5 Ways Lenovo Data Center Group Global Channel Chief Nicole Roskill Is Making Life Better For Partners

“I want to leverage those best practices everywhere around the globe,” said Roskill. “When we’re doing something really well that’s compelling and resonating with partners, we want to be doing that everywhere in the world where it makes sense.”

In a monumental channel move, Lenovo’s Data Center Group hired its first global channel chief earlier this year. Nicole Roskill, a former Avnet and IBM executive, has the tough task of elevating and creating more consistent programs, incentives, partner tools and services on a worldwide scale. In her first 60 days, Roskill has been traveling the world talking to partners and Lenovo channel leaders to discover what works and what doesn’t. One key area of focus, she says, has been digging into best practices on a regional basis that can be rolled out worldwide. “I want to leverage those best practices everywhere around the globe,” said Roskill, executive director and worldwide channel chief for the Data Center Group. “When we’re doing something really well that’s compelling and resonating with partners, we want to be doing that everywhere in the world where it makes sense.” Lenovo has spent the past two years building out its channel organization in all five major geographies, preparing itself for someone like Roskill to take the reins on a global basis. In an interview with CRN, Roskill details the five new objectives she plans to implement to make life better and easier for channel partners.

5. Digital Campaign Studio

Our Asia-Pacific team launched [what is] essentially a digital marketing platform in November called the Digital Campaign Studio that has had over 100 partners participate in it. This is a platform where partners can create a digital marketing campaign from [their] phone or device. It’s taking on average only seven minutes to build a digital marketing campaign focused around products and solutions to drive customers to events. They’ve seen great usage of that tool where we can work to optimize it around the globe.

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4. Maestro

In Asia-Pacific they’ve developed Maestro. It’s an engagement platform that enables them to engage with partner influencers based on a role or persona. They’ve been able to reach about 6,000 partner influencers that are executives, sales, presales and marketing—those are four personas. Maestro delivers persona-relevant content that can allow us to actively and regularly be engaged with our partners. It offers learning modules, assessments and machine learning to help drive partner sales readiness. It offers incentives and rewards, metrics and rebates—but it’s really an interesting way of engaging our partners in a highly relevant way based on their role. That is a tool that we are evaluating having available in other geographies.

3. Speeding Up The Process For SMBs

We’re building some tools and programs to support a velocity model that really helps get partners focused on the SMB market in a way that will enable them to do business with Lenovo more quickly, more easily and without friction. To do that, you have to have carefully selected offerings, and they have to be priced very competitively. We need to look for ways to negate the need for special bidding and other processes that can slow down the sales process. We’re looking to further build out that capability.

2. Enabling The Internet Of Things

We’re doubling down on the channel, certainly through IoT where we will have a very strong focus on enabling partners. One of the top things we’re going to be doing is looking at how to enhance our tools and programs in each of our geographies to build a stronger and more robust partner ecosystem. For example, we’re looking at how we activate partners to sell more of the Lenovo portfolio and building out a more complementary ecosystem with new partners. So the recruitment of new partners into areas like IoT is where we need to build out capabilities and complement offerings that our existing partner base has in order to create larger opportunities.

1. Lenovo Needs To Show Up More

I am a big proponent of making sure that Lenovo is showing up. We need to be showing up more in the market with customers and showing up more in the market with partners. We are going to be participating in more events than what you’ve seen us do in the past. You’ll see us at [The Channel Company’s] Women of the Channel event in New York in December. The fact that I’m here shows Lenovo’s committed to the channel. You’re going to see our channel-first, partner-first strategy realized in the market in a variety of ways. We know we need to do a better job of showing up. We are very focused on ways that we’re going to add value to our partners and be more successful in the market.