The best advice for channel leaders is be authentic and put people first.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

September 16, 2019

4 Min Read
Channel Partners Top Gun 51 logo

The keys to building a successful channel program are being confident in what you’re doing and having patience as it grows.

That’s according to Geoff Chretien, NICE InContact‘s vice president of channel sales. He’s part of Channel Partners’ Top Gun 51, which recognizes a new generation of channel executives, those who build and execute programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success.

The Top Gun 51 were recognized at Channel Partners Evolution in Washington, D.C.


NICE InContact’s Geoff Chretien

Chretien is open and easy to do business with, and he pushes partners to encourage customers to transform their businesses. That requires some out-of-the-box thinking, but the payoffs are big, and Chretien is always willing to go that extra mile to help NICE InContact partners grow their average deal sizes.

Chretien joined NICE InContact more than eight years ago, previously with Clearwire – now Sprint – and Paetec — now Windstream.

NICE InContact’s cloud and on-premises call center solutions are used by more than 25,000 organizations in more than 150 countries, including more than 85 of the Fortune 100 companies.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Chretien talks about his experience and accomplishments in the channel, and shares advice for successful channel leadership.

Channel Partners: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?

Geoff Chretien: Yes, I was first introduced to the channel while working for AT&T Wireless back in the mid-90s. From that point on, I knew it would always be a big part of my career. There’s no better, more scalable way to go to market, and the relationships I’ve made along the way are priceless.

We recently unveiled our “Top Gun 51,” a list of today’s channel executives who deserve recognition for building and executing programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success.

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?

GC: Yes, I have been responsible for building channel programs from the ground up. Successful channel programs aren’t easy to start; they’re often expensive and take time to get off the ground and running. You must be confident in what you’re doing and be patient while it grows. I think my experience gave me the perspective and perseverance to know what to do and stick with it.

CP: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?

GC: I’ve learned that trust, rapport and transparency are paramount. The channel is all about relationships with partners. If you lack these three elements, you won’t have a very successful channel.

CP: What are the components of a successful channel program? Are there things that used to work, but now don’t?

GC: I think it starts with a compelling product or service that people need. A fair contract, great channel salespeople, and a comprehensive support structure to make the wheels turn. A lot has changed over the years with the evolution of technology and customer needs, but I think the general mission of the channel hasn’t changed.

CP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?

GC: My biggest accomplishment is …

… the triple-digit growth we’ve realized in the channel during my current tenure at NICE inContact. The success we’ve had is attributable to the people I work with, the leaders who have mentored me, and the team I’m privileged enough to lead every day. I think above all, our partners appreciate the people they get to work with as much as the company itself.

CP: What are your career goals going forward?

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

GC: To continue to lead and develop great people in the channel, and to further expand my relationships with our partners. I have always loved tech since the birth of the cellphone, so I look forward to continuing to bring new, cutting-edge technologies to our partners and customers through the channel.

CP: What sort of advice would give someone who is just starting out in channel leadership?

GC: My advice is to be authentic and put people first. At the end of the day, people buy from people they like and trust, and that is also true in the channel. Hire and develop great talent and empower them. Also, as a leader, your word is your bond, so do what you say you’re going to do and don’t be afraid to make the hard decisions. Bad news early is always better than bad news late.

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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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