He’s just 10 days into the job as NetEnrich‘s senior vice-president and general manager and, already, Justin Crotty admits the company needs to do a better job of marketing and branding itself.
Crotty came to NetEnrich after more than a 10-year tenure with Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM), where he most recently served as the distributor’s vice-president of services for North America. One of his most notable accomplishments at Ingram was leading the launch of the distributor’s Seismic offering of hosted managed services.
The decision to leave Ingram and move to San Jose, Calif.-based NetEnrich was based on timing and opportunity, Crotty said.
“It was the right time to try and run a small company,” Crotty said. “When I was at Ingram, I got to know the NetEnrich co-founders through their relationship with us, since they were a partner of ours.”
NetEnrich is an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) company that targets customers in the SMB space. The company also conducts 100 per cent of its deals thru distribution and channel partners, Crotty said.
At NetEnrich, Crotty’s responsibilities include sales, marketing, product development, overseeing alliances with partners such as Ingram, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions and N-able and also growing the company’s channel base.
CDN had the opportunity to speak with Crotty recently to discuss his thoughts about the company, where his focus and efforts lie short-term and also to discuss the channel and company plans.
CDN: Having worked at Ingram for many years, what experiences do you bring to NetEnrich?
Justin Crotty: Since I worked at Ingram for12 years, I know how to leverage distribution to its full capacity. I think a lot of vendors don’t fully understand and know how to do that. I also understand what distribution is and what it isn’t and I have a realistic view of what distributors can do well and what they struggle with. I also bring with me a lot of relationships with VARs and vendors. Ingram is our largest partner and largest customer and most of our SMB business goes thru them. We recently hired a senior sales executive located in California who will work with Ingram and their sales team. The focus will be on providing resources and expertise to distribution and providing dedicated support.
CDN: What’s NetEnrich’s value proposition?
J.C.: NetEnrich is really a virtual IT operations delivery organization for VARs that are in managed services today and for VARs trying to scale into managed services. The problem that many VARs face is when they buy tools from vendors, they don’t create the service so VARs have to marry those tools with things like processes and staffing levels in order to move from a reactive services model to a proactive one. That transition is very difficult because VARs have to staff people to monitor the infrastructure 24/7, and that’s often costly and time consuming. At NetEnrich, we can provide that virtual operation support at a fraction of the cost. Our offerings also let partners make a lot of margin on services.
CDN: What’s been keeping you busy at NetEnrich these days?
J.C.: I knew NetEnrich really well since they’re a partner with Ingram but I needed to understand the roles with sales, marketing, and internal operations. I’ve also been talking to customers and understanding how NetEnrich manages the sales team and how they operate.
CDN: Now that you’ve come on board, what improvements would you like to make at NetEnrich?
J.C.: We have to do a better job marketing to our target market, which is the SMB channel. We need to make NetEnrich a more prominent household brand that’s also viewed as a very high quality and cost effective brand. A lot of Ingram VARs understand who we are but the brand recognition isn’t quite there yet. We have to do some work with branding and getting VARs comfortable with our value proposition. We’ll be much more aggressive with our outbound messaging and branding outside of the Ingram brand. We’ll also provide a higher level of sales support to the Ingram sales organization to help get our value proposition in front of customers. We’re 100 per cent channel, so the brand of the VAR is something we care about and we’re here to support them.
CDN: How many partners does NetEnrich have and how will you grow your partner base?
J.C.: Overall, through the Ingram SMB channel, we’ve got several hundred partners that are on NetEnrich platforms. We want to get as many partners in as we can and we want to be the leading provider in the SMB channels. Ingram is our SMB channel so their ability to acquire partners and bring them to us is paramount to that strategy. We’ll also drive partner acquisition ourselves and we’ll drive all that business thru our distribution partners.
Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.