AMD has hired former Tech Data executive Marty Bauerlein to lead the chipmaker’s North American value-added reseller business in a bid to dial up the competition against Intel and other rivals in the enterprise, midmarket and SMB segments.
Bauerlein started Monday as head of North America commercial VARs for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker, and he will report to Terry Richardson, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise veteran who was hired as AMD’s North America channel chief in March, CRN has exclusively learned.
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In an interview with CRN, Bauerlein said he will lead efforts in expanding AMD’s footprint with VARs in the enterprise, midmarket and SMB segments. He said this expansion, which will include working alongside AMD’s OEM partners, is part of a commitment to the channel that AMD CEO Lisa Su and other executives laid out in CRN’s December 2020 cover story.
“They’ve already expanded their market share, and they have a lot of momentum in the market right now, and they want to continue to press all markets and leapfrog the competition and really have a better coverage model at the end of the day,” he said. “Your coverage model presents a huge advantage if you do it right, and that‘s one of the reasons they’re bringing me in.”
Bauerlein previously spent 16 years at IT distributor Tech Data, which merged with Synnex in September to become the industry’s largest IT distribution company. Before his departure in May, he was senior vice president of North American sales for more than three years. Prior to his time at Tech Data, he spent 12 years at another major IT distributor, Ingram Micro.
Ken Lamneck, president and CEO of Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight Enterprises, No. 14 on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500 list, said AMD’s hiring of Bauerlein is a “very positive sign” of the chipmaker’s growing commitment to the channel.
“If there’s somebody that understands the channel, it’s Marty,” said Lamneck, who is retiring at the end of the year. “So I think really understanding the nuts and bolts of how things get done and what’s important to the VAR, how they position their programs to the sales teams, he’s got great expertise in those areas. And he’s incredibly well connected with all the VARs.”
Lamneck said AMD has done the “smart thing” in building its channel team by hiring Richardson, a channel executive with decades of OEM experience, and complementing that with Bauerlein, who has worked with VARs for decades from a distribution perspective.
“They’ve really balanced it out because Terry had a very good channel background, but it was always from the OEM perspective, which is really Important to bring that credibility to AMD and how to deal with the channel,” he said. “Marty brings it from working at Ingram for so long and then Tech Data for so long that he’s dealing directly with the VARs on a very daily basis. So he brings in another different sort of perspective and point of view to really balance out how they go to market.”
As the new head of AMD’s North America VAR business, Bauerlein said he will inherit an existing team and expand it in tandem with the chipmaker’s coverage model for VARs. This means providing VARs with “more technical resources, better programs and differentiated programs.” It will also involve working with distributors to reach a broader swath of “unmanaged” VARs in the SMB market.
Bauerlein said his long history of working in sales for distributors has taught him that “sales is a contact sport,” and for AMD, that means working in the field with solution providers and arming them with the resources they need to understand the chipmaker’s advantages.
“You have to make sure that the solution providers understand the program, how to monetize the program. They need to understand the advantages with the total cost of ownership, the security, why AMD is a better choice than the competitors,” he said. “It’s great to have a digital foundation that explains all that on a website, but when you sit down with someone, whether it’s a salesperson or someone with technical acumen, you can ask them direct questions. If you’re a VAR or an OEM, that makes a huge difference, and that’s going to be the differentiator for AMD moving forward.”
Scott Ward, chief revenue officer at Westwood, Mass.-based Computacenter, No. 27 on CRN’s SP 500, said that for the 20 years he’s known Bauerlein, “he’s always been the guy that’s helped me win, whether it be programs, pricing” or navigating various relationships in the IT industry. He added that the trust he has built in Bauerlein will go a long way in helping Computacenter expand its AMD business.
“We’re going to make some investments with AMD. They’re going to make some investments with us. And having Marty over there just helps us all feel comfortable about those investments,” he said.
Ward said he has already seen a noticeable increase in the number of technical resources the company is reaching from AMD. He said Richardson has even been with him on calls with his customers to explain the semiconductor industry’s supply challenges.
“I think him and Marty together will be a formidable team,” he said. “Intel is not going away, but I think AMD could probably gain of a nice chunk of market share just from the exposure standpoint.”
Brad Moore, CEO of Sioux City, S.D.-based Sterling, No. 50 on CRN’s SP 500, said Bauerlein has a “very deep set of relationships” with both OEMs and solution providers, and those relationships will help AMD ramp up competition against Intel.
“AMD has taken a little bit of market share from Intel, so he’s got to go out and pitch his relationships, companies like mine, on why we should be selling more AMD,” he said. “And the product is going to speak for itself, but you have to get a seat at the table, and because of Marty’s relationships, he’s definitely going to get a seat at the table.”