Meggin Sawyer, ADTRAN's VP of business solutions and cloud services sales, on resellers transitioning their business models
Describe your company in five words or fewer.
Network and cloud application vendor
Tell us about how your channel program works.
Our program includes two partner tiers based upon revenue generation with free online technical training and sales certification, brandable marketing documentation and programs, deal registration and specialised promotions.
What do you think is the most challenging trend in the channel today?
The most challenging trend in the channel is the business customer transition to an operational model for technical solutions and services. It's a tough business transition for our channel, requiring changes in multiple areas of solution providers' business models, including financial, sales and operational transitions.
Financially, it requires a partner to transition their business from large upfront payments from customers to a monthly recurring model, which can be a cash drain. Likewise, a partner's sales teams are used to selling in a capital model to customers, and pay plans are not set up for this transition.
Lastly, changes in customer expectations for delivery and experience require the solutions that partners sell to be easy to buy, quick to install and have low maintenance costs all without putting a strain on a partner's operational staff in order to keep costs low.
If you had to give your channel partners one piece of advice, what would it be?
Change before you have to, and create a completely separate small group to test your new monthly recurring business model.
Trying to retrofit this model or make it a part of your core business from day one very rarely is successful. Expect it to take some time to succeed, but once it takes hold, it will prove to be a much more sustainable business model.
What are the three most important things partners need from vendors to be successful?
1. Self-serve marketing and training materials to help them drive customer interest and better understand how to sell and install the solutions. This should include knowledge on how the service fits into the partner's overall technology sales strategy.
2. Solutions that are easy to order, install and manage.
3. Variable financial models to support their customer requirements.
What is your favorite conference location?
My favorite conference location is Scottsdale, Arizona in the fall. It's warm with lots of fun and relaxing outdoor activities.
Which IT trends do you expect to see dying out over the next 18 months to two years?
There will be less interest in owning technology versus using technology.
There will also be less focus by the business in buying a single technology provider since they will be able to try and buy and move away from services more easily.
In addition, IT buyers will continue to lose purchasing decisions to line-of-business buyers looking for process improvements to run their businesses.