Panzura unveils new cloud NAS-centric partner program

Panzura is looking to its new partner program to both recruit and support a select partner base that can sell its new Freedom solutions, which are focused on the cloud NAS-space.

Barry Phillips, Panzura’s Chief Marketing Officer

Campbell CA-based Panzura has announced a complete reworking and rebranding of its partner program around its new Freedom line, which was launched last week to drive Panzura deeper into the cloud NAS space. The new Freedom Partner Program is designed to support that launch, by reworking partner enablement around the Freedom solutions, and by recruiting new partners who are extremely savvy about the cloud.

“Last week we announced the Freedom product line, to put data in the cloud while solving performance and latency issues, including in global namespaces with Freedom NAS, and collaboration across all sites with Freedom Collaboration,” said Barry Phillips, Panzura’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We are now announcing this new program, because we need to find partners to fulfill that strategy. We need to find partners who align with that strategy, so we can focus on the right sort of partners.”

“As we look at who the partner targets need to be and how we enable them, we created a program that enables them to go out and sell,” said Steve Simpson, Director, Channels at Panzura. “We have a significant number of legacy partners and will continue to do business with them, but we want to focus on Freedom and the cloud. The partner program is the go-to-market for these products. We want partners who have the same ideal as us, and we will double down on those who have that ideal.”

Panzura’s old partner program is being incorporated partially into the new one. The old program, like the new one, had three tiering levels. It was organized very differently however, as the tiers were essentially based on volume of revenues.

“With the new program, the approach is different, and reflects the degree of help needed in the go-to-market,” Simpson said. “We built a tier from those who want to handle the whole sale, and an entry level for those who need help. The entry tier basically passes the lead over to us.”

The top tier is the more select group of partners handling the whole sale, defined by the number of opportunities presented and revenue level.

“All three levels get training and enablement,” Simpson said. “Even if all you do is identify leads, you need to know how to do that, and how to qualify them.”

Simpson said that some of their legacy partners should and will make the leap to Freedom.

Steve Simpson, Panzura’s Director, Channels

“Traditional storage partners have a tremendous need for this type of technology,” he stated. “They are looking for other solutions to differentiate themselves. We let them tap into a new market with their current customers, providing an opportunity to revisit them. Traditional storage is never going away but customers want options, and we can help shift that status quo paradigm.”

The introductory Authorized tier is easy to get into. The more focused Premier and Elite tiers are not, and the number of these go-to-partners who are critical to the company’s future will be limited, because of the logistical limitations a company of Panzura’s size has in training and properly supporting them.

“You can’t work closely with hundreds of partners,” Phillips said.

“Our model will be a very focused model – very prescriptive,” Simpson stated. “Our focus will be on strategic partners, with a high-touch model. We are trying to be very selective and hope they are selective with us as well. We want about 25 to 30 of these partners, so we can put resources behind them. It’s a laser approach rather than a shotgun, and that’s why were able to build the benefits we have in the program, because we take that approach.”

Sales and marketing support include what Simpson termed a redefined margin and discount structure.

“Aggressively protecting registered opportunities is critical to us,” he said. “The collaborative channel is significant.”

The go-to partners also receive qualified leads and market development funds.

“It’s a high touch, reward-based model, and we will make adjustments on a quarterly basis based on partner feedback,” Simpson indicated.