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News of two prominent ScanSource/Intelisys executives leaving shook up the channel on Wednesday. But what's the impact for partners?
August 24, 2023
As hybrid distributor ScanSource sees a reshuffling of key leadership associated with its Intelisys unit, leaders at three Intelisys partners say they don’t foresee drastic day-to-day changes in their operations.
News broke Wednesday that John DeLozier, president of ScanSource’s modern communications and cloud unit, and Chandler Legarreta, Intelisys sales leader, were leaving the distributor. ScanSource is declining to comment on the news.
Intelisys is the technology services distributor (TSD) branch of ScanSource, which ScanSource acquired in 2016.
That news followed the departures of Northwest sales leader Mike Wolfington, and vice president of partner experience and marketing Jamaal Savwoir earlier this year. Interviews with sources close to ScanSource on Wednesday pointed to limitations placed on the Intelisys team while working within a much larger, publicly traded company.
But on the ground level, three different Intelisys partners say they aren’t seeing a huge impact from the personnel shuffle.
Here’s our list of channel people on the move in July.
“I genuinely don’t understand why everyone’s [saying], ‘Oh my God, I need to go sign with another TSD right now,'” TeamKC Telecom owner Cynthia Ferrell told Channel Futures. “All you’re doing is falling into the trap of what the other TSDs want you to do. They want us to think that people leaving at the top has anything to do with the price of tea in China.”
TeamKC Telecom’s Cynthia Ferrell
Ferrell, who launched her technology advisory firm in 2020 and has been running her business through Intelisys, is paying much more attention to the people who are helping her engage with customers. For example, she pointed to Patrick Chen, director of regional engineering for Intelisys, and his team of sales engineers as the people who have provided indispensable help.
“I think the biggest takeaway from this needs to be, we’re putting way too much stock in the comings and goings of VPs and C-levels,” Ferrell said. “Agents need to actually ask themselves, who cares? How does this affect me? How does it affect my customers?”
Allan Jaffe, vice president of technology at Top Speed Data Communications, agreed about the impact of lower-level employees who touch more parts of the partner experience.
Top Speed Data’s Allan Jaffe
“The impact to my team is much greater when changes are made to line personnel — channel manager, sales engineer,” Jaffe told Channel Futures.
Those sentiments in some respect reflect the changing nature of the channel and the increased scale of TSDs like Intelisys and the increased level of processes. That’s because, as sources tell Channel Futures, there have been times when leadership turnover impacted partner loyalty much more.
Avail Partners’ Dan Marsh
Take for instance, when ScanSource bought Intelisys. Many of Intelisys’ most decorated sales partners had built close relationships with Intelisys brass, including co-founders Rick Dellar and Rick Sheldon, sales operations leader Carole Beering and president Jay Bradley. None of those people work at Intelisys today. A similar refrain has emerged in conversations with different platinum Intelisys partners — that the attention from those leaders made them feel like superstars.
Many have accepted acquisitions at Upstack or diversified their TSD partnerships.
“I built my reputation – and we built Intelisys – on the premise that the partner comes first,” Bradley told Channel Futures in an interview with Channel Futures earlier this year. “Our business and our needs are in the background, and the partners’ business and their needs are in the foreground. And that’s what we did. We made stars out of our partners. They loved it.”
But that expectation of a close personal touch might reflect a legacy channel era. Avail Partners managing partner Dan Marsh said the technology advisor channel is growing at a fast rate. As other industry observers have pointed out, professionalization is increasing and hiring at many TA firms has shifted the focus from agents to agencies. At the same time, the TSDs have built out more programmatic systems that can reduce the impact of executive turnover, Marsh said.
“I do think great leadership absolutely matters, and I also think our TSD partners are big enough and so well established that day-to-day operations are not affected,” said Marsh, whose Seattle-based company holds platinum partner status with Intelisys.
That said, Intelisys partners like Avail are putting a high priority on the speed and the efficiency of those systems.
“As TSDs evolve, we are looking for the ones that understand us and drive value to our unique business model,” Marsh said. “Just holding contracts with vendors is not enough. We want TSD partners that are focused on sales enablement and can help us deliver services to clients faster and more effectively, and are proactively delivering us business insights of how we can operate better.”
What it will take for those companies to meet those sales enablement needs, however, is another question for another time.
Read more about:Agents
Senior News Editor, Channel Futures
James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.
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