July 29, 2020
Remote working necessitated by the pandemic helped boost Zoom’s first-quarter revenue by 169%. At the same time, the video conferencing provider worked to mitigate widespread concerns about privacy and security.
Zoom’s Laura Padilla
The channel looks to Padilla as a respected go-to source. That’s because she invests in programs to ensure partner-led sales success. Also, she doesn’t stop listening and learning, which is the mark of a trusted leader. That’s what we heard from those who nominated her for our Top Gun award. We got input from those who know channel executives best — distributors, master agents and industry analysts.
Tempering Zoom’s massive revenue with her knowledge of the channel’s power to drive brand awareness and preference in technology, Padilla works to help Zoom expand its channel reach.
Padilla is part of our Top Gun 51 for 2020 — and she is getting the Innovator Award, a special honor among the group. Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. There were three criteria considered in selecting this year’s group: advocacy for the channel; commitment to partners’ business success; and dedication to earning the channel’s trust.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Padilla, head of global business development and channel, talks about her experience in the channel. She also gives advice for future leaders.
Channel Partners: What are your thoughts on winning the Innovator Award?
Laura Padilla: It is very humbling and I am honored to receive this award among my peers. I am constantly trying to think about how we can continue to improve our business and build new routes to market.
CP: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?
LP: I have always touched the channel in my various roles through my career, including alliances, partner marketing and channels. I have enjoyed working with partners. I was focused primarily on technology partnerships early on, but wanted to work with channels to get closer to sales and help drive revenue. The channel piece of my background really rounds out my partner experience and skill set.
Zoom’s Laura Padilla is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. So check out the full list.
CP: Have you been responsible for building channel programs from the ground up? If so, how did your experience come into play in these processes?
LP: Yes, I have built channel programs from the ground up at Box and Zoom. The ability to act tactically while having a longer-term vision of where you want to take the business is critical at a high-growth company. With my experiences running my own business and working at several early-stage startups building functions from scratch, I am comfortable in the beautiful chaos that comes with building from the ground up.
CP: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?
LP: To really be true advocates for your business, partners need to feel that it is worth the investment and there will be a long-term return. Embracing a true partnership mentality is complex and requires both economic and personal reward. I have learned that …
… this balance is critical for success — and crafting a program, team and culture that fosters that is extremely important.
CP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?
LP: It is extremely rewarding to start a function and program with no partners and grow it into a global, revenue-generating program with thousands of partners trusting you with their financial health. When I started at Zoom, we had a handful of partners with very little revenue through the channel. We now have hundreds of partners who trust Zoom, and some of the largest service providers and channel partners in the world selling us. Channel now drives more than half of our revenue in certain markets and more than a quarter of our international business – minus online – is now through partners.
CP: What are your career goals going forward?
LP: I would like to be COO or run a revenue function at some point in my career.
CP: What sort of advice would you give someone who is just starting out in channel leadership?
LP: Learn, learn, learn from others and then make it your own. There is so much innovation happening in business models that partners now look to monetize platforms, services and much more than just reselling your products. Marketplaces, API integrations and so on are examples of ways partners want to innovate. It is really important to align your strategy with the company and product direction to build the right model.
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