Zoom: We Would Be Crazy Not to Embrace Channel

“We don’t want to be the only tech provider that’s swimming against the stream,” says a Zoom channel exec, who reveals plans to double channel revenue.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

July 9, 2024

4 Min Read
Zoom channel looking to embrace partners

Zoom is leaving its direct sales strategy behind and embracing the channel, according to its head of strategic alliances in EMEA, Joe McStravick.

McStravick said Zoom realized the necessity of having a channel strategy today.

“Everything that [Zoom’s] built historically has been for its direct business, whether it’s pricing, marketing, finance, sales," he said. "But if you look at the stats, by 2030, the total addressable market globally will be around about $300 billion, and around half of that will be in the contact center space. If you then look at those numbers, 95% of that is owned by channel.

Zoom's Joe McStravick

“The market is telling us where the business is owned — it’s in channel," McStravick added. "We would be crazy not to embrace channel. We don’t want to be the only tech provider that’s swimming against the stream.”

Zoom Looks to Double EMEA Channel Business

McStravick joined Zoom in March from Bluejeans by Verizon, where he was managing director for EMEA and APAC. The exec said he initially questioned how serious Zoom was about the channel, given its focus on direct sales.

“I don’t want to come in and just pay lip service to the channel motion,” he said. “We’re going to go all-in on it. I obviously am convinced by that because I’m sitting here in front of you today.”

Related:Zoom Rolls Out New Channel Partner Program

While Zoom won’t publicly disclose what percentage of its business goes through channel partners, McStravick said he wants to more than double its current total. The company has already doubled its partner numbers in EMEA in the past 12 months. It also launched a new partner program in March.

“I don’t want to say we’re going to be completely all channel, but that’s definitely the field that I see in the direction of travel moving forward,” he said.

To achieve that, Zoom needs to build trust with its community of channel partners.

“What you’ve seen of us historically, and where we go in the future is vastly different,” said McStravick. “So the Zoom that people know and recognize and how we approach things is transforming significantly. Being a distribution-first channel motion is something that we’re really investing in."

Zoom is also securing strategic alliances with global systems integrators that are monetizing practices around the digital workplace.

“They don’t mention Zoom an awful lot, but our technology would absolutely stand side by side and lead in certain categories, from services and solutions that they’re recommending out to the market. So we’re also building a strategic alliances team, sitting alongside my channel team," said McStravick.

Related:Zoom Reseller Partners Gain Access to Workvivo

Services Wrap for Partners

Another shift for Zoom is its evolution from "plug and play" to something around which partners can provide value to customers.

“If you look at how our platform has been built historically … we built our success on how easy we were to plug and play,” said McStravick. “There was no wrap, no service; again, that was against the market. Because if you look at the GSIs or the hyperscalers, they make their money not on the resale of a license, [but] the service they provide."

However, he noted that the services piece around adoption and integration are far more technical and solution-based than they were previously.

“We do pride ourselves on the simplicity of our platform in terms of the use and the end-user experience. But there’s so much more now that can be wrapped around with different partners for different things. Service providers can plug in their voice telephony platform [and] they can manage a contract around it. There [are] the adoption services [and] the onboarding services. And if you look at contact center, they can provide integrated services around that into the IT stack in the back office.”

Zoom Moving to a Channel-First Engagement

To drive channel growth, McStravick is building out Zoom’s in-house channel teams across the region. He is also shifting “a lot” of Zoom’s direct sales to the channel.

“We can’t change culture and motion overnight, but the intent is very much to move to a channel-first engagement. We’re showing that [through] a partner program, by reinvesting resources from our direct sales team into my channel team, and we’re still out there recruiting.”

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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