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Zayo Removing Channel Conflict Amid New Regional Enterprise Solutions Initiative

"Bringing together the balance of direct and channel has been a critical piece of our overarching go-to-market strategy," Zayo's chief marketing officer told Channel Futures.

James Anderson

April 15, 2022

4 Min Read
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Boulder, Colorado-based Zayo Group is expanding its portfolio and addressing direct sales conflict as it seeks to drive business with channel partners.

The fiber and connectivity provider this week unveiled its new Zayo Enterprise Solutions suite. The company has established dedicated teams in six areas where Zayo already offers a dense metro fiber network: Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Seattle and Toronto. Zayo will ultimately expand the 30 metro markets with these pre-packaged solutions that bring together connectivity, security and networking. The solutions include Zayo’s Shielded Internet Access (SIA) offering, which includes DDoS protection and a private IP VPN offering.

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Zayo’s Kimberly Storin

Zayo chief marketing officer Kimberly Storin said the announcement represents Zayo bringing its brand to the midsize enterprise space “in a way that we never have before.” Moreover, she said this update provides “air cover” to its sales partners.

“We’re now enabling our channel partners to go into a market that we’ve never really enabled them to go win in before,” Storin told Channel Futures. “The customers kept telling us, ‘Make it easy, make it cheaper, make it more more secure and reliable for my needs.'”

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Storin said the new suite goes beyond the “big pipes” that Zayo is known for.

“We’re now basically answering the prayers of our channel partners who have said, ‘Stop talking about speeds and feeds. Talk to us about customer pain points,'” she said.

Go-to-Market Transformation

Zayo went private in 2020, having been bought by investment firms EQT Partners and Digital Colony. Storin said the shift has led to a rethinking of how the company goes to market. And that means channel integration.

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Zayo Group’s Lynn Tinney

“Bringing together that balance of direct and channel has been a critical piece of our overarching go-to-market strategy,” Storin said.

Storin said the shift to a more channel-friendly approach started with leadership.

For example, Zayo in January announced the appointment of Lynn Tinney as senior vice president of global partners. She had previously led channels at Brightcove and Opaq, in addition to leading Riverbed’s North American channel and working at Cisco. Tinney said Zayo has been rolling out new offerings tailored to its partners. That includes managed edge services through QOS Networks, which Zayo acquired earlier this year.

“Zayo’s commitment to the channel isn’t a ‘nice to have’ — it’s a must,” Tinney told Channel Futures. “Having a strong Zayo partner landscape is critical to meeting our goals and driving growth.”

Storin herself spent four years at IBM, which works with the channel. She joined Zayo in 2021.

Direct/Indirect Relations

Tinney also said Zayo is revamping its support and systems.

“Everything from communications, enablement, renewals, escalations, commissions and marketing are taking a big leap forward for our Zayo partners. These actions demonstrate our full commitment to growing with partners, and there’s much more to come,” Tinney said.

Storin also said Zayo is working on its rules of engagement and account planning to ensure a good relationship between indirect and direct sales. Rather than favoring direct sales or indirect sales, she said Zayo needs to prioritize the purchasing models customers prefer.

“That enables us to work across all routes to market, because at the end of the day the customer is first. It has taken out a lot of that conflict that I think had historically been inside the company. Now we’re all focused on one outcome together,” she said.

In addition, she said Zayo is investing in branding to ensure that channel partners don’t want to have to explain who Zayo is to customers. For instance, Zayo is the Pac-12 Network’s official technology partner.

The Zayo channel team spent a week at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo inviting partners to share their experiences and feedback.

“Zayo is here to listen and to be their their strategic partner. We want to hear from partners, and we want to work closely with them to continue to bring to market products, solutions and messaging that help them win,” Storin said.

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

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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