Infrastructure services-focused telco Zayo strengthens channel resources to expand indirect business

Zayo appoints a channel leader with much more authority and resources than the position has had before, as part of their initiative to expand their channel business and take advantage of their general momentum in the market.

Phil Mottram, Zayo’s Chief Revenue Officer

Communications infrastructure services provider Zayo has initiated a push to expand their indirect channel. The company has beefed up their channel resources, and indicated that new channel incentives are in the process of being developed.

“We believe doing more business with indirect partners is good, and our doors are open for business,” said Phil Mottram, Zayo’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Zayo believes that they bring a differentiated value to the telco space that skilled channel players will find attractive.

“The company is now 11 years old, with 3600 employees,” Mottram said. “Some telcos focus more on services and not the underlying infrastructure. We are the complete opposite. We tend to focus on communication infrastructure services. We have acquired many companies with deep network asset footprints that allow us to provide dark fiber and colocation services.  Nearly 40 per cent of our revenues are from fibre solutions, dark fibre in particular. We focus more on the high end of the market, because that’s where the demand is for dark fibre, particularly from Web scale companies who are building out more and more infrastructure. Enterprises are more interested just in bandwidth.”

On the colo side, Zayo now has 50 data centres, either ones they have acquired or space they rent in someone else’s facility. Canada is one of the countries where they consider themselves to be particularly strong.

“We have really good coverage in Canada through a couple of acquisitions, Allstream [in 2015] and Optic Zoo Networks in Vancouver in January of this year,” Mottram said. Earlier this month, Zayo also announced an extension of their presence in Montreal, with the building of a 60 km dark fibre ring for a global cloud provider.

Zayo focuses on five key verticals: finance and professional services; public sector, health and utilities; carriers; cloud software and infrastructure companies; and media content. They see the expansion of their channel business as part of a strategy of building on recent momentum to intensify their growth rate.

“There is general excitement within Zayo at the rate at which we are growing – both organically and inorganically,” Mottram said. “We are developing really good momentum, and we want to grow at quite an ambitious rate. We see working with partners as essential to deliver our growth goals. While our own salespeople are focused on a list of key accounts, we see indirect partners as being able to help both outside those accounts,  and within them as well, because they have different relationships.”

Mottram said that while Zayo has always had partners, they are now making multiple initiatives to step up their channel business – not by enlisting flocks of new partners, but by engaging in selective recruitment, and most importantly, by taking measures to make their partners more productive.

“We have an established indirect channel, and we never disappeared from the indirect business, but there is a lot more that we can do there, so we are taking steps to re-emerge on that scene,” Mottram said.

The promotion of Grant Burchfield in February to the position of VP of Indirect Channels reflects this new focus. While Burchfield’s position itself is not new – Zayo has had people in that role before – the extent of authority vested in Burchfield is without precedent at Zayo.

“This was not a leadership role before, and it is now,” Mottram said. “We have also added new headcount to his team. There are more resources, and it’s a far more significant position than it was before.”

Zayo also attended last week’s Channel Partners show in Las Vegas to engage with partners.

“We had a heavy presence at that conference, and had about 30 key partners in for a dinner,” Mottram said. “We spent a lot of time there talking with partners, and we had a very positive response. They told us what a great opportunity they thought Zayo was, that we are one of the few companies focused on asset-rich infrastructure services, and that we have not been distracted by consolidations and mergers.”

Mottram pledged that there will be a lot more activity on the indirect side from Zayo going forward.

“We are presently developing new incentives for partners which we have not yet made public,” he said. “They are being worked on right now.”