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October 7, 2019
As vice president of global channel sales for Poly, the rebranded company, Tidd successfully integrated the very diverse cultures of Plantronics and Polycom, keeping the partners in both ecosystems engaged and excited about the new company.
Poly’s Nick Tidd
He has earned the trust of both partner ecosystems during this time of confusion, change and uncertainty.
Tidd is 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. Tidd previously was Polycom’s vice president of global partner organization, and before that was Condusiv Technologies’ senior vice president of global sales.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Tidd talks about his experience in the channel and what else is in store for Poly’s partners.
Channel Partners: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?
Nick Tidd: It actually started well before college. I was just 13 years old working for my dad. People thought I was crazy, but I really liked it. He started as one of the first IBM resellers in Canada and I spent my summer months cutting my teeth as a reseller. In fact, IT and the channel reside in my DNA. My father was always in technology, as he had stores all across Canada. My mother is in the Canadian IT Hall of Fame and my brother owns his own parts company. As I got older, I realized I had more interest in the manufacturing side. That’s where I’ve been for more than 30 years.
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?
NT: Actually, a little of all. I’ve worked from the ground up and also taken established brands back into the market and adapted existing programs to the constant changes in the marketplace. That experience has helped shape the way I look at the channel. If you find a channel leader who is satisfied with the way his program is running, run for the hills because shaping a successful channel program never stops.
In my role at Poly, I am in the process of reimagining the channel program based on the foundation of our legacy companies, Plantronics and Polycom. It’s really the best kind of challenge. Inheriting two successful partner programs means we already have a foundation to build on. We’ve been recognized by the industry for past programs and I’m confident that success will carry over into the new program.
CP: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?
NT: I’ve always said this, but a good channel leader needs to be equal parts priest, ombudsman and referee. You’ve got to be level-headed, but you also have to …
… listen, referee when times get tough, and you need to mediate as needed to ensure great team success.
As a channel leader, there are many facets of the job you must excel at. But to me, one sticks out more than anything else: listening. You need to listen to your partners. Hear their stories, really listen to their questions and understand them on a deep level. You can build what you feel is the most successful channel program ever assembled, but if it isn’t at least partially constructed with input from your biggest constituents, no one will be successful. I’m constantly traveling across the globe and meeting with our partners. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job because if you’re smart enough to sit down and really listen, you’ll realize you still have much to learn.
The last 24 months have been busy. We built a successful partner program with Polycom — very unique in terms of how we recognize and reward our partners’ success. And then we were acquired by Plantronics, which also had implemented a new program around the same time. Now we get to break two solid programs down and build anew. If that doesn’t get you excited to come to work every day, I can’t imagine what will.
CP: What are the components of a successful channel program? Are there things that used to work, but now don’t?
NT: A successful channel program is built when it works for all partners, and more importantly, aligns to what an end user wants and how they acquire technology. In my mind’s eye, I believe a good partner program recognizes and rewards achievement that extends beyond just revenue generation. Partners – even smaller ones – that put emphasis on training and commitment to your organization need the recognition and ability to excel. A channel program that only recognizes the biggest players with the most resources is a myopic way to run a program.
CP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?
NT: I’ve met a lot of great people in my career. And I think that’s a testament to the people I’ve worked and associated with. But I also think it subscribes to the theory that you should never burn bridges. The relationships I’ve had, and the tenure of the staff I’ve worked with, make me a stronger leader. I’ve developed a lifetime of relationships and not only has it taught me to trust the group I’m working with – a strong and talented group – but also taught me to listen, be patient, and value and trust my colleagues. A good channel leader doesn’t do everything in a silo. He represents the team he’s working with and for.
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