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Lenovo's Kevin Hooper: Our Vision Is To Be The ‘Most Trusted Data Center Partner In The Industry’

Kevin Hooper, president of North America for Lenovo’s Data Center Group, spoke with CRN about driving deeper into enterprise and SMB accounts with his plan to attack the data center market alongside a reinvigorated channel strategy.

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Do you have any new go-to-market plan or program focused on winning more market share from your data center competitors?

There’s a specific focus on small and medium business that we’re going to deploy in named accounts who have done business with Lenovo over the last three or four years. We’re going to deploy a 90-day license to hunt with Lenovo resources with a select set of channel partners. It’s a little bit more than SMBs, though. So I have 10,000 named accounts across Canada and the United States. I’m looking to pull from that group of accounts, as well as the 75,000 accounts we have in our CRM, that would broadly be classified as small and medium business.

What’s the game plan to attack these 10,000 accounts by arming partners with this ‘hunting license?’

We are going to take a set of named accounts, names of customers that have done business with us over the last few years, and we’re going to proactively reach out with that set of names and engage directly with a select list of channel partners to say, ‘Hey, look, let’s go play in these accounts for 90 days. Let’s go try to formulate an attack strategy typically around those solutions [AI, big data, blockchain, IoT, VDI and DevOps] to go have some very targeted conversations with those customers. Let’s see if we can’t solve some business problems with them together.’ I wanted to do a complete 180. So instead of a channel partner coming to me with a refresh opportunity, for example, I wanted to reach out proactively to channel partners and say, ‘Let’s go bring value together.’ It’s going to be in 90-day increments. We’re going to be proactively managing that, and I’m making investments and resources on this side.

What’s your message to channel partners?

There’s a channel-first message that I have delivered to my sellers that is a part of the strategy to become significantly more present in the marketplace. We have a vision and a strategy of intelligent transformation, of being the most trusted data center partner in the industry. That trust starts with being able to roll up your sleeves and engage with channel partners in real time.

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