Fishbowl Taps Traditional Channel To Tackle Midmarket

November 9, 2009

November 9, 2009
Company: Fishbowl
Headquarters: Orem, Utah
Technology Sector: Software
Key Product: Fishbowl Inventory
Year Founded: 2001
Number of Channel Partners: 400 in the U.S.
Ideal Channel Partner: SMB-focused solution providers

Why You Should Care: Fishbowl is looking for some proven solution providers to bring its inventory control software for Intuit's QuickBooks into the midmarket -- and this vendor's product is already good enough for NASA.

The Lowdown: Fishbowl has ambitions for more midmarket engagements with its inventory management portfolio for Intuit's Quick-Books, and the software vendor has a good idea how to make that happen -- through what the company calls the "traditional channel."

"What we have today is primarily a network of over 400 resellers, but they're not what you would classify as your classic VAR. They're more quid-pro-quo IT advisors, taking on a VAR role. In many cases we're the leading solution that they're out there selling," said Kirk Tanner, chief marketing officer at Fishbowl. "But we're moving into a more traditional channel. We're building relationships with bigger VARs and distributors," he added.

Tanner described Fishbowl's "sweet spot" as the manufacturing sector, followed closely by wholesalers, distributors and essentially any organization that counts itself as one of QuickBooks' seven million customers around the U.S. The company claims it is now "the No. 1 requested inventory solution for QuickBooks," and aims to give end-users enterprise- class inventory control.

To date, the company has had success targeting SMBs and the lower midmarket, according to Grant Kimball, vice president of partner relations at Fishbowl.

"For us, that's a company that does between $5 million and maybe $200 million a year on the very high end," Kimball said. As Fishbowl scales upward and outward with its customer base, the expertise of established IT solution providers becomes crucial, Tanner added. The vendor now engages customers ranging from universities to military weapons depots to NASA.

"The Johnson Space Center uses our software to barcode raw materials coming in that get turned into the final product going out that's taken to the International Space Station," Tanner said, with no small amount of pride. "We kind of stumbled into that one."

Both Tanner and Kimball stress Fishbowl's core value proposition -- and it's one that they acknowledge is on just about every vendor's lips in these tough economic times.

"Resellers are really interested in our new ROI tool. Our case studies show companies getting unbelievable ROI with our software. One pet product company in the upper Midwest estimated that they cut out 16 hours a day in operation time," said Kimball.

But will ROI remain first on buyers' minds in 2010? Tanner said he thinks "the majority of the industry is going to remain very concerned about it, even 18 months out."

"When times are good you can hide a multitude of mistakes and waste. In these times, to be a valid option for these companies, you've got to pay for yourself in a short amount of time. Some of our customers are breaking even in as little as two months," he said.

Posted by Damon Poeter at 1:00 PM

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