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The Most Powerful Women Of The Channel 2019: Power 100

The Power 100 is culled from the ranks of CRN's Women of the Channel and spotlights the female executives whose insight and influence help drive channel success.

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Michelle Welch

SVP, Marketing, Channel

WatchGuard Technologies

In 2018 Welch took over ownership of the WatchGuardOne partner program. The team began the process for implementing technology specializations and organization types, making the program more accessible to a greater number of partners.

Years In Position: 3.5

Years In Channel: 15 

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year? In addition to the programmatic and operational changes outlined above, Michelle personally worked with dozens of partners at various stages in their relationship with WatchGuard and at various stages of business maturity to better understand what they were struggling with, where WatchGuard could assist both immediately and over the long term. The knowledge shifted product development priorities, escalating the channel voice within the company. These interactions also defined the training curriculum for the company's 2019 Sales Event, at which the global sales team is armed with the knowledge they need to support their partners for the coming year.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year? Whilst we are always striving to improve every aspect of our program and how each function serves the channel, in 2019 my two top priorities are a) evolving the program to better suite partners operating as managed service providers (changing sales thresholds, evolving how marketing funds are earned, introducing new training content, etc.) and b) bringing the global channel community up to speed on WatchGuard's exciting direction and momentum.

What's the key to success for your channel partners in 2019? IT spending in the midmarket is shifting significantly from point solutions to robust managed service offerings. Growth in 2019 and beyond for IT Solution Providers will hinge on their abilities to look beyond product, move away from traditional VAR and break-fix sales models, and to deliver value-added managed services offerings. This requires operational, portfolio, sales, and marketing changes. The good news is that WatchGuard partners are not alone. We have a team of experts and plethora of resources developed specifically to help our partners make this transition.

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