NetApp To Partners: Follow Our Lead For iSCSI Success

NetApp will work with a third-party telemarketing firm to generate leads for partners on a series of new iSCSI product bundles and diligently follow up with them, said Leonard Iventosch, vice president of North American channels at the Sunnyvale, Calif., vendor. The program is slated to run through the current fiscal year ending April 2006 and will complement existing lead-generation efforts.

"Before, we dialed for dollars, set up appointments and sent the lead to the partner," he said. "Now we will get the lead, follow up with the customer and the channel partner, and make sure the customer stays engaged."

Unlike many lead programs that fail because the vendor's corporate marketing people do not talk to sales reps, NetApp seems to be doing a good job in preparing its program, said Hayes Drumwright, president of Trace3, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider.

"I think it will be a successful program because the corporate people are talking to the people in the street," he said. "These things often go wrong because corporate sends leads to channel sales reps, who pass them to partners. These reps need to know where the leads are going and make sure they don't pass my customers' information to another partner."

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Michael Fanelli, western regional manager at SSI hubcity, a Metuchen, N.J., solution provider, said iSCSI is poised to grow, and anything a vendor can do to make implementing the technology easier is a good deal. "If a manufacturer can sell a bundle that we can wrap our services around, it makes it simple," he said.

NetApp held a 43.3 percent share of the $50.5 million iSCSI product market in first-quarter 2005, according to research firm IDC.

The new lead-generation program dovetails with iSCSI-specific bundles being rolled out this week for select software applications, said Rob Mathews, senior director of market development and strategy. The bundles are built around the FAS 200 and FAS 3020 NAS appliances and include SNAP Manager for Exchange, SNAP Manager for SQL Server, SNAP Drive for storage consolidation or all three in a premium pack, he said. Also included are services that can be implemented by NetApp or the solution provider.