New TD Synnex Communities Sales Structure Will Drive More Opportunities For Partner Growth: TD Synnex VP Kaye McMillan
New TD Synnex Vice President of Partner Communities and Sales Development Kaye McMillan, who has deep partner roots, said putting the TD Synnex partner communities under the sales team will drive more opportunities for partner growth.
A Focus On ‘Sales Growth For Partners’
New TD Synnex Vice President of Partner Communities and Sales Development Kaye McMillan said putting the TD Synnex partner communities under the distributor’s sales organization is going to open the door to more opportunities for partners to drive sales growth.
“To be quite frank, bringing the communities into the sales organization puts more accountability into this so that we create sales growth for partners and stay focused on behalf of our partners,” said McMillan, a 24-year TD Synnex veteran who has worked closely for many years with Tech Select partners. “Our sales leadership team and our sales executives are being held accountable for the success and growth of the communities overall.”
Tighter ties between the sales organization and partners will put a focus on the breadth and the depth of the products and services TD Synnex can bring to partners, said McMillan.
“I think one of the things we owe our communities and members is making sure that they are aware of everything that we can bring to the table in terms of augmenting and supporting their business,” she said. “A great example of that is we have an amazing services offering that can help augment partners’ staff or their geographic presence. We need to make sure that our partners are aware of that so that they have the opportunity to take on additional business and grow their business with services and offerings they may not have been aware of.”
McMillan hit the ground running on the first day on the job on Wednesday, meeting with the presidents of the Tech Select and Varnex advisory boards and the respective partner advisory councils of the two organizations.
“Obviously I am super exited to be back with the expanded partner communities,” she said. “I was involved with Tech Select when it was just Tech Data. Now that we have really expanded [our] communities’ commitment and presence [with the combined TD Synnex,] I couldn’t be more excited.”
McMillan said she is looking forward to connecting with the hundreds of members of the TD Synnex partner communities at the TD Synnex Fall CommunitySolv conference from Nov. 13-16 in Orlando, Fla.
“We want to make sure our sales teams and our executive team, from vendor management and from marketing, are all there to support our partners,” she said. “And of course, our vendor partners as well. So I would imagine that, all in, there will be close to 500 people at the conference.”
An edited excerpt of McMillan’s conversation with CRN follows.
How does it feel to take the helm of the partner communities for TD Synnex and once again work closely with partners?
Obviously I am super exited to be back with the expanded partner communities. I was involved with Tech Select when it was just Tech Data. Now that we have really expanded [our] communities commitment and presence [with the combined TD Synnex] I couldn’t be more excited.
I am in Miami right now, where we just finished our first combined meeting with the presidents of our advisory councils, and then we are having the rest of the advisory council meeting going on tomorrow throughout the day.
It’s been great to get to learn more about the Varnex community. It is super exciting as we look at how we do more together with partners. That is really important to us.
My history has always been in the sales organization with a customer-first focus aimed at how we develop and build relationships with customers. That is very important to me.
Having the communities really tied into the sales organization is key so that we can help our partners grow.
I am excited. This is a big role. I don’t take that lightly . TD Synnex has done a lot to be focused and invested in our communities. We are making sure we are offering a really strong value-add as a distributor. It’s all about how we build our business together with partners.
What impact will putting the TD Synnex Communities organization under the sales group have on partners’ ability to drive sales growth?
That is something that is very important so we make sure partners stay connected to their dedicated sales teams and our sales leadership. That is important just from an engagement perspective.
Our responsibility as the sales organization is we own that customer relationship. We understand those partners and we understand what they need. Now, when we get feedback we will be able to act on it much more quickly.
If it is being heard directly by the sales organization, that makes us more nimble to act on it and provide even more value to the partners in terms of what is important to them. It is going to allow us to focus on the business-building opportunities that they need to be aware of so they can grow their business.
Just from a growth perspective, we are wanting to grow and expand our membership so understanding the partners in more detail is key. With the communities as part of the sales organization, we’ll be able to grow that partner community much more effectively. It should allow us to bring new members and diverse members—the ones that can share and bring more value to the other members in the community as well.
Do you think this will lead to bigger partner sales growth and more opportunities?
I think one of the things we owe our communities and members is making sure that they are aware of everything that we can bring to the table in terms of augmenting and supporting their business.
A great example of that is we have an amazing services offering that can help augment partners’ staff or their geographic presence. We need to make sure that our partners are aware of that so that they have the opportunity to take on additional business and grow their business with services and offerings they may not have been aware of.
