Networking Vendor D-Link Teases Channel Program ImprovementsBy Jessica Davis | Print
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Three months after a reorganization at the top combined its Americas organization, D-Link executives are talking about the networking company's renewed focus on its reseller channel partners. Plans include a new partner portal, new incentives and marketing dollars, plus new recruitment efforts. D-Link has also hired a new field marketing team, led by a former ViewSonic channel executive.
Three months after a reorganization at the top combined the Americas organization of networking vendor D-Link, executives from the 100 percent channel company say efforts are under way to energize the company’s channel organization.
That will come in the form of a new partner portal, additional incentives, partner recruitment efforts and loyalty programs, says Betsy Roddy, D-Link’s new director of field marketing. Roddy, a 15-year channel veteran who got her start at ViewSonic, says that her first focus will be a revamp of the partner portal, and channel partners can catch a first glimpse of that in the fourth quarter.
But those changes are part of an overall shift in strategy for D-Link, says Dan Kelley, senior director of marketing at the company. D-Link has a challenge to rise above the reputation it has as primarily a retail player in North America and spread the word that it also offers technologies used by midmarket and enterprise business customers as well.
"One of the biggest challenges we have to face is changing the perception that D-Link is a retail play," Roddy tells Channel Insider. "We have great solutions for the enterprise market. VARs have been surprised by our level of offerings. Our challenge is to be sure our existing customer base understands the high-end technology that we have to offer."
And the technology is just one piece of it. Roddy is leading a brand-new team in field marketing that did not exist before, says Kelley, reflecting the company’s renewed focus on better marketing itself.
"We have made improvements to our sales structure with more feet out on the street out in the field," he tells Channel Insider. "We’re more solutions-focused in terms of attacking verticals. We are hiring players we know will get us to the next level."
And while Roddy was not ready to commit to any changes in incentives for the company’s 4,000 to 5,000 channel partners in North America, she said that announcements should be forthcoming in Q4 and will include the new partner portal and "compelling promotions to add to partners’ bottom line."
Roddy says her tenure at ViewSonic included launching all that company’s channel programs and developing one of the first partner portals in the industry before such portals were common in vendor programs. She says her big challenges at ViewSonic included improving communications with channel partners because the company was so distribution-centric.
She hopes to take those lessons to D-Link as she works on the company’s new partner portal. On the feature list for the portal are deal registration, partner feedback mechanisms, certification and training for high-end products, marketing tools, and a streamlined process for handling demo units.
Not all these features will be ready for the Q4 launch, however, she says. Rather, the launch will come in two phases—the first in Q4 and Phase Two likely coming in the second quarter of 2010, says Roddy.