One of the less surprising announcements yesterday was that Mark Hurd would be joining Oracle as a co-president. I found it more interesting that Larry Ellison found HP Board had let him go due to political correctness. For the record, Mark Hurd was let go due to expense reporting irregularities not sexual harassment. In any event, Oracle recently acquired Sun and while I followed Hurd's efforts at HP, I did not know that his strength was in building their channel. In fact, it seems that building the sales channel is becoming strategic for an array of companies.
Skype announced this week it was expanding its channel in order to reach business customers. Skype now understands that if it wants to sell its products to businesses of all sizes and types a channel program is required. Skype is promoting Skype Connect 1.0, previously known as Skype for SIP. Skype Connect allows users to make and receive Skype calls by connecting Skype to existing PBX and UC systems. While most of the certified PBXs seem to be the major brand platforms like Avaya, Cisco and Siemens, it is clear that in order to reach the large SMB market, certification will also be extended to the lesser-known brands.
Another major channel announcement came from Mitel. While the major story was that CEO, Don Smith, was retiring from the company. The companion story regarding the appointment of Philip Keenan as US channel chief caught my interest.
As the VP of Marketing and Sales for Broadvox, building an effective channel is my first priority. The company's financial growth with SIP Trunking depends upon the collective performance of our channel members. Within the IP communications industry channel managers are responsible for the company's growth or unfortunately failure. Oracle, Sun and HP are members of the IP ecosystem making changes to grow their channels. Mitel, Cisco, XO and Comcast are members of the IP communications group where the changes to their channel can directly affect an ITSP like Broadvox. Therefore, I track their activities closely.
As for our channel, Broadvox is committed to indirect channel sales thereby eliminating channel conflict. Our VAR Partner program continues to evolve to support its members. In addition to the usual recurring commissions, training and such, we recently began offering free consultations regarding website best practices, geotargeting, SEO, and SEM. Assisting our channel members to develop leads organically leveraging the web, reduces their marketing costs while providing potential new customers and, in doing so, potential new revenue. To us, it is all about the success of our VARs, agents and distributors.
It is all about the channel.
See you on Friday...