‘Every Deal Is For The Channel’
Six months ago, Steve Biondi became Lenovo’s Data Center Group North American channel chief with the goal of revamping the company’s strategy to win over partner mindshare from competitors like Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise while also driving profitability for Lenovo partners “wanting to grow with us.”
“We went out to partners and said, ‘Look, we have better technology than the competition. We have a better price point. We have a partner program now that’s enticing,’” said Biondi, Lenovo’s Data Center Group’s North American Channel Chief, in an interview with CRN. “We’re growing our Platinum partner base by almost 50 percent in one quarter. Why is that happening? Our supply chain is better, we now have a program that’s a lot more meaningful that shows them how they can make money by selling with us, a next-level support strategy and coverage model -- our plan is working.”
On April 1, Lenovo Data Center Group (DCG) unveiled new channel benefits in its flagship partner program designed to incentivize solution providers to lead with Lenovo over the likes of HPE and Dell by adding additional rebates for exceeding growth targets and acquiring new accounts. New benefits include allowing Platinum Partners to earn up to 40 percent more for similar year over year performance; new dedicated pre-sales and technical support for Platinum Partners; a 30 percent increase in DCG back office support resources; and a new competitive bid incentive program – Competitive Opportunity Partnership Program (COP) -- to focus on whitespace accounts. CRN spoke to Biondi before learning of the departure of Lenovo’s DCG global channel chief Nicole Roskill.
“Are there challenges within the partner community saying that other vendors take deals direct and are a little unpredictable? Yes, that’s real. For Lenovo, that’s not,” said Biondi. “Every deal is for the channel.”
In an interview with CRN, Biondi talks about winning over partner mindshare from Dell and HPE, his bullish channel vision and teases the upcoming release of a new partner portal.