Carbonite primes strategy for big 2018

Carbonite made key solution acquisitions and reworked their channel program in 2017 to build a base for significant growth in 2018. Now they need to execute, and are looking to some new initiatives to help them do that.

Norman Guadagno, Carbonite’s SVP of Marketing

In 2017 Carbonite made what they consider to be the key investments in building their infrastructure going forward, in their channel, their solution set and their Web presence. The company is now looking to realize the benefits in 2018, building more strategic relationships with their partner base, adding the key new Carbonite Recovery offering, and driving a new brand awareness campaign.

The heavy lifting was done last year, with the launch of the company’s new partner program in July, followed by a new partner portal in October, and an updating of Carbonite’s own website to speak with a clear voice in the wake of three significant acquisitions of companies that brought in new product.

“The new partner program and the new portal are all a foundation for 2018,” said Norman Guadagno, Carbonite’s SVP of Marketing. “We pulled together Evault and DoubleTake and DataCastle, which we acquired later last year for their endpoint product. They were brought all together in the new program.

The process of migrating partners from the old programs to the new was not a simple one.

“In migrating people, we found when we looked at different types of partners, there was no one-size-fits-all approach that worked, so we have moved to a tiered model of engagement. With some partners, it was simple, basically, ‘if you were here, you are now here. But there was a smaller subset who we wanted to deal with individually, and for them we reached out with channel account managers to define where they will be. The best partners are the ones most interested in having a relationship with us. For them, there was some complexity in the relationship, and just giving a list of qualifications deciding  where you go wasn’t best way of handling them.”

Guadagno said that they are continuing to check and make sure that the partners understand the program.

“Not every partner necessarily realizes how things have changed,” he said. “That is what takes 12-18 months to get done. We are working with partners now so they understand the things that have changed.”

These include things beyond the program itself, such as a revamped product naming structure.

“Trying to keep all the product names around from the old companies doesn’t make any sense, and can make things confusing,” Guadagno said. “We moved everything to a functional naming model, so people can understand where things are.”

Guadagno also indicated that more changes to the program itself can be anticipated.

“We are looking at bringing in new levels of the program going forward where appropriate,” he said. “We also want our partners to be working closely with us as we move forward. We changed the partner program incentives to reward partners who make bigger investments in us. We want partners to feel our investment in them and our product portfolio. We are also empowering partners more to cross-sell and up-sell. They will see that the synergies from selling more than one product will pay off for them.”

In 2018. Carbonite will be making a big investment in a brand campaign around their data protection program.

“That will benefit all the partners that affiliate themselves with us,” Guadagno stated.

They are also expecting big things from Carbonite Recover, their new DRaaS [Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service] offering that is being gradually rolled out.

“This is really important to us,” Guadagno said. “It came from the Double-Take acquisition, combined with our own work, and we launched it in December for a small number of customers. It is out there in the market, as we are testing it. We wanted to roll this out in a very thoughtful way, so we put it in the hands of some key customers, and will work closely with them to make sure it meets and exceeds their expectations.”

The plan is to roll it out during the year to larger and larger numbers of customers.

“It will help midmarket customers have critical systems available, will be easy to deploy and is at a reasonable price point for the midmarket,” he said. “This will expand our footprint in the market overall, so we want to get it right. We expect that in the second quarter, momentum should start to build, and then go gangbusters in the back half of the year.”

All these initiatives, Guadagno said, are helping finish the transformation of Carbonite from their origins as a provider of inexpensive backup services for consumers and mom and pop businesses, to a serious player in the commercial space.

“We have made significant progress in this,” he indicated. “We want to get people in business to see us as a relevant provider of business protection, and we measure it frequently in a number of different ways. At the same time, we aren’t there yet. That is why the new website, the new brand campaign, the new solutions and the new investment in our partners are so important, because they will get us all the way there.”

Guadagno also said that Carbonite is always looking for good new partners.

“We really believe if a channel partner hasn’t looked at Carbonite’s suite of products in a while, now’s the time to come back and look at us, because they may be very pleasantly surprised.”