Kite Distribution Partner Story
Kuldip (“Kip”) Tumber is a founder and director of Kite Distribution, a UK-focused value-added distributor based in Leicester. Established in 2014, his firm specialises in bringing innovative and disruptive technologies to the UK channel. It’s one of the country’s fastest-growing mid-tier distributors.
Kip believes Kite’s growth is due to its focus on just a select few vendors, who provide mainly security-related products. Kite has eight vendors at present, including Cryoserver. The distributor helps us, along with system integrators, managed service providers (MSPs) and reseller partners, to sell our products and grow our businesses.
Cryoserver was the first vendor Kite signed, and the distributor has served us well. We now have contracts with a dozen partners through Kite.
We asked Kip to share his insights and views on building a successful partner channel.
Kip says: “Our aim was, and still is, to provide each of our vendor and reseller partners with a market-leading distribution engine for building incremental revenue that’s tailored to their business model.
“We didn’t have any products when we first started. We wanted to start with some that would allow us to have interesting conversations with resellers.”
How Kite chose its first vendors
There has always been a good business case for distributing or reselling an email archiving solution with a subscription-based model. Customers need to keep their emails for seven years, which means resellers can look forward to almost guaranteed recurring revenue from the solution. In contrast, selling servers, for example, resellers could make a margin only once every three to four years. When Kite started up in 2014, compliant archiving was a hot issue for customers.
Kip says: “Compliance was becoming more important at that time. We noticed there was more of an onus on end-users to do the right thing and be compliant. They needed good security hygiene and to be able to file data away so that it was readily accessible. We were noticing a big growth in that, and Cryoserver was in a great position to take advantage.
“Also, data sovereignty was a massive issue. What we were finding with cloud services was that people were saying, ‘Well, where’s the data stored?’
“This was a big deal for many end-users and resellers, because, when data was stored in U.S. data centres, the FBI said that they could access anything on American soil if they wanted to, and companies would have to make that data available to them. So, you had UK companies saying, ‘Our data is our data. Why should anybody have access to that? That’s our competitive advantage.’
“Nowadays, people are more aware of data sovereignty, especially since GDPR. They want to know where their data will be stored before choosing the service.”
Why Kite chose Cryoserver
While Cryoserver already had a UK distributor, Kip knew that they were not meeting our expectations. So we discussed the possibility of working together. He says:
“We [Kite] knew the channel manager at Cryoserver at the time, from her previous employment, and we were on the same page.
“Cryoserver had a really good presence in the market - very good brand recognition. When we met the team, we got a really good feel for the company. And they were a British company as well. Sometimes there are challenges when you are dealing with companies that are headquartered abroad, with time and currency differences and the data sovereignty issue. We could say, ‘Cryoserver is a British company, they’re storing data locally.’ "
Vendor chemistry and Kite’s growth
Kip says that succeeding in the channel depends on more than just great technology; your relationship with the vendor’s people is also important:
“Sometimes, you sell a technology, and you also look at the people you’re going to be dealing with, and you say, ‘Can we work with them?’ With Cryoserver, we definitely said, ‘Great technology, but also a great team that we’ll be able to get on with.’
“We’ve grown rapidly over the past six years – even in 2020, with COVID. Cryoserver has played an important part in that.”
Kite’s partnership with Cryoserver
Kip says that Cryoserver has a special place in Kite’s heart: “It was our first product signed when we launched the company, and effectively they took a leap of faith. We hope we have repaid that trust as the partnership heads into the seventh year.”
Why VARs are attracted to Cryoserver
Kip says VAR partners like how our email archiving solution can be deployed in different ways to suit their and customers’ different requirements:
“Recently, there’s been a different kind of reseller, which is a managed service provider (MSP). What they like is a different consumption model, such as a cloud service. What they don’t want to do is build out any hardware in their customers’ offices or headquarters. They want to be able to consume it all through the cloud, which means they don’t incur any costs for handling hardware. There’s also less likely to be interruption in the service by consuming a vendor’s cloud service.”
