As a special treat to wrap up the year, we've put together a bonus episode that's a compilation of your favorite segment, where we ask our esteemed guests a compelling question: 'What's the one thing you wish you knew before starting your career in channel?' Their insights are both enlightening and invaluable, offering a wealth of knowledge to anyone navigating the dynamic world of channel.
So, grab a cup of your favourite holiday beverage, find a cozy spot, and join us for this special episode as we reflect on the past year and look ahead to exciting opportunities in the coming one. Cheers!
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Hello, welcome and thank you for tuning in to Channel Voices. As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for being part of this incredible journey. Your support has been the driving force behind the success of Channel Voices podcast, and we can't thank you enough for tuning in and sharing your thoughts. With the holiday season upon us and a new year just around the corner, we wanted to extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones. May this festive season be filled with joy, laughter and cherished moments that create lasting memories. As a special treat to wrap up the year, we've put together a bonus episode that's a compilation of your favourite segment, where we ask our esteemed guests a compelling question what's the one thing you wish you knew before starting your career in Channel? Their insights are both enlightening and invaluable, offering a wealth of knowledge to anyone navigating the dynamic world of Channel today. So grab a cup of your favourite holiday beverage, find a cozy spot and join us for this special episode as we reflect on the past year and look ahead to exciting opportunities in the coming one. Cheers Christian Alvarez from the episode on best practices for driving Channel sales.Christian Alvarez:
Wow, well, it's certainly an interesting question. I have to say that I was very lucky to have been a reseller myself for a little over 11 years and I can certainly call that having an advantage, because at the time I believed I knew it could be exactly what I was getting myself into. Boy was I wrong. The one thing is, I wish I really understood how deep the roots of companies that have or started as a direct company versus indirect. That's something that I have to say. Throughout my career and I've worked for a few manufacturers that started direct and then introduced a hybrid, indirect. That's something that I wish I knew more of and understood better than going into the Channel. But I've adapted. I've certainly evolved. I think coexisting in direct and indirect, especially as the market has evolved, it's a win-win at the end of the day, something that I have very clear in my mind. We're here to support customers and giving customers the absolute best experience in the technology that they're investing in, assuring that they're getting the value out of their investments, and that's why I believe that the evolution of how we partner is going to continue to evolve and things like having partners with a customer success practice is critical, giving partners more tools and insights into how their customers are adopting the technology, utilizing the technology and giving that partner that telemetry is going to give them that much more of an advantage but a great experience to the customer.Maciej:
Lynn Tinney from the episode on creating a successful partner advisory board.Lynn D. Tinney:
Perspective. First of all, this is a phenomenal question, like I feel like we should ask each other this question. It's one thing to understand you know, kind of, what your position is and what somebody else's position is. It's one thing to understand each other's position, it's a whole, nother thing. It's another step to understand their perspective, and what I have found that has been successful in my career is that, first and foremost, I'm a channel coach to those who don't understand channel or think they understand channel but need a little coaching to navigate it more effectively. And it's a step of recognizing their perspective. And that's whether you're the perspective of a partner or the perspective of a customer or the perspective of a direct sales person or a direct sales manager, more than likely they have been pretty successful at the how they've done something. And it's the perspective of success, of don't fix what's not broken. And so it raises your bar to understand the compelling reason why they, why you can help them, and whether that's a customer, a partner or a direct sales person or direct sales management or executives along the way. And it's not just position, it's their perspective, it's that you know what they've done over the last five years, 10 years, 20 years. That raises the bar for you to increase. What is it that you're bringing to the table for them? And I also feel like it brings in a tone of making you an equal player with somebody, meaning you're not. This isn't a right or a wrong element. This is a one plus one equals three conversation conversation. I can learn from you and you can learn from me. And if you start the conversation with let's learn from each other, you're you're going to end up on the other side very productive and you know I've grown up with channel conflict throughout my career. It will always exist. I say welcome to capitalism, nature of what we have here, but I also highly encourage my team to. I always take the high road and understand perspective rather than just position, and so it puts a positive tone on thing and I learned that. I wish I would have learned that early on in my career. I had to learn that through years.Maciej:
Bader Hamdan from the episode on navigating the world of tech alliances.Bader Hamdan:
