Serenova has operations in California, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

April 8, 2019

9 Min Read
You are hired

Brandon Knight, Intelisys’ first-ever cloud evangelist, has joined Serenova, a CCaaS and workforce optimization (WFO) provider, as its senior vice president of global channel sales.

Intelisys hired Knight more than two years ago. Before his stint at the master agent, he was president of Exceptional Call Centers, where he also partnered with Intelisys. He said his new role will provide a “much greater opportunity to impact our industry.”


Serenova’s Brandon Knight

Knight will provide the strategic direction for Serenova’s channel partners globally, focusing primarily on engaging current partners to continue to drive adoption of Serenova’s contact center solutions. This latest appointment allows Serenova to bring its portfolio of cloud contact center solutions to a wider market through strengthened partnerships and focused vertical sales strategies.

“Brandon has a strong reputation for building large-scale teams and driving corporate growth,” said John Lynch, Serenova’s CEO. “We’re excited to have him lead our channel partner program, taking Serenova to even more customers across the world. His vast experience in strategic alliances and channels – particularly his dedicated experience in our space as well as the cloud – will be an asset to Serenova as we continue to build momentum. The caliber of Brandon’s experience speaks for itself, and we know he’ll be instrumental in Serenova’s future growth.”

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Serenova has operations in California, Canada, the U.K. and Australia. The company will be in booth 1575 at this week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Knight talks about why he wanted to join Serenova and his plans for working with the company’s partners.

Channel Partners: Why did you want to join Serenova?

Brandon Knight: I’ve been a consultant and an agnostic adviser in the contact-center space for the last several years. I’ve watched all the players, and I really feel like Serenova is uniquely positioned to make a huge impact in this space. I think they’ve got a lot of things right and I feel like there [are] a couple of pieces of the puzzle that I want to put together, and I feel like I can help them do that.

CP: How will this new role be different from your role with Intelisys?

BK: At Intelisys, [I was] the contact center practice leader for a master agency. So in that role, I helped sales partners and the channel make the right decision for the right software for their customers. In this role, I’m really going to be championing for them and everyone else why Serenova is the right decision. So basically it’s like I’ve spent the last few years helping people choose the right software for their company and now I’m saying, out of all the choices that are out there, I think Serenova’s the right one.

CP: How will your previous experience come into play in your new role?

BK: That, I think, is going to be unique because usually when you talk about a head of the channel or head of a sales team, you’re talking about someone who has either come up on the technology side or come up in sales and switched over to technology, and because I’ve garnered my experience in the actual operations – I’ve run contact centers globally, for Fortune 100 and Fortune 200 companies – that’s what I’ll bring that will make this different. I’m going to approach this from the operator’s, from the user’s perspective, and I think I can offer channel sales reps a …

… unique perspective on the mindset of that person that they’re trying to talk to and are trying to do business with.

CP: What’s your take on Serenova’s current channel strategy and partner program? Are changes needed?

BK: I think the current strategy is good, but as far as changes needed, I think it needs to explode. I think it’s been a very calculated approach. When I look at Serenova‘s channel approach and support, and resources in relation to other companies in this space, I don’t think they have enough people in the right regions, in the right areas. I don’t think we have enough boots on the street as it were. And we’ve done a lot of things to clarify our message and I love that approach, the way that we go about product versus the other companies, but I think one of the things I’m going to change is I’m going to try to put more resources closer to the partners that actually need them.

CP: What are the biggest challenges facing Serenova and its partners?

BK: Honestly, I think the biggest challenge is really just awareness, and I talk about this even with them. Serenova has a great product, it’s recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, it was built on a solid platform, but their name isn’t as well known as some of the other names out there. Even though they’ve been out there for years, they’re not a new company, their name just isn’t out there. It’s getting people to be aware that Serenova exists, that they are a major player. According to Gartner, we compete at the top level with the No. 1 brands in the leadership quadrant. It’s getting our name out there, getting our branding with a consistent message, and it has to be easy for the channel community to absorb in order for it to spread. And I think part of that is really sponsoring more things, being part of more things and really being out there. There hasn’t been anyone in this role prior to me joining, so I think that alone is going to send a signal to the channel community that we’re serious.

CP: What’s at the top of your to-do list?

BK: At the top of my list, believe it or not, is actually training. I think that’s one of the things that I’m bringing from the agency side. I spent a lot of time on the agency side training sales partners, training channel reps how to have the conversations, how to start the conversations, how to be subject-matter experts in the contact center space. So that’s what I’m going to bring both internally to the Serenova sales team, the Serenova channel team, and externally as well. Top of my list is doing what I can to get the channel to be smarter about selling contact centers to end users.

CP: What do you want Serenova’s partners to know about you and what you’re like to work with?

BK: What I want them to know about me is I am not your typical sales guy. I know that sounds weird and probably many people say that, but I go back to my actual experience of running contact centers. I talk the talk, I walk the walk, I know what’s important to them and I’m really interested in partnering. And probably the thing that I think may shock them the most is I’m going to be as involved and passionate in a deal that’s a right fit for Serenova as I am in telling them when it’s the wrong fit for Serenova — because I think that’s important. I don’t think it happens enough in this industry. I want to let the channel sales reps know if …

… they bring me something that is not a good fit for Serenova, I’m going to tell them early. And I may even tell them which supplier, which vendor is the right fit because that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four years, and I think it’s important to maintain integrity that way.

CP: What’s your take on the current competitive landscape and where do you want to see Serenova fit in the future?

BK: I think where they fit now is coming off a year or so of trying to be a me-too supplier. We do this and the competitors in contact center do this, too. Where I see us going is, at Serenova we make a certain type of window, and what I want to do is, I don’t want to focus on all the houses of these windows, I want to focus on the houses that are prebuilt and need the windows that we provide. I want to spend my time and effort there. I want my team to spend their time and effort there, and not spend time trying to force our windows into a house where they don’t fit. So I think that’s what I see for the future because I want to clearly identify what Serenova believes to be its ideal customer, what Serenova believes to be its ideal vertical market, I want to get that branded and get that message out to people. And then I also want to be the source, the expert for those specific types of customers and those verticals, and clarify the playing field a little bit. I think Serenova does some things uniquely different, uniquely special and we need to get that message out.

CP: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?

BK: The first thing I hope to have accomplished is I want to be the top contact center software provider. I want to be No. 1 on the planet and I want to do that really by focusing on our customers. And really success for me would also be not having to have conversations about who Serenova is and what Serenova provides. It will be having the entire channel know Serenova is that company, Serenova is the one where, if I have this and this with a customer need, then they’re the go-to company. If we accomplish that regardless of actual sales volume, that will be a success.

CP: Is there anything else we didn’t touch on that you would like to add?

BK: I want to bring back some fun. I think this industry is a little stodgy. The contact center cloud space seems to be stale, the needle hasn’t really moved; it’s still 88 percent premises based. I think part of moving that needle is cloud contact center companies need to be more agile, they need to be easier to do business with and they need to be more fun. And I plan on bringing all of that.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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