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Rethinking the Channel as an Emerging Vendor

by Shaun Walsh – October 4, 2018

For startups, the goal is often to be disruptive by creating new solutions, displacing incumbent vendors, and growing into a market leadership position. Like many people who came from larger organizations to startups, my first thoughts are often to bring best practices from previous experiences, make a few tweaks, and repeat what my hard-won experiences have taught me. That is how I started thinking about crafting the channel program for Igneous.

However, after some conversations with partners, pundits and people smarter than me, I changed my mind. They convinced me that I was not only thinking about the our potential channel program in the wrong way, but that my “previous experience” driven thinking would lead to a program destined to be dead-on-arrival. Here are some of the key things I learned from those conversations:

  1. Keep It Simple - Don’t add multiple tiers, don’t build barriers, focus on new logos
  2. Margins, not Discounts - Discounts often artificially create list prices and help no one
  3. Be as-a-Service, not a Box Product - Match the channel offering to what/how you sell
  4. Vertical Solutions - New products don't solve all problems.  Know what works now
  5. Be Pragmatic - Use/work with the incumbent ecosystem to “Cross the proverbial chasm..”

Dimensions of Disruptions Driving New Decisions

When I thought about the input we had received, the following chart popped into my head.

blog partner image

It helped to crystallize for me that our new channel program had to be different and required new thinking.  We are concurrently creating multiple disruptions dimensions concurrently:

  1. How data protection and data mobility solutions are being delivered in the market.
  2. Eliminating traditional enterprise license agreement software model for an as-a-Service model.
  3. Enabling internet scale for data protection across billions of files and/or ZBs of data.
  4. Delivering customer experiences that combine the security of on-premises solutions and the flexibility of cloud services.  
  5. Addressing the nexus of on-premises private clouds, supporting solutions for hybrid clouds, and creating scale and convenience with public clouds and MSPs.

Rethinking the Channel as an Emerging Vendor

From the beginning, Igneous made the strategic decision to be a 100% partner-driven company. Our new Partner Program outlines how Igneous will working directly with value-added resellers (VAR), direct market resellers (DMR), and managed service providers (MSP). As we processed all the input from our channel partners, sales teams, and industry partners, a few common themes emerged and became the guiding principles for the Igneous Partner Program:

  • Focus on growth
  • Keep it simple
  • Be pragmatic

blog partner modelBelow is the overview the Igneous Partner Program. We believe it embodies the core philosophies of growth, simplicity, and pragmatism. In this innovative model, we are committed to channel enablement, to partner success and eliminating artificial program barriers related to price tiering, certifications and other arbitrary requirements that can impede the business of selling.

  • Guaranteed Margins Model - Our philosophy is to work side-by-side with our partners to find, qualify and close deals. We use a guaranteed margin model to optimize pricing.
  • Deal Registration and Protection - Once a partner registers a deal and Igneous accepts it, we will work side-by-side with that partner to ensure their success.
  • Marketing and Lead Generation -  Igneous will work with partners on digital marketing, account-based marketing, and field events including our Data WorkFlow Forum series ( to drive new leads and expand revenue within existing accounts.
  • Growth-Focused Incentives - Igneous has an aggressive incentive program to drive mutually-agreed-upon sales engagement for our respective growth and profits.
  • Joint Business Planning - Igneous and our partners will work closely to develop joint business to define Igneous marketing funds, account targeting, and our mutual success.
  • Partner Tools and Analytics -  Igneous’ partner portal provides deal registration for training, marketing materials, sales enablement tools, and analytics and performance metrics for visibility and reporting.
  • Online and Onsite Training - Igneous will provide self-paced training classes and on-site technical training for our partners.
  • Online Demo Portal and On-Premises Demo System - Igneous provides an Online Demo Portal that partners and customers can leverage, and we can provide on-prem systems for partners with their own executive briefing centers.

With the launch of this program, we are reshaping the traditional approach to channels and building a sustainable approach to growing our businesses together. If you would like to know more and discuss becoming an Igneous partner please click below!

Become a partner

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