Name: Mark Beaumont
Role: Head of channel, UK&I, Citrix
Spirit animal: Cat
How would you summarise your company's channel philosophy?
Channel is in our DNA. We've been partnering with the channel to deliver successful outcomes for mutual customers for over 30 years. Partners, and their ecosystems, are pivotal to our go-to-market strategy.
Tell us about your company's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…
Our partner programmes are designed to make our partners more profitable but also our customers more successful. We reward our partners for the role they play at all stages of the customer journey, from the initial transaction through to adoption.
How many partners do you work with in the UK?
We have over 600 partners in the UK and Ireland, ranging from ISVs and global alliances to global systems integrators to solution advisors and service providers. All of these play a key role in our partner ecosystem.
Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?
For us, it's not about how many partners we have, it's about maximising the opportunity with partners today. We'll always ask ourselves, are we doing that with our existing partnerships? And then alongside this, are there other partners who can help us reach new markets, customers or use-cases because they have a particular specialisation or expertise? If they can do this, we would certainly welcome them into our channel ecosystem.
Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?
We haven't made any specific changes recently but a couple of areas I am encouraging more partners to invest is in our Partner CSM programme to drive cloud adoption and our Co-operative Services programme which provides partners with a framework for delivering a joint services proposition to customers. Both of these programmes can significantly enhance the profitability of a partner's overall Citrix business as well as increase the amount of services they can build into their solutions for customers.
Describe your perfect partner?
The perfect partner is one who recognises the same opportunities in the marketplace as we do and is prepared to capture that opportunity together with us. As our customers leverage secure hybrid work to retain and attract talent, as well as meet their sustainability pledges and goals, Citrix has never been more relevant in the market than today. We're investing in partners that help deliver the best employee experience as a strategic imperative.
In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?
We're looking for partners to invest in cloud services, to enable them to become trusted advisors to their customers who are embracing a hybrid and multi-cloud future. Since the launch of our Partner Customer Success Management programme, we're also looking for more partners to build out customer success management practices to drive adoption among their customers as well.
How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?
We see further evolution of channel programmes away from traditional transactions that reward upfront revenue to those that reward partners for providing continued value to the customer throughout their lifetime. This better reflects how customers are looking to adopt and consume new services.
We see further evolution of channel programmes away from traditional transactions that reward upfront revenue to those that reward partners for providing continued value to the customer throughout their lifetime
What are your priorities for the next 12 months?
We have so much opportunity to go after in the next 12 months that we need to make some bets and invest more in those partners that want to invest more in us. Over the past 18 months we have been working closely with a number of partners to develop joint value propositions that really differentiate them and us in the market and this is resonating well with customers. I am now looking to accelerate these initiatives as well as identify other partners we can invest in.
Do you feel your company is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?
Yes, we have a broad ecosystem of partner types within our channel and there isn't a one-size-fits-all channel programme. We have lots of programmes that map to partner value and help them become a route to market for us in whatever area they specialise in - whether that's managed services or they're an ISV themselves.
Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?
It's not an issue we really contend with - as the vast majority of our EMEA sales go through the channel so direct conflicts are very rare.
Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?
Differentiation is a trait I prize very highly - so partners that can differentiate against competitors. It's their uniqueness that they bring and wrap around our solution that sets them apart and makes our solution relevant to the customer.
I am less keen on partners that don't necessarily think strategically and are more focused on price, rather than value. It doesn't serve either party particularly well for the long term.
How do you feel your company's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?
We have a very profitable partner programme that recognises and rewards partners at each and every different stage of the customer journey. Those partners providing more value to customers can potentially access more margin within deals. If a partner owns the customer journey end-to-end, our programmes are very profitable and market-leading for partners.
If you could wave a magic wand and change one aspect of your channel performance or strategy overnight, what would it be?
Citrix skills are in high demand in the market and partners tell me their utilisation rates are high and that the so called war on talent is driving salaries through the roof making increasing capacity a challenge. If I could wave a magic wand to upskill and cross-skill more consultants and solution architects within the channel to meet this burgeoning customer demand that would be amazing!
What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?
You can't please all of the people all of the time! However, I'm a firm believer that if you treat people the way that you would like to be treated and always act with absolute integrity then people will always respect your decisions if they don't agree with them.
Tell us something about yourself most people won't know
In my spare time I'm a keen road cyclist and last year I cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats raising money for the Prince's Trust. This year I'll be riding three stages of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees in order to raise funds as well. It's a good way of combining something I really enjoy doing that's also challenging and raises money for charitable causes as well.
What is your spirit animal?
I think I'd probably say a cat - because they are very independent but also work well in teams!
What would be your walk-on song, and why?
After three years of not doing face-to-face events with partners, I'm so happy to be meeting people in real-life again that I'd walk on to any song.