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Channels have always been a critical part of most organizations’ Go To Customer strategies. They are critical to extending our coverage of the market, accessing markets with specialized expertise, and in helping provide our customers more complete solutions.

Managing channels for optimum performance in the face of rapidly changing buying processes and cloud based solutions creates challenges neither suppliers nor channel players have faced in the past.

For example, many of the IT centric products and services are seeing radically changing buying–shifting out of IT into end users. This drives a change in the channel, helping them shift their approaches to the buyers or finding partners that have access to those buyers.

Shifting from business models where products/services were sold outright, to today’s models where products and services are frequently packaged as “As A Service” offering requires new business models, new skills, new capabilities both in the supplier and channels.

Rapid digitization of our customers businesses provide yet another challenge and opportunity to both suppliers and channel participants.

Managing these transitions, helping partners manage these transitions is a very complex process. It requires new thinking, new relationships, new partner enablement programs, and in some cases new partners.

Simon Minett, Head of Global Sales Operations for Unify, has been leading their transition from a primarily direct field sales orientation to a channel deployed orientation.

The discussion Simon and I had, is one of the most fascinating and wide ranging conversations on this topic that I have had. We cover everything from managing the transition to channel first, developing capability in the channel, shifting priorities and business model, rising complexity and managing that complexity, to critical elements in channel performance management and enablement.

It’s a longer discussion than normal, but this topic is so critical, it was important that we cover this topic in some greater depth.

I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I enjoyed the conversation with Simon Minett!