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October 16, 2019
He’s made it his top priority to spread the message of why his company should be the lead partner for both the channel and customers. As far as his commitment to partners, he tells us he’ll never be satisfied with how easy Vonage is to do business with. That’s music to partners’ ears.
Vonage’s Mario DeRiggi
DeRiggi 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. DeRiggi previously was executive vice president of Broadview Networks, and before that was executive vice president of national sales and service for PaeTec Communications, which was Windstream bought.in 2011.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, DeRiggi talks about his experience in the channel and gives advice for future channel leaders.
Channel Partners: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?
Mario DeRiggi: My entire career has been focused on sales channels, revenue generation, and building and developing go-to-market strategies. Back in the late 1990s, the channel as we know it today was building a tremendous amount of momentum as a route to capture and onboard customers. Having overall responsibility for generating and increasing sales and revenue, I began spending quite a bit of time with the channel partners and understanding the tremendous value they bring to any organization looking to drive sales.
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?
MD: In my last two roles, I have had the opportunity to build and develop an overarching channel strategy. My previous experience in the channel was absolutely vital to delivering an unwavering commitment to a successful channel strategy. Key to this was the understanding of the value the channel partners bring, as well as the ability to develop strategies to properly onboard and enable partners to drive your message.
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: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?
MD: Our partner relationships are so important to our business. The success of our partners is critical to us in driving speed to market. By developing strong relationships with partners, they are going to be able to get your products to market much faster because they already have that end user within their customer base. And because our best partners are also trusted tech advisers, our route to market is much faster.
CP: What are the components of a successful channel program? Are there things that used to work, but now don’t?
MD: Key to a successful channel program is the ability to understand and target the type of partner that drives success. With that, it is then key to properly onboard those partners to ensure they understand your company, your process and your product differentiation, as well as to provide ongoing training and enablement programs. In the past, the focus was more on …
… a product and price, but now it is all about cloud transformation and delivering solutions that affect business outcomes.
CP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?
MD: The long-term relationships that I have developed and fostered over the last 20 years are my greatest accomplishments, along with maintaining and growing those relationships and delivering a valuable partner experience.
CP: What are your career goals going forward?
MD: My goal moving forward is to continue to develop an evolving onboarding process for our partners that gets us in a better position for them to understand the One Vonage value proposition. Vonage is the only provider to offer a unique and powerful combination of unified communications, contact center and communications APIs; this, in turn, provides our partners with a key differentiator to capture and retain important customers. They want to go to market with a provider like Vonage that can help them drive additional revenue to their customer base. My ongoing goal is to educate our partners so that they always think Vonage first when looking to help their customers transform the way they do business.
CP: What sort of advice would give someone who is just starting out in channel leadership?
MD: Embrace the channel and the value that partners bring to the customer relationship. Partner experience is what will drive engagement. Develop a culture in your channel that embraces and supports the partner experience just as much as the customer experience.
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