August 11, 2020
NeXus includes access to gamified training and certifications, demand generation tools, enhanced marketing capabilities and MDF. It also offers reviews of upcoming product enhancements, promotions and SPIFFs, and more to help partners across distinct business tiers.
In addition, Nextiva’s newest channel leaders include:
They report to Eric Martorano, Nextiva’s new chief revenue officer. Before joining Nextiva, he oversaw Microsoft’s U.S. channel sales business.
Nextiva also has created a new enterprise architect team. It will work with partners on gaining enterprise customers and closing those opportunities.
Nextiva’s Eric Martorano
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Martorano provides more details about the strategy behind the new partner program and channel leadership.
Channel Partners: What prompted the need for the new channel program? How is it different from what’s been in place?
Eric Martorano: Nextiva has been very successful in working with the channel over the last 12 years. Fifty percent of our company’s revenue today comes from the channel. But we also recognize that we’ve got to continue to innovate and invest, and support our channels in new ways to drive growth for them and our partnership. So as I came on board over a month ago, we assessed some of the opportunities that we could invest in.
We’re launching this brand new partner program, NeXus, which I think will arm our partners with a really robust set of pre- and post-sales tools in the industry, where we’re including new and additional training and certifications. We’re putting in place some comprehensive demand-generation tools and additional marketing capabilities. Additional resources that we’re going to be placing into the program are partner account managers, enterprise solution architects, additional sales engineering capabilities and additional channel sales managers in the field.
Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.
We know that the channel is one of our most strategic assets. And we have to place significant bets and investments in our channel and our partners. And that’s why we have announced this new channel partner program.
CP: Did input from Nextiva partners come into play when building the new program and these other new channel investments?
EM: Absolutely. So even prior to me getting here, we’ve been highly engaged with the channel. We have a partner advisory board as well. They provided us feedback along the way on areas that we can improve our partnership or engage even deeper. So we haven’t just relied on the experience of many of us who have been here for over 20 years working with the channel. We’ve also incorporated …
… the feedback that the partner community has given us along the way. We believe that’s obviously extremely important.
CP: The new channel leadership members come from companies such as Microsoft, Dropbox and Google. What do they bring to Nextiva?
EM: Each of the new vice president leaders … had great success and a lot of experience working in the channel. And they know what success looks like and they know what the channel means. Eric Roach, who will lead channel development, that area is all around partner recruitment, enablement, activation and management. So Eric has a significant amount of experience, both at Microsoft and at one of our competitors, Intermedia, where he was extremely successful in managing and developing channels.
Hank Humphreys … has been around for a very long time as a global channel chief at Dropbox and also a channel leader at Google. So a wealth of of knowledge in working with the channel and delivering success for many years.
Here’s our list of channel people on the move in July.
And then we promoted Cathryn Valladares to vice president of enterprise solutions. She has significant experience in the enterprise space and working with partners to architect solutions to best meet the needs of customers who are up market.
CP: How will this new enterprise architect team benefit Nextiva partners?
EM: A lot of our channel today has been working in the in the SMB space where Nextiva has been unbelievably successful. But there are quite a few partners that have experience up-market or want to gain experience up-market. And with the enterprise architect team, architects around the country will deeply engage in those enterprise type opportunities to work with partners, to [build] specific solutions that meet the needs of larger clients. Historically, we haven’t had a team that was just dedicated to that. And we were leveraging a lot of our sales engineers to do that.
CP: How will additional investments in headcount help partners?
EM: We’re putting more resources into the field, in local areas, to drive additional support. So there are two areas. Eric Roach on the channel development and management side will be putting in additional sources. What we’re finding is more and more partners are growing with us, which has been awesome. As they move up into the channel program, they get dedicated partner account management support. So what we’re doing is putting more resources in that area, and that is platinum premiere.
As you become platinum premiere, you get a dedicated partner account manager. And so we’re putting more resources because we’re having more and more partners move into the platinum premiere. So that’s exciting. Now, when you’re a gold certified partner, you get channel sales management support in the field. And you get that with platinum premiere, too. We have more than 1,100 gold certified partners today in the United States. And what we’re trying to do now is put significant resources in the field in local areas that can co-sell these partners.
CP: Does all of this does all of this represent a change in Nextiva’s overall channel strategy?
EM: I wouldn’t say it’s a change; it’s a continued emphasis on …
… the strategic nature of what the channel means to Nextiva. So we start thinking about how to best support our partners. What the program and the investments are doing is reinforcing how important our partners are to us. And the strategy we’ve always had is we need to continue to grow with our partners. And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s definitely not a change in strategy. It’s an investment in the strategy to accelerate it.
CP: How has COVID-19 impacted Nextiva and its partners?
EM: In March, we completely shifted our focus to enable our partners to support their customers in the move to remote workforce. Since then, you’ll notice we’ve expanded a lot of our messaging. So a focus on verticals that were mostly affected by COVID-19, the importance of implementing automation and virtual agent strategy. And the focus on business continuity. So it was really important that we shift and support our partners through this. We have themed every month around topics pertinent to COVID-19 to ensure our partners were both enabled with the product and sales knowledge … to drive some pipeline for them. There’s been quite a bit of effort since the March time frame … to enable our partner ecosystem to really be successful in these unfortunate times.
Keep up with resources for supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.
CP: Despite the pandemic, has Nextiva’s partner-generated revenue been growing?
EM: We’ve seen some great growth — more than 35% year over year. It’s been exciting to see. And with this unfortunate situation we’re in with COVID-19, as businesses look to continue to stay connected and be productive and effective, and drive strong communications, our solutions, fortunately, enable them to do that. It has driven even greater opportunity for Nextiva channel partners because we do have a world-class solution that really supports the businesses out there to to be successful.
CP: What are you expecting to see from Nextiva partners in the coming months, and into 2021?
EM: From Nextiva’s perspective, we’ve got some exciting things that are about to launch from a product standpoint. Some of those announcements will be coming out soon. [Those] are going to really put some amazing tools into the hands of our channel community that’s going to create additional value for their customers out there.
My expectations with a lot of these investments in programs and people is we’re going to drive deeper relationships with our existing partners. We’re going to start accelerating their businesses by enabling them to drive greater demand and awareness out there in the market. We’re going to be attracting new channel partners that maybe have been sitting on the sidelines and haven’t been ready because we’re going to walk them through the journey to be successful in this world of UCaaS.
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