Paragon Software Leverages Channel for SMB Sales

The California software vendor builds channel relationships in an effort to win more small and midsize business customers. The company released a hard-drive management tool to aid that effort.

December 18, 2008

Jeff Goldman

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Since its launch earlier this year, Paragon Software Group has used its channel partner program to make inroads into the small and midsize business (SMB) space, according to Steve Young, Paragon's director of channel sales. “We still have the CDWs, the PC Malls, the Insights, but their orders are going down because we’re pushing to the SMB VARs,” Young said.

As part of its channel SMB focus, Paragon, an Irvine, CA.-based vendor that offers data security and data management solutions, introduced early in December a comprehensive tool to better manage hard drives. The Hard Disk Manager 2009 Suite provides a single interface for partitioning, cloning, backup, recovery, hard drive disposal, system management, defragging, and wiping.

The product comes in three distinct editions, with the Server Edition designed for the specific need of the SMB market to manage the hard drive through every stage of its lifecycle. Young said VARs have been seeking such an integrated tool for the SMB space.

“Our VARs have emphasized that it is essential that they have a single integrated tool to protect, maintain and manage the hard drive assets of their SMB customers," he explained  "We are now making this solution available, and we’re getting great feedback from our channel partners.”

Through Paragon's Alliance Partner Program, channel partners can provide  managed services to business customers and offer infrastructure design and implementation services in data-critical verticals such as finance, healthcare, government and education.

As the company targets competitors like Acronis and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), it is promising higher margins to its channel partners and pledging stronger partner incentive programs.

Young said Paragon also benefits from a straightforward product license renewal process. “The renewal process for Symantec is very difficult, and ours is very easy – it’s basically, pick up the phone and call us,” he said. “And we will not go after the customers… we like to think that the vendor owns the VARs, but the VARs own the customers.”

That attitude, Young said, extends to all aspects of the partner program. “We’re not just saying, ‘Hey, here’s our program,’ and leaving, like the big guys do. We have calls set with all of our VARs every week to touch base, talk about the pipeline, talk about some of the challenges that they’re having, help them overcome objections, and see if we can get on the phone with them and close the business,” he said.

Joint-call campaigns are a key asset for the company’s VARs, Young says. “I send my reps to their place… and they call their customers together. They introduce Paragon, and Paragon then will pitch the product to them," said Young, adding that it is unusual for a large vendor to provide that kind of hands-on service.

Young said Paragon’s flexibility is another key strength, helping it land clients like the city of Houston when officials there became dissatisfied with a competitor's ability to solve a problem. “They came to us, and in a week-and-a- half we custom-built a product for them, and they bought it.”

Young said one significant change made to the partner program since its start this past summer was lowering some deal registration prices. "We had it at $2,500 or higher, and we lowered it to $1,000 because the VARs that we talked to said ‘Can you lower that price?’ We’re not set in stone. We hear what the partners say, we change it, and we do it quickly.”

Paragon often has pursued pursue VARs from competing vendors. One example is Continental Resources, which sold about $1 million annually with a competing vendor before signing with Paragon. The move paid off, according to Continental Resources Applications Engineer Chris Hubert.

 “It’s been positive from day one,” he said. “We came to them in a pinch because we had bought some software from a competitor, and it wasn’t working in a RAID environment despite the fact that they said it would. When we came to Paragon, theirs worked right out of the box."


TAGS: server,SMB,data security,managed services,Paragon Software

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