.

Against F5 Networks, Citrix, Kemp and other competitors, especially those where solutions come in at about a third of the comparable price, Pearson said a Coyote Point offering wins the deal nine out of 10 times it is brought to the table. The name recognition is often a roadblock, he admitted -- IT professionals don't know Coyote Point the way they do other vendors in the space -- and occasionally it's a matter of not having the right product for a multi-gigabit throughput environment.

"But it really is a best-of-breed product," he said. "It's the best load balancer you've never heard of."

Next: Coyote Point Could Win More Channel Mindshare

What would make Coyote Point's channel engagement stronger?

"I could do more personally with demand or lead generation-type activities, but it isn't the marketing we're worried about," Pearson said. "Brute force cold calling is what we do at IP Networks. We do things the old-fashioned way. I've tried many other types of marketing and it never generates the type of activity and the type of referrals you get otherwise."

Pearson suggested Coyote Point had found the right combination of technical smarts and channel acuity, but they also had two things that are equally important to the VARs they deal with: trust and reliability.

"Coyote Point is second-to-none in in tech support, and that's very important to a reseller," he said. "We've worked with a lot of manufacturers and much of the time it's a situation where you sign up with them and you're basically on your own. They have a real close relationship."