Spectra Logic Adds Resources To Channel Program


The Boulder, Colo.-based manufacturer of disk-based and tape-based backup products, is planning to unveil SpectraEDGE to its 300-plus partners worldwide, said Molly Rector, vice president of marketing and product management.

Spectra Logic has had a channel program for the past four years based on its previous channel direct-to-VAR business model, Rector said. However, the three tiers of the program, based solely on solution provider sales of its products, had little to differentiate themselves or incent partners to move up to a new level, Rector said. Also, they have not been updated to reflect its two-year-old distribution agreement with Bell Microproducts, she said.

As a result, the company is adding more support and more opportunities for partners to make money, Rector said.

Spectra Logic has recently hired three channel account managers, the first time it has done so. The channel account managers are there to help partners who deal with multiple storage vendors learn not just about the products that are available for their customers, but also to support partners' sales, she said.

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That is a big move for the company, said Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of Eagle Software, a Salina, Kansas-based storage solution provider and Spectra Logic partner.

Partners need a go-to person inside their vendors who can help understand what is happening in the market and inside the vendor and provide help as needed, Hiechel said.

"If you go to the account reps for help, you can get stuck there as they handle all their own issues, especially at the end of the quarter," he said.

Partners in all three tiers will have access to the company's new partner blogs in order to make it easier for solution providers to communicate with the company, she said. "We want to make sure they know what is happening, or what's coming," she said. "This isn't focused on how they make money. They can find that in other places. We're focused on helping them drive their value."

Also new are partner resource centers to help provide information on and demonstrate their value to customers about such services as deduplication, security, energy consumption, and media lifecycle management, Rector said.

Spectra Logic also added self-marketing kits which its new channel account managers can use to help partners with their own marketing, Rector said.

Those kits include PowerPoint presentations, white papers, postcards, email data, HTML code, case studies, and power consumption calculators that partners can use in their promotions, she said. "Our channel account managers work with our partners' marketing departments to help them do a fully-integrated marketing campaign and get their message out," she said.

Spectra Logic is also in the eighth month of a monthly Webinar series that the company uses to educate its partners, and which the partners can in turn use to help educate their customers, Rector said.

To better differentiate the levels, partners at the second, or premier, level, also now have access to demonstration and evaluation equipment, help with customized marketing campaigns, help with quarterly business reviews, and one free registration at the company's partner summit.

Partners at the elite level have two partner summit registrations, an executive sponsor, a dedicated channel account manager with the vendor, and support for renewal sales, Rector said.

Eagle Software has been working with Spectra Logic for about 17 years, and gives the company an A-minus or an A for channel-friendliness, Hiechel said. "The only reason we don't give them an A-plus is because about 20 percent of their business goes direct," he said. "But that's to the Federal government or to Fortune-500 companies that don't want to buy through the channel."

The vendor is unique in that its opportunity registration program is fast, Hiechel said. While the typical vendor may take up to two weeks to respond to requests to register a deal and protect margins, Spectra Logic uses an automated approach that usually takes one hour, but which could take four to eight hours in the case of larger projects, he said.

"Spectra Logic is a very cool company," he said. "They've done a good job embracing the channel. They've had a few hiccups. But they have stable management, so they've remembered their mistakes."