Zoom Taps Telarus, Intelisys Alum to Oversee Contact Center Partner ExperienceZoom Taps Telarus, Intelisys Alum to Oversee Contact Center Partner Experience
Knight spent the last two and a half years building the contact center practice at one of Zoom's top partners.
July 6, 2022
Brandon Knight, one of the advisory channel’s most tenured contact center experts, has moved to Zoom for a key customer experience role.
Knight now serves as global head of channel-customer experience for Zoom. He joins the conferencing and unified communications giant after two and half years leading Telarus‘ contact center practice. His position fits underneath Zoom’s contact center organization, with a focus on ensuring a positive experience for Zoom customers and partners.
Zoom’s Brandon Knight
“I’m going to be responsible for leading what the experience of Zoom looks like today,” Knight told Channel Futures.
His new job puts him in contact with Telarus, and other technology solutions brokerages, as well as agents, VARs, MSPs, systems integrators, resellers and large organizations. And he said Zoom’s creation of such a position makes a major statement to the industry.
“Zoom is saying, ‘This is something that we want to focus on. We want the interaction with organization to be easy, we want it to be professional, and we want to be the best at this. So we’re hiring people and building a team to do just that,'” Knight said.
Knight said Zoom has been taking aggressive steps to bolster its contact center practice, both from a technological and go-to-market perspective. After Five9 shareholders rejected Zoom’s potential $14.7 billion acquisition of the contact center software provider, Zoom set out to build its own offering. The company announced Zoom Contact Center in February. Then in May Zoom announced the acquisition of conversational AI and automation platform provider Solvvy, to bolster customer support and experience.
Zoom’s Scott Brown
Zoom in April brought on Scott Brown, a former collaboration sales leader at Cisco, to serve as head of contact center sales.
“I think by first bringing in someone like Scott and then the acquisitions, Zoom is building an ecosystem by absorbing these specialties, so that it will be a full, omnichannel, video-first product,” Knight said.
Zoom last month unveiled a new framework that brings together its communications and collaboration offering with its events, spaces, contact center and developer offerings.
“It doesn’t matter how your communication originates. If it originates as a contact center or phone, or in a webinar or on a conference, we want those interactions to be interchangeable. We want you to be able to communicate on any platform,” Knight said. “And that’s why I think it’s a pretty big statement, because no one else can do that right now. There are unified communication systems that use different contact centers that integrate. And there are there are some quasi-video conference systems out there. But to put everything on one platform easily sets us apart.”
Knight said Zoom carries a unique mix of scale and innovation. Although Zoom is large enough to be a household names, Knight said the company is tackling the contact center in a nimble and disruptive fashion.
“They’re a big, established company that is an absolute disrupter,” he said. “I think the industry is going to be amazed at how quickly this happens.”
Knight said Telarus is an “A-team” organization at which he enjoyed his time. He also said Telarus held the status of Zoom’s top TSB partner in terms of volume.
Before Telarus, Knight served as channel head for Serenova, which ultimately merged with Lifesize. Knight also spent two years leading the Intelisys cloud contact center practice. Moreover, he said his time on the supplier side brought him into close contact with people from Avant. That gives him close contacts with the three largest technology services distributors – Intelisys, Telarus and Avant.
“A lot of the agency partners, alliance partners and VARs will be very excited. I have a long standing relationship with them,” Knight said.
The new role does, however, change the dynamic with people on the supplier side, as Knight moves away from a supplier-agnostic role.
“For some of them, it will be kind of a frenemy relationship going forward,” he said.
Knight said working in supplier-agnostic contact center leadership roles equipped him with important insights for his current job. He said overseeing the relationships between vendors and partners often taught him what a vendor “shouldn’t do.”
He said partners need a simple registration process.
“From a partner perspective, being tagged to a deal early, quickly, efficiently is paramount,” Knight said.
He added that vendors need to bring value to partners.
“It’s not just, ‘Hey, we want to sell. Who are your customers?’ It’s about what value can you bring to these various partners from a supplier perspective to make it easier to do business,” he said.
Knight said Zoom is stressing adaptability to various partner types. That means engaging differently with resale-based and commission-based partners, as well as U.S. and international partners.
“We’re not requiring international partners to function like they’re in the States. We’re not requiring resellers to act like they’re an agency. That’s the focus of Zoom. We’ll meet you wherever you are,” he said.
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