New Autodesk Sales, Channel Exec Vows Expanded Partner Sales


Three-D design, engineering and entertainment application vendor Autodesk will expand its channel sales capacity this year, largely by offering its current resellers more resources and encouraging them to expand the range of Autodesk products they offer.

That's high up on the to-do list of Steve Blum, who last week took over all management of Autodesk sales and service operations, including the company's channel program.

"Our focus on channel capacity and capability will become a priority," Blum said in an interview. "There's a lot of market to go after where [partners] can all be successful."

Blum took over last week as Autodesk's new senior vice president of worldwide sales and service, replacing Ken Bado who left the company last month to pursue other opportunities. He reports to Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass.

Blum has been with Autodesk for eight years, most recently serving as senior vice president of the company's Americas sales operations. In that post he was responsible for managing the company's sales execution, field marketing and channel strategy for all of the Americas. For that latter responsibility Blum has been named a CRN Channel Chief for the past two years.

Before joining Autodesk Blum was executive vice president of sales and account management at Parago, a Lewisville, Texas-based manager of rebate and reward programs.

Although Autodesk has a direct sales force that sells to a number of large named accounts, a "significant majority" of the company's software sales are through the channel, Blum said in the interview, including VARs, VADs, distributors and direct marketers such as CDW and Amazon.com.

In recent years the company has been adding to its partner program, helping to generate sales leads within specific vertical markets and rolling out a global deal registration program. Last year the company developed a global framework for its partner programs, overlying what had been very separate regional programs.

Autodesk also will likely recruit solution providers to add to the 1,900 partners it now has worldwide, according to Blum, but the priority going forward is beefing up channel program resources to help current partners expand their sales capacity.

Autodesk, for example, will help channel partners develop business plans and assist with hiring employees with needed skills, Blum said. The company also will encourage resellers who work with a limited number of Autodesk products to carry a greater range of the vendor's product portfolio.