A benefit for VARs: multiple models
Kip says: “Luckily, with Cryoserver, you can buy it as hardware, you can buy it as software, you can buy it as a cloud service. So there’s different consumption models, which then allows us to go after different markets. Some end-users are still wary about moving to cloud, and they will prefer to just buy the hardware, or just buy the software and put it on their own VMware service.
“So, that’s one of the things that drew us to Cryoserver – that you could address unique parts of the market, and you wouldn’t have to pull out of opportunities because they insisted on buying hardware or cloud.”
What VARs think of Cryoserver
“Once we have sold Cryoserver to a reseller,” Kip says, “it’s very rare that they decide to rip it out and go with a competitor. Generally, Cryoserver has a very good standing in the channel. The feedback we get is that they like working with them. The product does what it says; it doesn’t try to make things overly complicated.
“Also, and importantly, they can potentially make more margin selling Cryoserver. That appeals greatly to resellers.”
Keeping customers’ goodwill
Kip says: “Some vendors force you to keep upgrading every couple of years, and keep paying more and more. That’s seen by the channel as being a little predatory. Once they have done the hard work of selling your product to the end users, they don’t want to come back the following year and say ‘actually you need to pay for this feature’ – this doesn’t go down well with resellers and end-users because they feel like they have been sold a bit of a lie.
“Cryoserver doesn’t do that."
“At Kite, we spend a lot of time trying to recruit resellers and engage with the vendor. We do marketing campaigns with them, and sometimes help them with pre-sale calls. All of that goodwill is going to go out of the window if we try to get another 10% out of them the following year when it comes to renewal.”
Kite likes to work with vendors who are straightforward and supportive of their partners. Kip says he and his team advise against profiteering practices such as those he’s noticed in 2020:
“When the pandemic began, many vendors changed their marketing, making the messaging all about working from home. If you’re a vendor that specialises in that market, I think you’ve got the high ground to talk about it. But if you’ve never mentioned it before and all of a sudden you’re doing it, that doesn’t look great.”
“We don’t have any of that kind of nonsense with Cryoserver. It’s very easy to deal with them.”
Helping partners make deals
“Sometimes,” Kip says, “there have been situations where the standard Cryoserver price list would not work for the customer budget. Cryoserver supported Kite to find creative solutions so that we could help the partner get the deal done.”
After signing up to an SaaS provider, no one wants to discover extra costs they weren’t told about at the start. Being clear on pricing is something Kite appreciates about Cryoserver. Kip says that several of his reseller partners have moved from a rival email archiving vendor to Cryoserver after discovering the other vendor’s hidden costs.
“Cryoserver is clean and simple,” he says. “You know where you stand with them.”
He’s also noticed other vendors using pricing in an underhand way to make it prohibitively expensive for customers to leave their service:
“Some vendors go, ‘What choice is a customer going to have to keep renewing with us?” Which, again, is quite predatory. Generally, they don’t have those conversations up front – the bad news will be buried somewhere in the small print, and it’s only when the customer is looking to move away that they find this out. At that stage, they’ve not budgeted to be able to pay a vendor to retrieve their data. It leaves a bad feeling when vendors operate that way.
“You just don’t have that with Cryoserver.”
Why Kite’s VAR partners stick with them
Kip says: “Our resellers know that if we go to them with a product and we are taking up their time, they are willing to listen to us because the last product we brought to them worked out well. In the early days, we do all the heavy lifting. We help them market it, we help them sell it, we help them do evaluations. They know that if we’re willing to go that extra mile and help them, we’re not just looking to back every horse in the market.”
Why distribute Cryoserver?
When asked if he would recommend Cryoserver to distributors outside his UK market, Kip says: “Yes, the product is designed to be very clear, logical and concise, and taps into an existing need. The return on investment for the customer is easily measurable as it helps with their compliance and keeps them in good standing with their respective industries’ regulatory authorities.”
Partner with Cryoserver
Are you a VAR, or a distributor outside the UK? If you’d like to see Cryoserver in action and discuss growing your business with our email archiving solution, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Email Robin Bingeman: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or call Robin on 1-866-894-9752Partner Stories