Yeah, it's funny Again, I stumbled into this channel partner world just by luck, in a sense, honestly, and just kind of really enjoyed it. I think the one thing I would say is I wish I knew how hard it was and I don't say that as an you know like how to bypass how hard it is, no, it's, it's a very dynamic role and that's part of why I actually enjoy it is because every day you're wearing a different hat. I never knew that early on, right, and especially again the traditional channel kind of where I started out in the, in the resale, and I saw space it was. It was viewed, as you know, almost, almost like a transactional support role for most channel partner managers. Right, knowing that I had one, if you know, if I had known how difficult it was to actually be a truly successful ecosystem leader and partner. You know professional, which meant, you know, being able to connect all those dots earlier on in my journey then later on, right, that would have been awesome because it would have helped me accelerate even further and bring more impact even early on. But no one ever taught tells you, teaches you channels right, and then you know back, no one taught you like coming into Cisco, like it was all about sales, sales, sales. Right, we went and got indoctrinated into sales and you know go to market motion. But channels was never really discussed, even though Cisco was a huge channel you know, erupt to market in there. So yeah, no understanding truly how difficult it is and the fact that you are wearing multiple hats is very dynamic. Just knowing that sooner would have been awesome.Maciej:
Maeve O'Connell from the episode on the challenges of choosing and configuring partner systems.Maeve O’Connell:
Yeah, so it's. It's a hard question. Actually. I was thinking about it this morning before I came on to this this recording. So I think how varied the area actually is is something I wasn't aware of, you know, at the time where I started my career working with companies. There's such a wide variety of skills and knowledge that is needed to support partners and it's across all elements of the business really. So you know there's obviously the relationship management side of things. You know there's business development, but there's also and I spoke to Mike is the operational side as well. So how it is that you know the this was the how behind how we actually manage all of the stuff and how this, all of this works. I think that's really interesting. And there's also like a really wide variety of positions so you can come in from anything to junior. You can work your way through working up to you know more senior exec levels and but you also have the opportunity, I think, to kind of work across different aspects of of working with channel partners as well. So you know you can move from relationships to more operational side of things. It gives you a really good view of you know all elements of the business and how a business works, because I think with partners they're. I think some people fall into the trap of thinking that they're their own little piece of the business, but in reality they're just. They span the entire business really. And one of the things I really like about working with partners is, you know, within my own organization I get to work with pretty much all parts of the organization because the partner program touches all parts of the organization, right. So can be really interesting because you get to learn about a business as a whole as opposed to just learning about your own little piece of it.Maciej:
Kenneth Fox from the episode on what makes a PRM deployment successful.Kenneth Fox:
She's a much great question, very broad. Yeah, I suppose before I started my life in the channel and that's been a long time ago now but you know, I didn't realize how powerful the channel was. I wish I did know some more about it before I started, but I guess that's. That's part of the learning curve. Like the channel is a wonderful thing, I always said to people and people. You know, a lot of people are starting their life in the channel. It's, it's really is a massively powerful sales machine once you crank it up in the right way. And I'm always trying to convince people to do that in the right way and I think that that's really important. You know, they're the learnings. I didn't know how to do it in the beginning. I learned it a lot of it through trial and error, mistakes, learning from you know, not doing it the right way, I suppose, but you know, trying to give those learnings to our customers, to anybody new that's that's coming along to the channel. I really enjoy that because the channel is the most powerful sales engine there is in the world. You know, when we think about 75 percent of all trade in the world goes through the channel, just kind of get your head around that trillions and trillions of dollars flow through the channel every year. So you know it's not, it's not a mistake that all of these vendors are, you know, really using the channel as their go-to-market model right from the get go. They're not even starting with direct sales. Now we see a lot of them are going straight to the channel, and I can fully understand why, because of you know the the returns it can potentially bring when it's done in the right way matt scotney-jones from the episode on the role of channel account manager they're probably more than one thing, but I'll try, I'll try and focus it on one. I mean, like I said, don't be afraid to, you know, take risks, calculated risks, you know. Don't just say, oh, I need to spend 10 000 pounds on her on taking someone to a football event or something. You know I'm not talking about that. Take it, don't be afraid to take calculated risks and don't be afraid to speak up. If you've got an idea, don't just sit on it. You know if you think it will work and you've done some research and you've done a bit of background work for it and you really think it will work, don't be afraid to stick your hand up in a meeting and or a team meeting and say, hey guys, um, I've had this idea. I want to bounce it off, you guys and and get your take on it and see what people say and how