The industry veteran tells us about the first thing he wants to do as the company's channel boss.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 8, 2020

5 Min Read
UCaaS transition

Channel veteran Curt Allen plans to accelerate the Vonage partner program when he takes the reins as channel chief next week.

Just weeks after Mario DeRiggi vacated the role, Vonage appointed Allen as its new channel chief. Last November, Allen stepped down from his role as Windstream Enterprise’s president of strategic channels and moved to an advisory role with the company.


Vonage’s Curt Allen

Allen emerged from retirement to become Windstream’s channel chief almost three years ago and initiated partner program changes after Windstream filed chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Allen talks about why he is joining Vonage and his plans for the company’s partner program in the months ahead.

Channel Partners: Why did you want to take this position with Vonage?

Curt Allen: Vonage has experienced significant growth over the last year in channel sales, which is a critical component of the company’s go-to-market strategy. And we continue to invest in the channel leadership to keep this momentum going. I believe my experience in building and leading high-performing teams and go-to-market strategies that deliver sustainable growth in the channel, both as a partner and as a channel leader for a provider, gives me the unique experience to lead Vonage’s channel at this time of Industry inflection. That experience combined with the tremendous market opportunity presented by the Vonage Communications Services Platform, delivering an integrated, end-to-end communications suite, will complement our steadfast commitment to partners and help drive growth for the company.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.

From unified communications to contact centers, and the integration of video, voice, messaging, chat and verification into customers’ applications, products and workflows, Vonage is helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation. The company’s continued investment and considerable growth in the channel underscores this dedication. And I am looking forward to contributing to this ongoing success.

CP: What’s your take on Vonage’s channel strategy? Any changes needed?

CA: My predecessor made excellent progress in establishing Vonage as a channel-focused company. My job is to build on that success and accelerate our growth in the channel. I will be evaluating our engagement model to make sure we are maximizing our partner models strategically and tactically. My initial impressions are that I love the team and am very happy with the commitment the new leadership has to channel. If a change is needed, it would be to accommodate the changing marketplace.

Today, Vonage’s fully programmable unified communications and contact center applications are built from the Vonage platform and enable companies to transform how they communicate and operate from the office or anywhere, providing enormous flexibility and ensuring business continuity. The full potential of the Vonage platform is attractive to an entirely new type of partner. Partners that view us through an outdated legacy lens as a UcaaS-only play need to be educated, and that process is well underway. My job will be to make sure my team is supporting partners in the manner they need to drive revenue with us, and helping all partners understand the strength and breadth of the Vonage offering.

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

CA: I’ve spent the last two decades of my career focused on the channel, both as a master agent and a leader of channel programs with large technology providers. Having spent a significant portion of my career on the partner side and on the provider side, I am in the unique position to …

… truly understand what drives decision making at all levels and models in the sales partner space. My reputation for being transparent and honest in all situations allows me to go back to partners I have known for decades, and build programs with them that they know will be based on my firm belief in what we are presenting to them.

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

CA: The first thing I will do is reach out to as many partners as possible to get their opinions on where we sit in their business plans so that we can refine our go-to-market as needed – quickly and with agility – to accommodate their vision of what success looks like in the partnership. If we understand what success looks like for our partners in their relationship with Vonage, we can build relevant strategic and tactical plans that will be impactful and relevant.

CP: What are the biggest issues facing your partners and what will be your role in addressing them through the Vonage partner program?

CA: Our partners face the same challenges all partners face. The good news is that most of those challenges present opportunities. Certainly, the pandemic presents unique challenges. We have all had to change our engagement models, and our customers are facing uncertainties that make long-term decision making difficult. All of this is happening in the midst of what has been a huge transformation for the channel related to the solutions our customers are demanding and the requisite skill set needed to execute in this marketplace.

The good news is Vonage is positioned to service those needs. Whether it is working with our partners to deliver fast, agile, and scalable work from anywhere and business continuity solutions, or if it means helping them assist their customers with the completion of their digital transformation with our end-to-end integrated communications suite, we are here and ready to assist our partners.

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

CA: Vonage has a great program; we just need to accelerate. Over the next year, my focus will be on ensuring alignment with our partners to guarantee Vonage is delivering a program that drives business within our partners’ definition of success so we can all achieve our goals. We have the solution set, we have a great and supportive partner base, and we work in an integrated sales engagement model that has eliminated channel conflict. We are poised for growth.

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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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