New North American channel chief at CommVault

After four-months of not having a full-time designated North American channel chief, CommVault(NASDAQ: CVLT), an Oceanport, N.J.-based data management and protection vendor, announced earlier this month Mark Conley, as its new director of North American channel sales.

Ron Miiller, vice-president of sales for the Americas at CommVault, said Steve Matheson held the role of North American channel chief previously to Conley, who joined CommVault last month. Matheson left CommVault this past April, where he now holds the position of vice-president of North American sales at Bridgehead Software, a Surrey, U.K.-based backup and archive software vendor for mid-to large-sized enterprises. In the few months leading up to Conley joining the CommVault leadership team, Miiller stepped into the channel chief role in the interim.

“I took the 60-90 days to immerse myself back into the channel operations to understand where we were and to get feedback from our partners,” Miiller said. “This also included the time when we went through our candidate search for the director of North American channel sales.”

Conley’s industry experience spans the past 25 years, where he recently, held a channel resources management position for

Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA). Before working at CommVault, Conley also held positions at Cap Gemini, Novell and Storage Technology.

While only in his new role at CommVault for a little over a month now, Conley says he hasn’t found a lot of things “broke” with CommVault’s channel community.

Conley’s four main priorities now with CommVault’s channel are to enhance the company’s channel programs, to improve communications to the channel by having more two-way conversations with partners, to focus company resources on its most important partners, and lastly, to aggressively capture, compile, analyze and improve on key performance indicators with its channel community.

“Channel partners are happy with our programs,” Conley said. “Our North American channel population looks to be above 200 and less than 300 and if I were to break that down for Canada, we’ve got about 30.”

Conley says CommVault sees opportunities to go after dealers such as VMware resellers who haven’t really sold CommVault products in the past.

“This is what we call our two-pronged approach,” Conley said. “The other prong of our approach is to look at large organizations that CommVault hasn’t had a strategic relationship with before. We want to build business plans with them.”

Miiller estimates about 68 per cent of CommVault’s overall U.S. revenue to have been driven through the channel last year. With Conley on board now, the goal, he says, is to increase that percentage to at least 75 per cent. To do this, Miiller says CommVault wants to attract new partners and wants to also transition more customer accounts to its value-added reseller (VAR) community. Miiller said CommVault’s also making increased investments with its U.S. distribution value-added distributor partner Alternative Technology, Inc.

“We’ve trained around 12-15 of their technical folks throughout the U.S.,” Miiller said. “Alternative Technologies also offers partners access to their pre and post-technical resources to help VARs become successful.”

In the coming weeks, Conley says CommVault will be introducing changes to its partner programs. He hints at one change being better differentiation of the channel tiers within the program and more predictability for partners involved in the program.

Long-term, Miiller says over the next 12 months, partners should expect to see a change in the way CommVault markets its products through the channel community.

“Mark and I need to weave the channel community through our marketing efforts,” he said. “This will take a bit of time, but we will focus on thinking of ways of how we can pull the channel community into the CommVault solution stack.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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