New Pivot3 head of sales Rance Poehler stresses channel affinity

Pivot3’s new Chief Revenue Officer says he will bring a startup mentality to Pivot3 to drive the company’s HCI business in both IT and physical security markets, and emphasizes the centrality of the channel to this.

Rance Poehler, Pivot3’s VP of global sales and CRO

Today Pivot3, which sells their hyperconverged solutions into both IT and physical security environments, is announcing the appointment of Rance Poehler as vice president of global sales and chief revenue officer. The job gives him the responsibility for running Pivot3’s global sales organization and executing on the company’s growth strategy. Two weeks on the job, Poehler is still working through the strategy, but he talked with ChannelBuzz about his general objectives, foundational principles, and how they relate to the company’s channel.

Poehler spent much of his career – over 22 years – at Panasonic, eventually becoming President of Panasonic System Communications Company’s North American division, a $1.1 billion B2B business. He also worked at Toshiba, IBM, and most recently Dell Technologies, where he worked with the old Wyse VDI group as VP of worldwide sales for the cloud client computing team. All these companies were similar in one fundamental way, which was very different from Pivot3. They were very, very big conglomerates.

“While I have worked for very large companies, I worked at smaller components within those companies which gave me the opportunity to build and scale,” Poehler said. “At IBM, it was the startup days of their PC business. Toshiba was the early laptop period. At Panasonic, we started from scratch in a very humble manner. When I left Dell, I was working with small and medium-sized companies to help them build and scale with VDI. I’ve repeatedly had a small  startup role in these bigger companies. At Panasonic, we went up against the monsters in the business with the Toughbook, and got an 80 per cent market share.”

Poehler said that he is a good cultural fit with Pivot3 and a big believer in their technology.

“At Dell, I ran a VDI specialty team and we were focused on the end-to-end solution, so  I worked with Nutanix and VxRail, Citrix, VMware and Microsoft, and I have the security background from my days at Panasonic. I understood Pivot3’s position – the performance levels, the density levels, the scalability. When I started understanding their IP I saw this company as having some unique positions in the market.”

Poehler emphasized that there is a lot of channel in his DNA.

“I’ve been a big believer in the channel  for many years,” he said. “I came to Panasonic from Toshiba to start a mobility company there, and a handful of us built it from scratch. I was initially VP of Marketing before I became president there. We started the Toughbook business there and we did 100 per cent of fulfilment through the channel, and never deviated from that channel strategy, and eventually integrated the security business and others in that one big company. I established  personal relationships with a lot of those channel players.”

Poehler also stressed that partners are fundamental to Pivot3.

“I’m a big believer in partnering to help expand end-to-end integration of solutions,” he said. “Pivot3 is a solutions company, so we need partners to work with us, and we are very heavy on our channel emphasis as a result. I want to build a series of long-term strategic relationships with channel partners. These will be focused, because our solutions are focused. A more broad-based partner may not appreciate what we do, but one that is more focused on certain verticals will.”

Pivot3 has a strong base in the surveillance space, and while physical security is converging into IT, the partner set in that part of the business is still substantially different.

“Partners in the surveillance space are different than our partners in HCI,” Poehler said. “In the enterprise space, the decisions around security the facility with analytics and things that use cameras are increasingly being made on the IT side. We would like to leverage more IT partners there, although due to the nature of the business, there will continue to be balance across both.”

Poehler noted that more strategic partnerships are a top priority.

“We already have ones with Lenovo and Dell and we will announce some with companies in the surveillance space,” he noted. “We have an opportunity to partner with some larger companies there, and we will be looking to fit niches where our solution works extremely well.”

Poehler also indicated that they would like to add some more quality partners.

“We would like to talk with VARs and integrators who didn’t have an ideal experience with some of these other companies in our space,” he said. “Our messaging to them is that we will be a very loyal company and dedicated to building long term channel relationships. That’s what I have done in the past.”