Siemens Channel Chief: We’re Growing
You may not know Denzil Samuels, but that’s about to change. Samuels (pictured) quietly joined Siemens Enterprise Communications in May 2009. His goal: To completely revamp the unified communications company from direct sales to channel sales. It’s too soon to draw any long-term conclusions but multiple anecdotes suggest Samuels (and Siemens) are making channel progress. Here’s the scoop.
The VAR Guy sat down with Samuels for lunch on Tuesday. For more than an hour — as The VAR Guy inhaled pasta and Diet Cokes — Samuels politely described how Siemens is overhauling its business processes to be channel-centric.
“If this position was about incremental change I would have had zero interest,” says Samuels. “But a channel move is a game changer for Siemens. I knew that if we got this right it could really drive growth and market share.”
Only six months on the job, Samuels seems to be making progress. Prime examples:
- Siemens generated a 12% increase in sales for the 4th quarter
- The company has introduced indirect sales in 27 additional countries
- All channel resources now have a hardline reporting structure into Samuels
- Siemens has expanded relationships with several specialty distributors — including Synnex and Westcon
- Siemens now has internal revenue targets for indirect sales. “That was never the case before,” says Samuels. “Now there’s an [indirect sales target] we need to be accountable for.”
Siemens first disclosed its channel strategy back in May 2009. Within five years, company executives said, Siemens hoped to generate 75 percent of revenue through channel partners — up from a scant 15 percent today. Samuels — a Northrop Grumman and Avaya veteran — quietly signed on to lead that channel charge.
More recent channel milestones include:
- Indirect sales goals for country managers.
- The mapping of named accounts to key partners.
- New POS systems and deal registration systems for partners.
At first glance, Siemen’s progress sure looks promising. No doubt, plenty of networking companies would like to celebrate growth in a rough economy.
But The VAR Guy also has to keep this story in perspective. Shifting from direct to indirect sales is no small challenge. And frankly, The VAR Guy needs to speak with more Siemens channel partners to hear if they believe in the networking company’s transformation.
Still, moving from direct to indirect sales isn’t impossible. Just ask Cisco Systems — which did exactly that around 1997.