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Going for (White)Gold

20 Nov 2012

Richard Crabb talks to Heather Wright about WhiteGold Solutions’ plans for the local market as the company opens its first New Zealand office and warehouse.

After 25 years in the IT industry, Richard Crabb says his strengths include a wealth of contacts and experience.

And, in his new role as New Zealand and Pacific Islands country manager for WhiteGold Solutions, Crabb will be calling on both that experience and the contacts as he works to replicate the Australian company’s successful unified value distribution model here.

The model is a hybrid between broad-based and niche distribution, providing a wider set of technologies through one distribution vehicle while also providing value-add through pre- and post-sales technical support, training and professional services.

Crabb’s previous positions include a stint with Brightstar, where he was ICT and unified comms manager, and a period as New Zealand country manager for Distribution Central. Spells at Network Pro and Expert Solution Providers are also on his resume.

He says being an Australasian distributor, WhiteGold has the benefit of being flexible and nimble – “We don’t have to deal with all the bureaucracy that the larger distributors often do” – while also having the vendor benefits afforded to a company operating across both New Zealand and Australia. “We will be absolutely hands on and we will be nimble,” he says.

While WhiteGold Solutions has sold into New Zealand and the Pacific Islands for some time, it has had a limited number of vendors for this market, and Crabb’s appointment, and the opening of its first local office, is its first significant play for this market.

“It’s vital to develop relationships for the long term,” Crabb says of his strategy for New Zealand. “It’s not our strategy to go out and sell to anybody and everybody. I will be building relationships with resellers where the vendor fit is right. And that’s about understanding where the vendor sits and taking them to resellers who you know can sell and support the product.

“It has to be a good fit and that’s where experience counts.”

Crabb says his key focus at the moment is ‘serious reseller recruitment’, something he expects to be focusing on through to Christmas.

“I’m putting my sales hat on and getting resellers on board. I’ve been in the industry 25 years so I know a lot of people and I know people buy from people they trust and have a relationship with.”

Vendor offerings

He says the distributor will bring with it vendor relationships not previously seen in New Zealand.

The company’s portfolio covers security, networking, storage and VoIP offerings with key vendors including Aastra Telecom, Arbor Networks, D-Link, Exinda, Vasco and WatchGuard.

The company has on-boarded Fortinet, Barracuda, Allied Telesis, Kaspersky, FireEye, Solera, nCircle, Meraki and Zscaler in New Zealand. Three of the vendors are new to the country. Crabb says WhiteGold will bring more vendors on board locally early next year.

He says WhiteGold will be holding stock locally with the Albany offices having a warehouse attached. Stock from Fortinet, Allied Telesis and Barracuda was among the first to arrive.

Paula Agnew, previously with Westcon Group, has been employed as internal sales support, with a sales engineer also expected to be appointed soon.

Crabb says training events for New Zealand resellers are likely to be held from the beginning of next year.

Growth accelerator

Dominic Whitehand, WhiteGold managing director, says the opening of the new office is ‘a significant growth accelerator’ for WhiteGold. “We are taking the move seriously – investing in premises, people and systems to provide a customer experience consistent with our Australian operation.

“We see tremendous opportunity in building a solid local operation in the region to add to the overall growth & success of WhiteGold...”

WhiteGold grew its business 38% year-on-year as at 30 June, and Leigh Howard, WhiteGold strategic advisor – and ex-Westcon – says the Kiwi move will be a cornerstone in the company achieving a target of more than double that growth over this financial year.

Says Crabb: “There’s a lot of business to be done here and in the Pacific Islands.”