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Zoom Channel Chief Wants ‘North Of 50 Percent’ Of Business To Flow From Channel

Gina Narcisi

Zoom’s Todd Surdey has set the bar high for pumping up channel business this year and plans to make the growth happen through training and enablement for partners and internal sales teams and by cultivating a ‘partner-centric’ environment, he told CRN ahead of Zoomtopia 2022.

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Zoom Video Communications wants to double its channel business, Zoom’s new channel chief, Todd Surdey, told CRN.

“The focus for all of us is how we grow our channel business 2X from where we are today,” Surdey, head of global channels and business development at Zoom, said ahead of Zoom’s annual conference, Zoomtopia 2022.

Surdey said that Zoom’s “unbelievably fast-growing” channel is now contributing 30 percent of the company’s non-online bookings globally, a 50 percent increase over the past 12 months.

“As we go into the next chapter, that partner centricity is massive for us,” he said. “In terms of where we’re at from that 30 percent, we are looking for [channel business] to be north of a 50 percent contribution.”

[Related: Zoom Intros First Native Cloud Contact Center Product Following Terminated Five9 Deal ]

The company’s impressive channel growth is being driven by the hybrid work trend, which is requiring new kinds of communication and collaboration tools, such as the cloud-based Zoom Contact Center and Zoom Phone—an offering that is blowing up in the channel, Surdey said. Partners are contributing to more than 32 percent of Zoom Phone bookings, the San Jose, Calif.-based company said.

For Surdey, the next step is zeroing in on partner profitability and value exchange—a “massive” area of focus for him and his team. “The future is obviously about impacting revenue and the contribution the channel makes, but it’s so critical that we actually do this in harmony with our partners,” he said.

This means paying attention to what solution providers are building and investing in to see if Zoom can meet them where they are with equal investments, Surdey said. “[This will] ultimately help them really exploit those amazing things that they’re doing in services [and] solutions that they’re building, managed services, integration services—all the things that will become really, really important,” he added.

Building and fostering a more partner-centric culture within Zoom will be key, he said. Zoom’s channel is only about four years old and, while development of the channel has been strong, the ultimate goal is to bring the channel and the company’s sales team together, Surdey said. There are no differences in compensation for Zoom salespeople who work directly or work with partners.

“We’re not setting up the channel to be competitive at all. Internally, it’s going to be complementary—[direct and indirect] are going to coexist in a great way and we’re going down that path,” he said.

Communication, training and enablement will be important ways to help cultivate that partner culture, he said, which could include bringing partners into the bootcamps that internal Zoom salespeople use for training. “When we get into opportunities, we want to work together and we want to white-glove that with and for our partners, but also for our sales teams. This is a new step for some of these folks so you just don’t want to assume that it’s easy.”

At the same time, Zoom Up, the company’s channel partner program launched in May, will continue to improve and help pair customers with the partner with the right expertise, Surdey said.

“My strength is really around how do we build scale and drive outcomes? And how do we develop a culture —not only within the channel teams—but across the team to really build out this next phase of where [the channel] can be a force multiplier for the business?” he said.

Surdey joined Zoom in July, having taken over for former channel chief Laura Padilla, who left the company in May. Surdey came from Google, where he most recently served as vice president of global security sales. Prior to that, Surdey served as CRO of Palo Alto Networks’ Cortex business. He also has held leadership roles at SAP, Salesforce and VMware.

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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