By John Muscarella
Vice President Channel Sales, Cox Business
One of my top priorities is to ensure everyone on my team is completely partner-focused, from understanding each partner’s key growth goals to learning what their target markets are so we can help deliver business outcomes for their customers. We want to “think like a partner.” It’s a process we are working to hone, and we heavily invest in training, partner listening, and time to maximize growth for both partners and Cox Business.
With this focus, I particularly enjoy it when new partners ask how they can best work with us and get more attention/mindshare from my channel team. I’m always happy to answer this question because the core of any effective strategic partnership is a two-way street. I tell partners the same thing I tell my teams about our partners: “Think like us. Think like a vendor. What do we want? What key goals are we trying to achieve?” And I always tell them, “Feel free to ask us, and all your vendors. If we as vendors are doing our jobs correctly, we’re reaching out to you and asking these questions. We’d love for you to ask us the same.”
Answers to those questions and what specifically you do once you have the answers are at the heart of how partners can maximize vendor relationships. It is all about understanding what the other side is trying to achieve.
Of course, growth in the form of higher sales volume is an easy answer. But that is not the entire picture. What must happen upstream as a leading indicator of future revenue? Depending on your vendor, these are possibilities:
- It’s important to them that they grow the number of accreditations or certifications.
- They lack opportunities in their funnel, and they really need partners to focus more on lead generation.
- Within total revenue, they are looking for increased sales of certain products.
- The vendor made an acquisition, and they are looking at aggressively growing sales volume with the product(s) from the acquired company.
- The vendor is trying to increase post-sale coverage and reach to augment their own support center.
- The vendor is trying to slow the hiring of more people for their own professional services team by enabling partners to do that work.
In the end, if the partner or the vendor is really interested in maximizing the relationship and enjoying the benefits of what that means, you must be committed to understanding what is important to them and adjusting your approach to focus on those very important outcomes.
About the author: As the Vice President Channel Sales at Cox Business, John is responsible for the overall readiness strategy for the indirect business sales channels. His team John Muscarella Vice President Channel Sales, Cox Business has the primary responsibility to develop, implement and sell solutions utilizing the Cox Communications network throughout the country. John has more than 25 years of experience in business management, which includes sales and leadership positions with companies such as Polycom, Sprint and EDS.