I’ve been working in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years, and during that time I’ve seen a lot of change happen in this industry. I’ve learned how important it is for a company to have a deliberate and purposeful Indirect Sales strategy – and not be hesitant about jumping in with both feet and committing to partner success. I’m a natural problem solver and love to help people. Roles that worked closely with the field sales team have been gratifying and likewise helping partners was something I gravitated towards. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about partner strategy, how to align it with the field go-to-market to reduce any channel conflict and equip partners with the tools and compensation they need to be successful. I’m grateful to have been able to hone these skills working for industry-leading companies including Cisco, Adobe, Informatica and ServiceMax.
Furthermore, over the years, my experience has taught me that there are three things that are important about a company – 1) It’s culture; 2) It’s technology leadership; and, 3) It’s market leadership and total available market (TAM). When I joined IGEL, I was able to check off all three, and that is one thing that attracted me to this passionate, high-energy company. But there’s much more to the story.
The culture of Servant Leadership is something I love. The empathy IGEL has for its employees, its customers and its partners and how it wants to serve them to make them successful is awesome. Next, the product leadership IGEL has in the Cloud Workspaces market, and the innovation that it continues to drive is very reassuring. It’s exciting to see the large market opportunity in front of IGEL that will fuel strong growth while also enabling it to acquire new customers and make them successful. This too is very motivating.
Finally, seeing IGEL as a Channel-First company – with its 100% commitment to the Indirect Sales Route-to-Market – and the maturity to understand that we absolutely need a strong partner ecosystem to scale and grow, sealed the deal so to speak.
My First 120 Days on Board
It’s been a very interesting first 120 days coinciding with the world entering unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about current programs that are in place, the partners we work with and what we need to do to evolve our partner programs to align to their success.
As Channel Chief, I recognize that each of our partners and their customers are on their own unique journeys toward digital transformation that will drive desired business outcomes.
So I thought it would be good to conduct a mid-year survey as well as my meetings with our strategic partners and get their feedback on a few key topics.
Some common themes I heard were:
“Partners give high marks to our Channel team and our Field Sales team.”
“However, they also are requesting a stronger 3-legged approach between Partner sales, IGEL field sales and IGEL channel sales.”
“Partners see customer demand for IGEL products/solutions going up…especially being driven by the need for a secure and easy to use virtual desktop framework….. supporting work-from-home and business continuity needs of customers.”
“The need for a subscription or consumption based model.”
“Partners want a more active role in providing Services.”
“With the overnight switch to remote Marketing, Partners need help in driving relevant digital marketing.”
With that in mind there are five things that I am focusing on:
- I want us to ensure we have the right number of partners, as well as the right type of partners who are committed to driving customer success, renewals and recurring revenues. By aligning with our ecosystem partner communities including Citrix, Microsoft, VMware and AWS, we can build scalability into our programs by recruiting the right partners, in the right geographies and with the right skillsets.
- Ensuring that our Field Sales & Channel teams work even closer with our strategic partners. We want to double down on those partners. Their success is going to lead to our success.
- It will be important to have a motivating set of financial incentives to reward our partners in a consistent and predictable manner. I am balancing the front-end margins that will reward the transaction, as well as introducing back-end rebates to reward a number of items – the sales motions and engagement with the field, acquisition of new logos, pipeline growth and customer success.
- I want to make sure we are winning the hearts and minds of our partners so that they will become loyal advocates of IGEL. We will accomplish this by training and mentoring them in a purposeful manner that will allow them to acquire new customers and increase wallet share of existing customers.
- I am working with my colleagues in our Customer Success team to draft a framework and program to have partners enter, and get accredited to provide Support, Health Check, and Renewals services.
I’m looking forward to working with our team to deliver an exceptional partner experience. Despite the pandemic, there is tremendous opportunity for the channel to deliver products and services that support companies in the post-COVID era. IGEL and our 90+ ecosystem partners are here to help!
Feature image used under license from Adobe Stock.