With communities now under the sales organization how does that specifically differ from the old communities structure?
The sales organization of course has always been very dedicated to our communities. The communities were under the marketing umbrella in the past. That is still important obviously because we need to engage from a marketing perspective and build our vendor engagements as well on behalf of our partners.
To be quite frank, bringing the communities into the sales organization puts more accountability into this so that we create sales growth for partners and stay focused on behalf of our partners. Our sales leadership team and our sales executives are being held accountable for the success and growth of the communities overall.
What is your message to partners in the wake of your appointment and the changes at TD Synnex on the communities?
Our message is clear: as we become one combined TD Synnex, then bring the communities into the sales organization, that brings that sales focus. We are going to be goaled on our partners’ success, and that is how we bring economic growth to them. We need to make sure partners are aware of everything that we can bring to the table to help them grow their business.
What kind of breadth and depth of products and services can TD Synnex bring to partners to grow their business in fast-growth areas like cloud?
We have a bigger line card as a combined TD Synnex than we had in the past with one organization or the other. We continue to want to drive growth in areas like [Internet of Things], networking, security and, as you mentioned, cloud. We are really focused on our MSP partners. We are building an offering and value-add that supports that specific MSP business model.
Are there any other organizational changes that you see going forward, like a further merger of the communities?
We are going to still have a defined Tech Select and Varnex community. That is the immediate strategy for sure. We want to respect the legacy of those communities while we build out what our communities should look like in the future. That is something I would highlight.
One of the things I am excited about is that TD Synnex has invested in a pretty large and dedicated team around the communities. That is a testament to the fact that this is a really big focus and strategy of partner value and engagement that we have.
When I was involved in Tech Select we had a great team, but now we have over 20-plus people dedicated in some way to supporting the communities. That’s just amazing to me. I can only imagine the level of success and growth now with the ability to execute on behalf of our partners. We have a commitment from our senior leadership team that is really focused on our partners’ success.
Are you recruiting partners or changing the kinds of partners in the communities?
I wouldn’t say that we’re changing the kinds of partners. We’re definitely wanting to grow the community so that we have new voices, new and diverse businesses that are coming to the table. One of the huge advantages of any community and, of course, our community is that engagement, that networking, that learning from one another, being able to understand how people are tackling certain business issues or business problems, and how they’ve built their business. So yes, we’re recruiting more partners. But we want to look at making sure we have a diverse set of partners for that learning opportunity. But that is going to be an ongoing process.
Is there a limit to how many?
No, but we want to make sure that we have partners who are committed to the community as well and are willing to invest their time and effort to be part of it. The whole idea is that this is meant to be a community where you invest and give time and knowledge, and share that. So it’s not limited in the type of partner, but we want partners that are going to be engaged and committed.
Tell us what you want channel partners to know about Kaye McMillan?
Obviously, I think I stayed with TD Synnex this long for a reason. I’m committed to the company and committed to distribution. I’m so excited about our future. We’ve all been in this business a long time, and it continues to evolve. And to me, the best part of it is the relationships that we build and the engagement. So that’s what keeps me excited about coming to work every day and why I’ve been there so long.
Of course, everything keeps changing, which for me is an exciting prospect. It doesn’t come without difficulty sometimes. But that’s what keeps me interested. And just from a personal perspective, I love any aspect of my job where I get to be engaged directly with our customers and our vendor partners. That’s the exciting piece of being in the sales organization and being directly tied to our customers.
How do you feel about the opportunity to work closely with both the Tech Select and the Varnex communities going forward?
Obviously, I know the partners in the TechSelect community a lot better. For me, the exciting part is getting to meet a diverse group of partners in the Varnex community as well, for example. To me, it’s all about learning a different perspective and a different point of view, and what we can be doing to help address their growth objectives, [learning] what are the business outcomes that they’re trying to solve for that we can help.
Even today, I don’t know all of the team yet, and I’m excited to meet them. Everybody has a different perspective, and they’re all valuable. And then turning that feedback and that point of view into something that’s executable on behalf of the partnership.
Talk about your plan and priorities for the first 100 days as you take on this new role.
Obviously, I need to work and integrate with my team, making sure that we have a clear vision. And as I said, it’s a big team, so I’m excited to get to know them. Of course, that’s a priority. The second priority, of course, is talking to as many partners in the communities as I can. I’m going to rely heavily on our advisory council members because they’re obviously accessible, available and dedicated to our combined success, and [I’ll be] leveraging their feedback, knowledge and expertise, and making sure that I’m talking to as many partners as I can to get that input and feedback.