Software maker Paragon Software Group has a new channel manager, Koka Sexton, who joined the company in June with the sole responsibility of building Paragon's channel partner program. Sexton previously served as channel business development manager for Acronis Inc.
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Sexton said his plan at Paragon is to reach out to current value-added reseller (VAR) and systems integrator partners to make sure that they're well-trained on the company's products and to recruit new channel partners in key geographical areas. The backup and disaster recovery software vendor, which has a channel-only distribution model, has a two-level partner program, with 28 Elite-level partners and 77 Premium-level partners now in the program.
"Most companies use a cookie-cutter approach to their partner programs, and in the ever-changing channel ecosystem, this is not a successful model to follow," Sexton said. "I expect to change the way resellers view their vendors … by making it a primary focus to develop and train each of our partners and setting them up to be successful with our products."
He says Paragon's future channel partner recruitment efforts won't hinge on a certain number. "I'd rather have a lower number of good partners than a big number of not-so-good partners," he said. Competitors, he said, oftentimes focus on the top 5% of their partners.
Paragon's Premium-level channel partners get a 25% discount off list price, with an additional 10% discount through deal registration. Elite-level partners have access to a 35% discount off list price, with an additional 10% discount. Premium-level partners also get pre-sales and technical support, sales and technical training, and market development funds (MDF). Elite-level channel partners get those same benefits plus lead generation, co-branded marketing efforts and competitive-sales incentives.