they're at, or go and speak to your manager privately about it. You know I I quite often do that. You know I'll come up with something new and I'll I'll phone up, I'll phone up my vp and say, hey, a bit of a risk, but what do you think to this? And he'll either say you're dreaming or he'll say no, I like that, let's, uh, let's, let's put some more thought into it and let's see what we can do. So I'd say, you know, don't, don't be afraid to take about, you know, calculated risks. Um, I think I think as well, though one of the things that I wish I'd known when I'd started is to understand the vendor you work for, but also understand the different vendors out there, and what I mean by that is is the different sizes, shapes, uh, sectors, things like that. Not all vendors are the same and not all vendor channels are the same. So if you're if you're currently a channel manager or looking to get into channel um and and take that next step, understand the channel that you're currently in and then, if you're moving roles, look at the look at the channel going into um. This is something that I really learn, and you have to learn quickly as well. So I went from a role where we were quite we were probably a medium to large size vendor and you had your usual suspects in you know that in the top 10 platinum category of partners, and we would have channel management teams going in there every week, twice week, into various different offices across the country, as well as the dedicated teams, and I was lucky enough to then, uh, inherit one of those large accounts I won't say who um, and it was a wake-up call, because it worked very differently and there are a lot of people you have to get around and the way you have to work within those partners is very, very different, but you can build some really great contacts and you can build some really good relationships. However, I then move to a smaller vendor. Networks are important, but don't just expect the door to be held open for you when you go to a new vendor, because if you're not there as a vital part of the business for that particular partner, you're not going to get mindshap and it's very difficult to get back into some of those bigger players. If you're a very small and very niche partner as well, you'll always do business with them. You'll always do business, but there'll be a difference between it being a very reactive business rather than what you may rather be used to, which was a very proactive, flowing business, to say so, I would say that's one thing I wish I had known from the get-go is that because you can waste a lot of time by trying to knock down doors that you think you can get into again as you've worked with them in the past, whereas actually you've got to look at it and say, well, hang on a second, is that partner right for this vendor? Is it right for this product set? No, it's not. Well, who do I need to go after? Well, if you're a small, very niche vendor where the product is very technically led, you're going to need a smaller, more technically enabled partner to drive that sale for you. So sometimes it's being able to identify the right partners for your particular product and know when you've got a time waster on your hands as well. So I'd say that's probably one of the biggest things I wish I'd had when I started out. I'm not afraid to say this. I've made mistakes in the partners that I've approached and tried to onboard, and you can sometimes spend three months getting lip service before you really realize and see it. So I think now, if I'd known that back then, I would have come up with what I use now today, which is almost like a scorecard system to really identify and help me work out are they the right partner for me and also, are you the right vendor for the partner? It goes both ways. So I think that's probably the biggest thing.Maciej:
Sherry Foster from the episode titled TCMA Explained.Sherry Foster:
Well, I think that the one thing I wish I knew is maybe something that I was maybe surprised at, in that working with the channel is so fascinating it's almost like a mini MBA program that goes on and on forever because you get to be involved with so many different kinds of businesses in so many different industries. So at Ascendix Digital, we certainly work with tech companies, but we also work with other industries as well. We work with B2C companies who sell through retailers. We've worked with industrial suppliers. So we've worked with a lot of different industries, and every time we work with a different partner, they might be a or even in my career I've worked with a different partner. They might be an ISV, they might be a value out of reseller, they might be a retailer. You really get to dig down and I love working with, especially, founders to really understand their business model and how they go to market and just how smart and fascinating it all is and how unique they all are, and so I certainly didn't know that before I started working with the partners, but the minute I started to work with them, it was absolutely fascinating and I couldn't wait to work with the next one, because there was a different thought process, a different business business model, a different idea that somebody had to create a whole new business, employ people and drive tons of revenue. So I think that's what I found when I started working, and maybe what do I wish I knew? I guess I wish I knew I was going into that because maybe I would have gone sooner. So it's been really rewarding and one of the things I like best about my job.Maciej:
And that's a wrap for this episode. I do hope you found it valuable and, if you did, please make sure to subscribe and leave a review. You can also follow Channel Voices podcast on LinkedIn, twitter and Facebook, or just visit ChannelVoicescom, where you can send me a message or leave a voicemail. All of the links are listed in the show notes and, once again, I appreciate you tuning in today Until next time, thank you.