It’s “no easy journey” but channel partners can, and should, do more to be an influencer.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

November 5, 2021

3 Min Read
Influencers at CP Expo 2021

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — The last three years of Channel Futures Influencers came together on stage Wednesday  to share “Lessons in Impact” with attendees.


JS Group’s Janet Schijns

“It’s no easy journey for anyone to be an influencer,” said Janet Schijns, CEO of JS Group. Schijns captured the 2019 Channel Futures Influencers award. But, she added, “Influence is the new currency in technology.”

Influence mainly happens through social media, Schijns said. In fact, companies now even evaluate potential new hires by their social footprint — do they have the connections and ability to network in ways that might benefit the employer?

“Update your profile if you haven’t already,” Schijns said. “It’s not a resume; it’s really a lead-generation tool. Post content, engage.”

And, in case anyone was worried, “I’m not asking you to be political,” Schijns emphasized. “I’m asking you to be interesting.”

That observation sparked a torrent of conversation.


Intelisys’ John DeLozier

“I don’t think influence is something you decree,” said John DeLozier, president of Intelisys. DeLozier landed the 2020 Channel Futures Influencers honor. “Business is personal. Everything we do in this business is personal. … Everything you do, I do, will follow you, because it’s all recorded now. … You’re going to leave residue of some kind in this business and I would just encourage you to listen to people like Janet, like Jay. … Make it interesting.”

The aforementioned Jay is, of course, Jay McBain, principal analyst – channels, partnerships and ecosystems for Forrester. And McBain stands out as 2021’s Channel Futures Influencers recipient. McBain noted that sometimes influencing means reaching out to people in a community who wield the most sway over their peers. He used Malcolm Gladwell’s take on Paul Revere in “The Tipping Point” to paint his example. Revere knocked on the doors of towns’ chief leaders to tell them the British were coming. Otherwise, he would have spent too much time knocking on every door and people wouldn’t have taken him seriously, because they didn’t know him. In modern times, knock on Reddit, Clubhouse, Discord and other online outlets represent considerable “spheres of influence,” McBain said.


Forrester’s Jay McBain

“There are all these great watering holes in our industry,” he added.

Plus, the most successful channel partners are members of their local Chambers of Commerce, peer groups and meet-ups, McBain said.

“They’re everywhere; they’re larger than life.”

A Little Advice

Channel partners who are ready to get more social and influential might want to follow some of the suggestions the Channel Futures Influencers shared.

“Sometimes we’re so ready to broadcast our company so we all repeat the same thing,” Schijns said. “It’s all about being conversational.”

Plus, she said, business owners who think they don’t need to join the party are, frankly, wrong.

“You do need to do it … as much for your clients as for your own people,” Schijns said. “Your people are also listening and they need to hear you have a voice.”

DeLozier agreed.

“Write down your goals,” he recommended.

In terms of one piece of advice, the Channel Futures Influencers had to offer, consider these tidbits:

  • Update your LinkedIn profile and, when attending events, turn on LinkedIn finder so you can find other people in the crowd.

  • Write down a goal, such as creating 20 new relationships in your area of business, and act on it.

  • Influence the influencers in a new market, geography, industry, etc., and see where that takes you. Find the powerful people who have earned trust.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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