NetApp To Unveil First Lead-Generation Program

Starting Oct. 1, NetApp will provide leads to its channel partners, said Leonard Iventosch, vice president of channel sales for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NAS manufacturer.

The company has hooked up with a third-party marketing company, Sunset Direct, to develop the leads and pass them to solution providers, Iventosch said.

"It's the first time NetApp has ever done a lead-generation campaign with the channel," he said. "I'm not sure if I should be proud of this, or embarrassed."

Regardless of how Iventosch feels, Pat Edwards, vice president of sales at Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based solution provider that started with NetApp only about eight months ago, was happy.

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"That would be huge, on a massive scale," Edwards said.

NetApp is sending a pretty good message to its channel about loyalty, Edwards said.

"It's a challenge to get a channel partner to be successful in a relationship [with a vendor]," he said. "Solution providers are not as familiar and tenured with the manufacturer. It helps when they offer their channel training and other support. But its even better when manufacturers say to VARs, while you're getting ready with this, I'll help you get business."

Such was the case when Alliance started working with StorageTek a few years ago, Edwards said. "When we started with StorageTek, they brought us a couple deals early, and gave us a chance to build our business and sales," he said.