New Komprise CRO reworks Go-to-Market to strengthen channel

The big changes involve making the whole Go-to-Market strategy more systematic, and include the addition of an internal sales team to work with partners, but some enhancements have been made to the partner program as well to make it more effective.

Mike Munoz, CRO at Komprise

Last August, Mike Munoz joined Komprise as the company’s first ever Chief Revenue Officer. Since then he has made major changes to Komprise’s Go-to-Market strategy, to establish a more systematic strategy for growth in the sales organization, which includes making the channel more effective and committed sellers.

“When I join an organization, it’s because it’s one of two situations,” said Munoz, who held CRO positions at Opsramp and Skyhigh Networks before joining Komprise. “One is that the company is just getting started and they want to fill a leadership role at the C level to create a Go-to-Market motion. That’s what I did at Nimble and Data Domain. The second situation is companies that tried to do that, and are not that successful, and are looking to make changes.”

Komprise fit into that second category.

“Komprise has been selling and having some success, but I don’t think they really had built a plan for the Go-to-Market, and that’s why they needed to make a change, and that’s why I was brought in, to build a more programmatic approach to growing this company,” Munoz explained.

“Komprise has an outstanding technology, and a wonderful customer base that continues to consume and expand,” he said. “Our technology does what we promised it would do, which is rare, quite frankly, in a young company. But we hadn’t done a good job of creating a foundation for growth in a sales organization – such as the productivity level to expect when you drop a new sales person in a territory. What will it mean to get productive, and how long will it take. How do you model that? And how do you feed them productively? All of these things are interlinked but it has to be built programmatically, and you need to know these things to scale properly. The company hadn’t done that.  They had good conversations but didn’t know if they were meeting metrics. It was all anecdotal at best.”

Munoz has rethought and restructured the sales organization to bring the needed focus into the mix.

“I’m building a bottom-up sales strategy, which is learning how to use marketing effectively, how to have a community of sellers, and how to get them productive,” he said. It’s all about building a more process-oriented sales model. This is part of the reason we’ve gone to the partner base heavily.”

That need for a more prescriptive sales model required some changes in channel strategy. Komprise had a 100% channel model before, and that hasn’t changed. But it has been fine-tuned, including the addition of an internal sales team to work with partners and make them more motivated and more effective.

“There was a partner program in place, but it was basically contracts that people signed, and then we said, ‘where’s the business,’” Munoz said. “That’s not a channel program. The channel is fickle. They have a lot on their line cards. So to get their attention, we need to feed them. That happens slowly, using that to drive sales, but there is osmosis. We will drive our own marketing programs there, fill our funnel and ask them to sell with us. We will ask for reciprocation, and see who is interested and work closely with them, and they will become an extension of us.”

Services will be a domain for partners, not Komprise, Munoz emphasized.

“The partner base understands how to build a cloud centric model with services attached to it,” he said. “I would love for partners to do those services. I want it to be like ServiceNow with many services around the platform.”

Munoz also stressed that all the changes are designed to make the channel more effective.

“We are 100% committed to partners,” he said. “We won’t get to 100% because of legacy customers, but we can get close. We can recognize when the cream recognizes to the top and we will treat them differently.”

The program in place today is the same Komprise Konnect partner program launched in 2017. It’s a single tier program, although Munoz said that’s extremely likely to change as that cream of the partners rises to the top. Some enhancements to elements of the program have been made now, however.

While new online training modules have been added, as well as instructor-led training courses in Europe and Asia Pacific, a particular focus has been on upgrading the training modules for cloud data management and cloud data migration.

“This comes from our having enhanced the cloud product considerably,” Munoz said. “Before we could move data from the data centre into the cloud. Now we can move it between clouds and between tiers within clouds. That makes it much more attractive for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud to work with us. They have a partner now who gives them ability to suck data from each other. We are developing deeper relationships with their partners, which look different from our traditional partner base. That is where we are spending a lot of energy right now.”

The partner portal has also been upgraded.

“We put a lot more data in the portal for partners to be self-sufficient, and we have priced things so that they don’t have to renegotiate a deal after it’s registered,” Munoz stated. “We aren’t in that haggling game. We’ve built a low friction model.

“We also now have a process where we guarantee response from our inside sales team,” Munoz pointed out. “I didn’t even have an inside sales team before. I just built this. There’s a lot more motion in the background now behind the registration than there was before. We are taking a much more collaborative approach.”

A TCO calculator has been added to the portal to show partners how to easily estimate how much their customers can save with Komprise.

A new temporary program, Fast Finish, has also been created to reward partners for bringing in new leads before the end of the year

“This is something that wasn’t in place before,” Munoz indicated. “It’s a temporary program to show partners that we want to have discussions. Since we are hiring new people and doing a lot of top of funnel stuff, we want to come out of the gate fast in the new year. So we are rewarding partners to bring us leads to put in the funnel at the end of this year, and will give them additional margin if the leads are closed.”

An MDF program is also being put together, which will be a first for Komprise.

“It is in the process of being formalized and we are talking with the partner base about how to do it, but we are looking to fund it in the near future,” Munoz said.