New Masergy global channel chief touts analytics approach to channel management

William Madison, the new global channel chief at Masergy, credits the company’s analytics-based remodelling of their partner program as a major key to their success in the last year.

William Madison. Masergy’s new vice president, global channel development

Dallas-based managed networking and cloud services provider Masergy has announced that William Madison has been promoted to the position of vice president, global channel development. He had previously run Masergy’s strategic partner program, encompassing both North America and EMEA.

Madison inherits a channel of several hundred partners which he considers has been highly effective, and who are responsible for over 70 per cent of Masergy’s total sales,

“We have had periods where it has been closer to 80 per cent,” Madison indicated. “Our partners are a highly-specialized group that has effectively sold us, and who average between one to five deals per year,” he said. “The average MRR from these is fairly high, and their sales cycles are a little longer.

“Our universe of partners is a mixture of traditional telco and IT consultants, and has also seen an influx of MSPs and VARs,” Madison added. “We’ve had great success with many large master distributors, who are a key part of our strategic partner program. They really understand the value of what we sell and how it impacts the end user. The master distributors also help us find and identify the people who understand our value.”

The MSPs and VARs are a newer component within Masergy’s channel community.

“We see these as constituting a big phase of our growth phase,” he said.

Madison said that Masergy had recently done a health check on their channel.

“The health check indicated that we have more new partners participating than ever, and more new deals sold in our fiscal year than ever before,” he said. “It really allows us to put more science to the art of it all. It lets me sit in my seat and know what’s working, what behavior works. That provides great clarity around something that had just been a gut feeling before.”

Madison said that this comes on the heels of an intensification of the application of analytics to Masergy’s channel management.

“Over the last nine months, we have made a dramatic shift internally in terms of how we find, engage, train and protect the partner,” he indicated. “We have made a significant change in how we use analytics to assess the program, and find ways to embed great value into our program. It has led to the addition of things like lead sharing programs and other ways we can win deals with improved go-to-market.”

Madison said that part of this more systematic approach involves classifying partners according to stage-based development.

“We classify them in five different stages,” he said. The first is when they are unaware of Masergy, and have an inaccurate and out-of-date impression of the company.

“Many people have a misconception of us, because we have grown so rapidly,” Madison stated. “Some people say that they tried selling us three years ago, and that we were overpriced, or else they don’t realize that we are more than networking now. It’s mostly an education thing, and they need messaging on who we are and what we do.”

The second stage is engagement.

“This is where they start to size up if we are a proper fit for their business alignment, and if we align with their business strategies,” Madison said.

The third stage is activation, where the partners are exposed to certification and training, and Masergy makes sure that they are aware of benefits to which they are entitled.

“By the time they get into the training stage, our Net Promoter Score [NPS] has gone from -36 in the first stage, up to +39,” Madison noted.

The fourth stage is arming the partner for a deepened stage of the relationship, with business development paths, and the final stage is the repeatable stage of being successful together.

“Partners in the fifth stage view us with a 94 NPS,” Madison said. “It includes things like lead sharing, account mapping and other things they need to be successful.”

Only the top 10 to 15 per cent of partners reach this final stage, although Madison said that they expect that number to increase to over 20 per cent.

“The program has become very successful, and reflects our view that indirect channel relationships are a big deal,” Madison said.  “We have earned people’s respect, and gained their trust.”