Help partners find autonomy and provide expertise that gains lifelong customers.

July 1, 2021

3 Min Read
Young Businessman

By Zane Long


Zane Long

Change is inevitable — it’s how we react to change that determines our success. The channel itself has seen no shortage of change lately. Between the challenges and demands of the pandemic, and the increasing number of mergers and acquisitions, it’s a dynamic time in the industry.

To navigate the ups and downs, partners need to have the freedom to adapt. As we approach the Fourth of July, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of independence, and how in a rapidly evolving environment, there is power in that freedom.

Partners with the expertise and skill to function independently can succeed amid rapid transformation. Simply put, an independent partner controls his or her own destiny.

Striking a Balance

I’m not talking about direct partners versus subagents here. What I’m talking about is the proactive drive to self-equip partners to do what they do best: provide impactful solutions that lead to lifelong customers.

It’s about finding the right balance between the autonomy of a partner — when they pursue a deal on their own — and leaning on the vendor for expertise as needed. Each deal is different, and it’s up to the partner to decide how to best approach a solution. A partner who is equipped to operate independently knows when they should handle an opportunity themselves, and when to bring in more support.

It’s also about shared responsibility. Independent partners can also quickly pivot when needed. Amid strong, rapid change — like, say, when schools all transitioned to remote learning at once — autonomous partners can more quickly respond to the needs of specific verticals. Not only does this adaptability present tremendous opportunities, but it also can provide direct, effective solutions in times of crisis.

While it’s on the partner to identify such opportunities and address immediate market demands, it’s on the vendor to enable them to do so, cutting red tape wherever possible. This eliminates barriers to getting deals done and empowers partners to be self-sufficient. When a partner has the tools and resources to make effective pitches, quote deals, handle implementation and promote adoption, they can pursue urgent opportunities faster.

Mutual Benefit

So, how does a partner gain independence? By choosing to team with vendors who provide such resources — partner programs that equip and enable participants to take the reins, forge ahead and focus on solving pain points for their customers. Rather than attempting to keep a grip on the sales process, vendors should encourage and reward partners who take independent initiative.

That can be through certifications, hands-on training and a feature and content-rich portal, but it primarily comes from a mentality of mutual success. Partner-centric vendors realize that when you eliminate barriers and make it easy to do business with you, everyone thrives — the vendor, the partner, and most importantly, the customer.

When we view partner independence through the lens of shared responsibility and mutual benefits, we can build lasting relationships that help shape how business gets done.

Zane Long is senior vice president of global partner sales at RingCentral, where he oversees its Global Channel Partner division, which he has grown into a $500 million a year organization. He has more than 20 years of leadership and management experience in the telecommunications industry. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @RingCentral on Twitter.

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