November 5, 2021
Fusion Connect partners can expect massive growth over the next two years and an increasing emphasis on ease of doing business.
That’s according to Mario DeRiggi, Fusion Connect’s chief revenue officer. He gave us a partner program update at this week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
DeRiggi said Fusion Connect plans to grow its channel by 130% over the next two years as it goes deeper in certain U.S. markets.
Furthermore, Fusion Connect has been expanding its channel leadership. It recently added channel vets from Intelisys and TPx to the team. In March, Fusion Connect hired longtime Intelisys vet Rick Ribas as senior vice president of channels and alliances.
Moreover, Fusion Connect has strengthened its CCaaS offering to further enable organizations with a complete omnichannel contact center solution. Enhancements include increased flexibility, functionality and security.
In a Q&A with Channel Futures, DeRiggi talks about what Fusion Connect partners can look forward to in the coming months.
Channel Futures: What’s prompting Fusion Connect’s channel expansion?
Fusion Connect’s Mario DeRiggi
Mario DeRiggi: For us, it’s been about grow, grow, grow. We need to continue to grow our distribution channels, our partnership engagements and our revenue. We’ve made some massive investments over the last 18 months and it really started at what I call phase one. Phase one was really around how we solidify the experience for our current customer base. We’re at 27,000 customers and we really want to make sure they got the experience they were expecting.
As part of phase two, it was, how do we go out and really start growing our distribution channels? It’s really around expanding our channel to be closer to our partners so we can go out … and show them the value of the Fusion Connect technology stack and our differentiation. That stack is really focused around how we go out and really change the business outcomes for their customers so we get a really good, sticky customer that we share. Today we are national, but now we just need to get deeper in certain markets and we need some additional coverage.
CF: What’s prompting the channel team expansion?
MD: The focus there is how we just make it easy for Fusion Connect partners to do business with us. Some of that is around partner support. A lot of it is around training and enablement. How do we get out and really message to our partners? And then the other piece is around massive investments in a new portal. One of the things we’ve rolled out here at the show is the road map for our new portal and the first look at it. That portal is really around enabling our partners not only to look at their commissions … but how can they help use the portal to manage their customers.
CF: Are solutions fueling Fusion Connect’s channel growth?
MD: We spent the last 18 months really building out our solution set. So from the core application of our technology stack, our unified communications, our contact center, our Teams integrations, and at the managed level our managed SD-WAN and resilient network elements. The base is the core network infrastructure. And what we really did was take that infrastructure and invest on wrapping it in a security as a service.
When you look at that technology stack we built, it really opened up a huge opportunity for midmarket enterprise for us. We know that partners have relationships with midmarket enterprise. So we want to get in front of those partners and really engage them so we can show them our value. That way we can get in front of their customers to show them the value of working with not only the partner, which has the phenomenal relationship, but Fusion Connect as that technology provider at the application.
How do we go out, recruit more partners, engage more partners, enable and train them, and get them to understand …
… our value proposition.
CF: What regions would you like to see Fusion Connect go deeper?
MD: Historically, Fusion Connect has had a pretty heavy presence on the East Coast. We’ve done the West Coast and we’ve done some Central, but it’s really filling in the Central and West. That’s where you’re going to see a lot of our expansion.
CF: Are there lots of new opportunities for partners?
MD: The whole reason we’re doing this is because of the way we expanded our product set and really the investment we’re making in our solution road map. Historically, Fusion Connect was a legacy telecom type of solutions provider. That’s not who we are anymore. For us, it’s about connect, protect and accelerate your business. Connect is how do we help our customers connect with their employees, their customers and their core infrastructure? Protect is how do we help them protect that environment? And then, how does that really help them accelerate their business objectives and accelerate their business overall?
So that investment in that technology stack has opened up a larger opportunity and allows us to really target a larger wallet share for those enterprise customers. The channel partners, they have those relationships. They understand those customers’ needs and objectives. So for us, it’s how we really recruit, enable and onboard more of those partners to open up a larger target market for us.
CF: Are there any continuing shortcomings when it comes dealing with partners that you’re going to be addressing in the months ahead?
MD: You can never be too easy to do business with. Whatever we may roll out today, tomorrow we may find something better and look at it then. But our focus today has been around making sure the partners have the support on their ability to go out and understand who we are, what we do and how we differentiate. It’s really around how we give that single-pane-of-glass view to our partners so they can go out and manage their customers, and understand what’s going on with their customers. It around that fully functional portal. That’s where our major investment is. It’s not completely out today.
It’s the ability for that partner to go in and look at not only customers, but manage their cloud applications, manage their managed services and manage their security so they really are the trusted adviser and give them everything. That’s where our major investments are. That’s where we’re working on today.
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