Dot Hill Expands Channel Team, Enhances Channel Program

Dot Hill, the 27-year-old Longmont, Colo.-based storage array developer that only two years ago started working with the solution provider channel, this month added field resources and new sales tools to help partners who have committed to working with the company, said Brad Painter, vice president of worldwide channel sales.

"We're streamlining how we go to market, and focusing on quality partners, not on quantity," Painter said. "I tried to look at it from the partner side. If I were a partner, and I saw Dot Hill, a 27-year-old company, come to me, what would I need?"

Painter, who joined Dot Hill in July after several years of managing channels at Pillar Data, said one important change was the addition of a new "gold" level to his company's Connections Partner Program.

"To grow our business, I have to have gold partners," Painter said. "We will provide them the resources and tools they need to talk storage with customers' CEOs, including market development funds, additional discounts, and letters of support."

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Gold-level partners will continue to work with Dot Hill distributors to purchase products, but will also work directly with the vendor on customer communication and closing deals, Painter said.

Kyra Montgomery, channel marketing manager at Dot Hill, said gold-level partner support will also include up-front funding to close deals.

"If a partner signs at the gold level, we will up-front all the marketing support, money, and telemarketing resources, and provide a guaranteed margin on the back-end," Montgomery said. "So partners know they will be profitable when selling our products."

Dot Hill has also reorganized its channel sales coverage with the division of North America into four sales territories compared to three in the past, making it easier to engage with partners than in the past, Montgomery said.

Dot Hill has also added a new inside sales team to help channel partners find new opportunities.

It has also doubled the number of distributors it uses to reach out to solution providers with the addition of Harwood International, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based specialty distributor, and Info-X, a Randolph, N.J.-based specialist in storage and virtualization. Dot Hill also works with Annapolis Junction, Md.-based Promark Technology and Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Condre Storage.

Also new from Dot Hill is a simplified pricing model to eliminate much of the complexity in the company's pricing that carried over from its legacy OEM days, as well as the dropping of many of its duplicate SKUs and the addition of a deal registration program, Montgomery said.

Dot Hill is also now providing end-user marketing, something it never did before because of its OEM legacy, Painter said.

"Dot Hill has a strong name among OEMs," he said. "But customers know our products better under the old Sun Microsystems name, or as the Hewlett Packard MSA or P2000 lines. We'll make sure customers see our Dot Hill name on a more consistent basis."

Partners will also see more marketing support in terms of lead generation, including co-branded lead generation, Montgomery said. "We'll also launch an online tool kit that provides full service market assets," she said. "For instance, partners will be able to work with Dot Hill people to prepare a marketing blitz for events such as 'lunch-and-learns.'"

Partners will also be able to provide level 1 and level 2 warranty support in addition to new professional services, Painter said.