Zoom channel chief wants “north of 50 percent” of business to flow out of channel

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Gina Narcisi

Zoom’s Todd Surdey has set the bar high for boosting its channel business this year and plans to achieve growth through training and empowerment for partners and internal sales teams, and by cultivating a “partner-centric” environment, he told CRN ahead of Zoomtopia 2022 .

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Zoom Video Communications is looking to double its channel business, Zoom’s new channel boss, Todd Surdey, told CRN.

“The focus for all of us is how we double our channel business from where we are today,” said Surdey, Zoom’s head of global channels and business development, ahead of Zoom’s annual Zoomtopia 2022 conference.

Surdey said Zoom’s “incredibly fast-growing” channel now accounts for 30 percent of the company’s global non-online bookings, up 50 percent over the past 12 months.

“As we move into the next chapter, this partner focus is tremendous for us,” he said. “In terms of where we stand out of that 30 percent, we’re looking [channel business] north of a 50 percent contribution.”

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The company’s impressive channel growth is being driven by the hybrid work trend, which requires new types of communication and collaboration tools, such as the cloud-based Zoom contact center and Zoom Phone — an offering that’s exploding in the channel, Surdey said. Partners contribute to more than 32 percent of Zoom Phone bookings, the San Jose, Calif.-based company said.

For Surdey, the next step is to focus on partner profitability and value sharing – a “huge” area of ​​focus for him and his team. “The future is obviously about influencing the sales and contribution of the channel, but it’s so important that we actually do this in harmony with our partners,” he said.

This means looking at which solution providers are building and investing in to see if Zoom can hit them where they are with equal investments, Surdey said. “[This will] ultimately helping them to really take advantage of these amazing things they are doing in the services [and] Solutions they build, managed services, integration services — all the stuff that’s going to be really, really important,” he added.

Building and fostering a more partner-centric culture within Zoom will be key, he said. Zoom’s channel is only about four years old, and while the channel’s development has been strong, the ultimate goal is to bring the company’s channel and sales team together, Surdey said. There is no difference in compensation for Zoom salespeople working directly or with partners.

“We’re not setting up the channel to be competitive at all. Internally it will be complementary –[direct and indirect] will coexist in great ways and we will continue on this path,” he said.

Communication, training and empowerment will be important ways to nurture that partner culture, he said, which could also include bringing partners into the boot camps that use internal Zoom sales reps for training. “When we get opportunities we want to work together and we want to do this with and for our partners but also for our sales teams with white gloves. This is a new step for some of these people, so you just don’t want to assume it’s easy.”

At the same time, Zoom Up, the company’s channel partner program launched in May, will continue to improve and help match customers with the partner with the right expertise, Surdey said.

“My strength is really how we build scale and drive results? And how do we develop a culture – not just within the channel teams – but across the team to really build that next where phase [the channel] can be a force multiplier for the company?” he said.

Surdey joined Zoom in July after taking over from former channel boss Laura Padilla, who left the company in May. Surdey joins from Google, where he most recently served as Vice President of Global Security Sales. Previously, Surdey was CRO of Palo Alto Networks’ Cortex business. He has also held leadership positions at SAP, Salesforce and VMware.


    Find out more about Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is Senior Editor for the Network and Telecom Markets at CRN.com. Before joining CRN, she worked for TechTarget in the areas of networking, unified communications and cloud space. She can be reached at [email protected]


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