Quantum's New VAR Program Offers Better Lead Tracking, RFP Assistance

The new program includes an increased use of technology from salesforce.com to allow Quantum and its solution providers to track the closing success rate of leads from both sides, said Jim Simon, director of channel marketing for the vendor's Storage Solutions Group.

This replaces the individual spreadsheets Quantum salespeople used when working with solution providers via a Web-based system. The system allows the company to track how its leads are being handled while giving solution providers Web-based access to those leads, as well as easier methods to track realtime close-rate data, Simon said. It is expected to start next quarter, he added.

Starting this quarter, the company will offer its channel partners 24x7 online training, said Simon. Solution providers can spend 10 to 15 minutes online and take a quiz that can lead to certification in certain products, he said.

The company also will bring two salespeople and one sales engineer from its Elite and Premier solution provider ranks to Quantum's Irvine, Calif., office for two days of hands-on product training at the vendor's expense, Simon said. The program will start this quarter, he said.

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Amy Rao, CEO of Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based storage solution provider, said that such training is a blanket certification of a partner's entire sales team and will increase margins by an extra 5 points on registered deals for the next four quarters. "That's a big deal," Rao said. "Extra margins are always welcome."

Quantum also has hired a full-time person to help solution providers write RFPs, said Simon. "We write the RFPs on behalf of the VAR," he said.

RFP assistance is a welcome move, said Rao. "RFPs are a lot of work," she said. "They can take days. Customers ask a lot, and an RFP can be 50 pages. . . . My engineering team will love that. They'll say, 'Quantum will write the RFP for me? I'll sell Quantum.' "

Quantum also will help its top partners improve margins with stackable discounts, said Simon. Previously, a solution provider might get a 5 percent discount for purchasing products through a distributor and a 3 percent discount for government business, but not at the same time. Under the new rules, the discounts can be combined.

Quantum also is extending its demo program for all its solution providers. Under the program, partners can buy demonstration equipment at 40 percent off list price, Simon said. The company also will help its partners take full advantage of a program to trade in legacy Quantum and non-Quantum tape automation products for new equipment, he said.

Quantum will offer a spiff of up to $1,000 to partners' individual salespeople, depending on the product sold, said Simon.

The past year has seen Quantum cut the number of Premier partners by about 34 percent, Simon said. Last year, when the company brought together the channel programs of Quantum and its then-subsidiary Snap Appliance, it was lenient on the number of solution providers in the program, he said.