Paragon Software Targets VARs to Expand U.S. Business

Tom Fedro, president of Paragon’s Americas division, said the company intends to shift from its current business model, under which the majority of sales go through its online store, to one in which all sales move through the channel.

Paragon Software Group recently launched its new Paragon Partner Program targeting VARs that sell to SMB and mid-enterprise markets. The company, founded in Germany in 1994, sells its data security and data management products in 150 countries and in 30 languages. U.S. offices opened in February of this year.

Tom Fedro, president of Paragon’s Americas division, said the key aim of the new program is to expand the company’s presence locally. “We’ve done a great deal in online business in Europe, Russia and Asia as well as here in the United States, but the clear focus for us, to get to a big company, is through the channel, through value added resellers, managed service providers, and some selected distributors."

In the process, Fedro added, the company intends to shift from its current business model, under which the majority of sales are made directly through its online store, to one in which all sales go through the channel. “We believe the only way for us to become a large company is to go through the channel… twelve months is the target. We hope to do it sooner,” he said.

And Fedre is working hard to reach potential partners. “We know exactly who we need to contact,” he explained. “We’re going after folks through every method we can from a marketing perspective, through public relations, through trade shows, through webinars – every vehicle we can use to touch these guys. We’re all over it.”

Fedro said the software itself is a key asset. “PC Magazine did a great article in the first quarter where they did a deep dive on drive imaging and backup – they looked at all the major vendors, and of course Acronis and Symantec were in there – and we came out ahead of those guys as far as the technical capabilities of our product,” he said.

Another key differentiator for the program, Fedro added, is the support that’s available to partners. “When these guys have issues or questions or installation problems, we’re here to talk to them. We don’t put them through a seven-layer phone tree to get to a human being. We pick up the phone. And we’ll continue to grow that side of our business as we sign up more VARs.”

In targeting potential VARs, company Channel Sales Manager Steve Young said he’s looking for partners that want to work collaboratively with Paragon. “I’m not looking to go after the CDWs of the world. Granted, they’re a great reseller and we would take them on, but I want the VARs that are actually out there talking to the end users and putting us into their business every day,” he said.

And one way to do that, according to Young, is to target the VARs that are currently working with Acronis. “They know the space, they’re selling it today,  and we want to give them… a better product, better margins and better service,” he said. “We’re making it known that we want to go after those VARs, because they’re making Acronis very successful today.

The Paragon partner program has two tiers, Standard and Alliance, with two levels within each tier. It’s the higher of the two tiers, Young said, that really stands out. “There’s an annual volume commitment there, they get MDF funds, they have access to our partner portal, and on our partner portal, they’ll be able to cut their NFR serial numbers, and they’ll be able to do deal registration and get an upfront discount,” he explained.

Alliance partners also have access to sales training, as well as technical certification at the top-tier level. “The technical certification will be an online class. It’s not going to be dramatically technical like a Cisco certification, but it’s up to where they understand Paragon, understand our products, understand implementation, and understand installation,” Young said.

Looking forward, Young intends to keep the program as flexible as possible. “We wrote a very simple program, and we did that on purpose because we know the program’s going to change,” he said. “We want to adapt our program to what our partners want. The channel changes, sometimes on a dime, and you’ve got to be able to adapt and change with it.”

Fedro said the potential market is huge. “Some of the competition, when they state their number of customers in the SMB, it’s 20,000 to 30,000,” he said. “Then you look at the overall number, and there’s some 8 million SMB and SOHO opportunities out there. So we’re just scratching the surface. We’ll be sitting in the market for quite some time, just mining the opportunity there and growing the business that way

TAGS: security,SMB,data security,VARs,channel

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