Riverbed Reach, which was announced at last year’s partner event, went live two months ago, and its enablement of partners’ digital value proposition efforts is already bearing fruit.
SANTA BARBARA CA – Last year, at their second annual partner summit in Arizona, Riverbed announced Riverbed Reach, a new program within their digital marketing strategy designed to enable partners’ own marketing efforts with customized digital content. The program went live in February 2017, and Riverbed is strongly encouraging partners to take advantage of its capabilities.
Subbu Iyer, Riverbed’s Chief Marketing Officer, laid out in some detail the principles behind Riverbed’s embracing of digital marketing last year, emphasizing why Riverbed thinks the company’s technology and focus lends itself well to this approach. This year, he stressed the results that has been achieved over the last twelve months.
“Digital marketing changes everything!” Iyer emphasized to partners in the opening keynote at the event. “We’ve learned that over the last year. 80 per cent of our leads now come through digital.”
Riverbed Reach, which is open to Riverbed’s Premier and Elite partners, is a key element of this digital strategy. The company has not abandoned traditional marketing efforts like trade shows, phone calls and round tables – although it is confining its efforts here largely to its own events. It does, however, have a clear ‘digital-first’ strategy.
Riverbed Reach emphasizes digital value proposition development, where partners get to develop their own value proposition, taking their own proposition and embedding Riverbed within it. Success with this embedded solutions strategy requires Riverbed enabling partners to develop their own value proposition.
“Our focus here is helping partners drive consumption of the services and solutions they have built on Riverbed,” said Danister de Almeida, Riverbed’s VP of Global Channel Marketing. “They need to see a return on their investment. We have to drive that consumption. As a rider to that, we want to make sure we are able to give them, not just the customer-facing interface, but the ability to communicate this to customers. We always knew developing solutions pieces that their own sales guys can digest is key to success here. Otherwise all we do by Riverbed generating leads is a waste if someone can’t close those deals.”
Customization of messaging to individual partners’ specific value propositions is core to the program.
“Riverbed Reach is all about creating individualized value propositions,” de Almeida said. “In the messaging, the specific vale proposition and the competitive differentiation are up front, and we craft the digital content accordingly. Partners have thanked us for not forcing them to use templated ‘one size fits all’ assets, and allowing them to develop customized messaging.” That message is backed by Riverbed’s automation tools, so that partners can track and see the results of the initiatives.
Localization of the Riverbed Reach program is critical to success. Its first pilots took place in Korea, Australia, Brazil and Argentina, even before the U.S. pilot that began last summer.
“The extra fine-tuning that we need in local markets like Japan as we go forward was why the program took until February of this year to go live,” de Almeida said.
Since the program launched two months ago, 23 Riverbed partners have enrolled.
“We have 118 focused partners eligible for the program, and in two months, a quarter of them have already signed up, which we are happy with,” de Almeida said. “We presented two case studies at the event showing that we are already seeing a pipeline from these efforts. This doesn’t just mean inquiries or prospects showing interest, but customers saying that yes, we have the budget for this. We have pipelines to a couple of million dollars in sales directly attributable to Riverbed Reach.”
De Almeida said that Riverbed Reach is being applied in three specific areas.
“One is simply extending the reach of partners’ own marketing function,” he said. “Another is collaborating with the Concierge of Riverbed Reach to develop content and their own marketing messaging, so that they don’t have to sit and write the content themselves.” He noted that even large partners like BT and Dimension Data, with substantial resources, are doing this.
“The third element is solutions development for the sales teams,” de Almeida added. “How does a sales guy take the conversation from optimization, to visibility, to SD-WAN, to reducing the complexity of IT at the branch level with SteelFusion? It helps them develop those outcomes based on business-focused messaging.”
DeAlmeida also indicated that while Riverbed Reach is largely digital, it isn’t limited to just supporting cloud initiatives.
“We understand that partners have their own business models,” he said. “If you are still an on-prem partner, we can support that with Riverbed Reach. There will always be partners operating in the traditional resale space. At the other end, if you are a cloud-focused partner and everything is all on Azure, we can give you messaging for that too. We are able to support the full spectrum.”
De Almeida thinks that the biggest benefit of Riverbed Reach will, however, come from cloud-focused messaging.
“I believe the greatest benefit from this could be around cloud-based benefits because those are more complex messages,” he said. “It’s all about digital disruption.”