Laura Padilla lays out strategy to expand Airtable channel and develop channel program

As Airtable sells to larger customers they are also looking to add larger partners, although the smaller consultants who have made up most of their channel will still play a key role.

Laura Padilla, VP of Partners, Airtable

Laura Padilla joined Airtable in May as VP of Partners to build out the company’s channel, its channel strategy, and its channel program. Padilla came to the company from Zoom, where she had overseen the expansion of the channel beyond a traditional Master-Agent channel during her four plus years there. At Airtable, the channel she inherits is primarily consultants who evangelize the company to their employers and customers. The plan is to expand that, not in terms of numbers, but with a much broader range of partner types, although the consultants will remain an important part of the Go-to-Market strategy.

Airtable makes a low code platform to build collaborative apps that connect workforces and teams.

“There are features of what we do in other companies, like ServiceNow,” Padilla said. “What is unique is that we are looking to carve out a broad new category of low code and no code business applications in conjunction with Atlassian, and other companies like that, which are not direct competitors, even though there is some overlap in the product set.”

Padilla said the opportunity to build Airtable up from a small company into a major one was a major attraction in her making the move to the new company. The change in title from Head of Global Business Development and Channel to VP of Channel was not relevant, she said.

“I would have been considered a VP at Zoom, but there the language was that you  had the C suite and  the Head title for everything else,’ she noted. “The main reason I came was opportunity. I love the building phase of an opportunity, and what Airtable does here, being a connective apps platform, is modernize business processes  Being early in a company’s development was really enticing to me.

“How many people love the product is another reason I came,” she added. It is used today for more than 1 million apps, and more than 300,000 organizations use it. Those are high numbers for a company of our size.”

As of now, Airtable does not have a formal channel partner program, and their indirect Go-to-Market is heavily reliant on consultants who act as evangelists for the company.

“Our customers use about 120 consultants who have reached out to us, and of which are listed on our site.” Padilla said. “Most of them are small consultants and integrators.

“We love these enthusiasts and want them to continue to be part of our community,” Padilla added. “We will continue to embrace them. But the program will have different types of partners, like global SIs – so customers can get their needs from a broader range of consultants. The next few years, however, will have hundreds if not thousands of these smaller consultants and integrations.”

Padilla also emphasized plans are afoot to amplify the ISVs and developers who integrate on top of the company’s platform today.

“Hopefully, we will have to build it all out from scratch, but as an organization we are all supportive,” Padilla said. “It is just not done yet.”

Today, Padilla acknowledged that the partner program is ad hoc, but that this will change in fairly short order.

“We are reviewing it, and the formal one will launch early next year,” she said. “We will have marketing, training, and a ton of services revenue as customers ask them to customize their instances. We will make sure our partners are real experts, from consulting to scripting and design work, and training their customers. We will open up APIs and SDs to make integrations easy. And we will partner with large technology partners like Microsoft, working with them. Our  enterprise product is our fastest growing product.”

Padilla also noted that Airtable is undergoing international expansion plans as well.

“We just opened our London office,” Padilla said. They do not yet have a Canadian office, although they do sell here out of the U.S.

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