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December 8, 2023
Zoom has tapped former RingCentral and Mitel channel vice president, Mike Conlon, to head up its channel efforts in the Americas. Channel partners seem enthusiastic about the move, with the sentiment on social media being that of glee for the fresh Zoom channel leader.
Zoom's Mike Conlon
Those we contacted spoke admiringly of Conlon, who announced the move on LinkedIn in a post garnering more than 300 comments and over 650 likes. He is poised to lead Zoom channel efforts in the Americas, a position that could prove consequential for CCaaS hopeful Zoom.
If there is anyone is fit to take on the responsibilities, Mike is," said Keith Dennis, chief of staff at Six 8 Trusted Advisors. "And his background aligns direct and indirect sellers together to grow the business."
It is precisely this channel growth Zoom hopes to realize with Conlon, who Dennis says has "a strong background in the channel. And Zoom bringing him on is a solid play."
Dennis said that if you look at the new Elevate partner program by 8x8 and Ignite by RingCentral, "these models cut out the direct teams," Dennis said, adding, "Some cloud providers have created two distinct go-to-market models, in addition to the VAR model, which we have not seen successfully play out for any of them."
He further noted that VAR models give resellers a license cost and enable them to "mark up and sell as they wish." That has not historically worked as it is "unpredictable," Dennis said.
"The first and the most successful cloud resale model in the past decade comes from partners registering opportunities and co-selling with the vendor's direct sales team," Dennis said. "This gives providers access to customers and the buying process. And leaders gain visibility into forecasting metrics for executive alignment."
That's where Zoom might see the most value from Conlon, Dennis said, in the model that gives partners control of running their sales cycles without the interference of direct sales teams. "To do so, they must be allowed to register opportunities and provided with access to quoting tools, sales engineering and delivery services to win new business."
This model does one vital thing, according to Dennis. It nixes the cost of goods sold (COGS) related to the direct sales team.
With Zoom having what Dennis calls "the strongest and most profitable balance sheets of all the UCaaS/CCaaS competitors," he believes they can "afford to invest in keeping their direct sales team close to prospects and customers to influence the sales process."
With Conlon fresh in the Zoom channel role, Dennis says its is the "perfect time for Zoom to double down on the channel and keep their direct sales team involved to help improve win rates while putting the competition on their heels."
And this is Conlon's strong suit, according to the Six-8 executive, who feels that Conlon has all the tools in his toolkit to take Zoom channel efforts to the next level.
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.
As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.
Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.
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