Veeam CEO says aggressive strategic partnering strategy central to recent – and future – growth

Veeam CEO Peter McKay credited Veeam’s expansion of their strategic relationships as critical to their success in 2017, and indicated they plan significant further expansion here going forward.

Peter McKay, Veeam’s co-CEO

CHICAGO – At their 2018 VeeamON event here, Veeam was able to recount an impressive list of trumps over the past year. They hit $827 million in 2017 bookings. They posted 36 per cent growth, and hit the 300,000 customer mark. They also recorded a +73 Net Promoter score – for the second year in a row – a number that is over three times the industry average.

“We feel very strongly about this,” said Peter McKay, Veeam’s co-CEO. “We believe our growth is driven by our Net Promoter score.”

McKay also emphasized the role of Veeam’s strategic alliances in generating this growth. Strategic alliances have always been a part of Veeam’s go-to-market strategy, but over the last two years, Veeam has been making a concerted effort to both expand and deepen them, which began to bear real fruit in the latter part of 2017.

“A big part of our growth is what we are doing with alliances,” he stated. “Two years ago, we started to invest more in the ecosystem. These alliances used to be just technical. But in the last two years, we have up-levelled that with more joint go-to-market. It started with HPE, who put us on their global pricelist, allowing their channel to also sell us as part of an integrated sale. We then established a broader relationship with Microsoft and IBM Cloud, and announced resell partnerships with NetApp and Cisco. Two new partnerships, with Pure Storage and Nutanix, are off to unbelievable results.”

INFINIDAT is another of these new partnerships.

“INFINIDAT has historically worked with our competition, and they realized that not only are we better,  but that we are half the price,” said Carey Stanton, Veeam’s Vice President of Global Business and Corporate Development.

Stanton detailed the way in which Veeam’s long-time alliances have evolved.

“We’ve had these partnerships at the technical integration level, where we also would do things like joint marketing, and attending trade shows,” he said. “What we did not have is Business Development Managers [BDMs], product marketing strategies and field plans – where we did a joint business plan to drive, say  $50 million in bookings for Veeam and $250 million in hardware and services with HPE. That kind of thing was never there before. We now have dedicated BDMs who carry quotas.

New resources, in the form of leaders at Veeam responsible for running these major relationships with key vendors, have been added, all within the last nine months, and mostly within Q4 of last year.

“The leaders running these major relationships are all net new resources,” Stanton said. “For example, we have a $25 million bookings target with Cisco. The person running that relationship for us knows how to build a marketing plan, knows how to increase rep productivity. That kind of muscle is all new to these relationships. Our competitors also have strategies to develop these relationships, but no one else has been able to add this level of new investment, in the form of these dedicated resources, as us.”

“We have also broadened the scope to everything technical across the alliances,” said Ken Ringdahl, Veeam’s VP Global Alliance Architecture. “We are expanding solution architectures with new resources. We also added a program management function, and launched Veeam Ready 2.0.”

McKay said that while the way in which expansion of these alliances took place varied by vendor, they all wound up fulfilling similar conditions.

“Some of them started at the executive level, and some started at the sales level, but all progressed to the point where you have the executive relationships aligned, the sales teams engaged, and the R&D teams connected,” he said. “To have a material effect, you need to have all three of these things to connect.”

McKay said that a large part of Veeam’s recent growth came from these alliances.

“They are bringing us and our partners into new customers that we never had before,” he said. “This time next year will see another key wave of partnerships, will be the next wave of expanding into the enterprise. We have the most powerful ecosystem of any software company in the world.”

So what might this new wave of partnerships be?

“We work closely with IBM in the cloud, but not in compute, storage or services,” he said. “We would like to expand those relationships,” he said. “We compete with Dell EMC on the backup side, [particularly around Avamar], but there is that same opportunity to build a relationship around their compute, storage and services capabilities.”

“There are other partners who want to be more integrated on a route to market with Veeam than they currently are,” Stanton said. “We are working with partners to be tighter integrated on a broader set of solutions. For example, with HPE, we work with 3PAR, Nimble and SimpliVity, but there are other areas where we can work with them.”

“We have had huge inbound requests from other vendors to create PBBAs [purpose-built backup appliances],” Stanton added. “You will hear more about that, especially as we expand more into specific verticals, like health care. There are other ways to simplify these sales motions as well.”

Ringdahl also noted that while Veeam has built a very deep strategic partner ecosystem, today it is primarily with infrastructure vendors.

“Where there is a lot of room for expansion, is with the ISVs, like SAP,” he said.