Channel Post speaks with Geoff Greenlaw, Senior Director EMEA at Veritas about his role as a sales and channel specialist and how he has applied his vast experience to drive profitability and growth.
What is your career history to date and key career achievements?
I am a very proud sales professional, and that ethos has carried me through my 22 year career in IT Sales. My career foundations were built at Rank Xerox for four years, followed by another four years at Parametric Technology Corporation. My career really blossomed at Veritas (and Symantec) where I started as an account manager 14 years ago, and from there I have taken on many EMEA leadership roles in the business including Head of Enterprise Sales, Commercial Sales, Sales Enablement, Specialist Sales and Channel. This uniquely rounded view of a sales organisation has been the critical differentiator in my success to date.
What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a channel influencer?
Very simply, driving sales growth – for both Veritas and our channel partners. My role is to ensure our channel community is armed with all the tools and resources they need to be successful in this highly competitive Information Management sector. These include a world-class partner program, campaigns, enablement, roadmaps and collateral that ultimately help our channel partners articulate business-led, value-based conversations at C-Level, intertwined with driving predictable profitability and growth.
What qualities should a channel influencer possess to lead the channel?
Having a 360-degree holistic view of every function across the business is critical. Only from this perspective is it possible to drive true leadership, teamwork, collaboration and view the channel as a direct extension to our sales force in the field. I strongly believe in taking my team on a journey with me– from Enterprise Sales to Channel, to cement that 360-degree view. It is also imperative to build business champions within our channel and promote Veritas’ market offerings and capabilities in the same way our own people do.
What is your advice on finding success in the channel?
It is imperative that you have regular contact across your entire territory with your partners and customers in order to understand the challenges and opportunities they face every day. Visibility is also critical to joint success so that you have knowledge about what is working and what should be improved. To help shape these conversations we have developed a very clear, documented set of standards and expectations so that we can be accountable to each other. This enables us to focus on the four most critical areas of our channel business – business results, partner loyalty, team engagement, and operational excellence.
How would you assess the current state of channel?
Veritas sees huge opportunity to help businesses drive digital transformation and benefit from the exponential growth of data. We also see cloud as a massive growth driver as organisations look to harness the power of their data in a multi-cloud world. Our partners remain a top priority, and as we continue on this journey to the cloud, we are recruiting new partners who can help us and our customers make this transition.
What is the biggest challenge facing the IT channel in the region?
Middle East is a high growth market and there are major opportunities that exist. One major challenge is the customer adoption of cloud as there is concern about where data is being held, which is creating some resistance. We need to change perceptions and provide that reassurance so that businesses can begin to harness the power of their information. I also believe that we need to build awareness around the vast benefits of cloud technology. For example, Veritas has signed significant strategic global partnerships in the last six months with key cloud service providers, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google and IBM, whereby Veritas Technologies will underpin their backup in the cloud.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
I would urge the channel not to try to be ‘all things to all men’, and to focus on the vital core strengths – the two or three things that will make an impact for them. The role of the channel is to sell and this can be done in an effective manner by working side by side with us, taking our brand, our messaging and our solutions to the market.
How can partners work effectively to generate growth in the channel?
Veritas looks for three things in a partner – commitment, capability and a growth mindset. These three attributes will help partners in successfully delivering the scale and market reach required.