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Channel Leaders: Uptime Crucial To Keeping, Winning Customers

‘It all comes down to, customers want to mitigate against downtime. That's the number one cost in IT by far. We don't always talk about it that way,’ says Jeff Ready, CEO and co-founder of Scale Computing.

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How do you handle channel conflict?

Reilly: We've made immense strides in the last couple years. So when I got to the company a couple years ago we had a direct team, and the channel team and never the two shall talk. And frankly, what we did very quickly is we realized, bringing some of my history into the company, we realized the channel brings an immense amount of scale, and opportunity, and relationships. You can cut those sales cycles down by seventy-five percent if you can get in quicker with the solution providers in the channel.
And so the team got together and they've reorganized in such a way that we all go up to the same general manager of the Americas now. We now have a co-selling process. We put that in place over eight, nine months ago. It's now in full stride. We're having success. We’re having wins, we've got a solid pipeline.
We've put our attention on the acquisition of new business and welcoming the channel into that direct side of the sales motion. We sell together. We put the revenue through the channel. They recognize the revenue and profit. So, it's actually been quite successful in terms of that collaborative spirit. But, we found it was a mindset within the company. Some of it was just ignorance around what the channel brings, but some of it was an openness to, financially, put the numbers on the paper to show this really is going to be incremental to us overall.

Cato: A lot of times, in our case it starts with compensation. How do we compensate our reps? So we've made some significant changes to the way that both our field reps, as well as our channel reps are compensated. The second thing I think that, for me is one of my most important jobs, is to advocate on behalf of this audience. Advocate on behalf of the partners. So I continue to do that.

I think the third thing that that we've started to do, we've actually seen some really encouraging signs here, is that we've started to bring some of our actual end user sales organization into channel roles. So my leader for our VAR business actually has a tremendous amount of end user background and experience and understands how to go call on customers and how to do that successfully with partners. So as you start to get that sort of inbreeding I'll call it, whatever you want to call it, where you've got some different people from different roles being able to do that, I think it starts to breed success.

I think the last thing that we're really doing is, we've had a lot of new folks doing Lenovo. Many of those are actually coming from our competitors, where you know direct was sort of there their first kind of thought process. So we've done a lot of education to make sure they understand, number one, the value that our channel and partners bring to an engagement, and then secondly making sure they understand all our pricing policies and understand sort of the deal registration process and all those things.

So we've done a lot in the last 12 months to sort of change the landscape within Lenovo, and we're back to what I'd call kind of historic numbers as far as business through the channel for commercial people.

 
 
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