Meet the channel manager: Polycom

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This article appeared in the May 2015 issue of CRN magazine.

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Meet the channel manager: Polycom
Mark Braxton

In October 2014, Mark Braxton was asked to head up Polycom’s ANZ channel team, bringing 15 years of channel experience to the role. He says this is what gave him his 100 percent channel-focused perspective.

Journey

“I’ve been at Polycom for a bit over seven years now. When I first joined, I was a channel manager, and I did that for a while before I became the distribution manager. That gave me a good grounding of the industry, and I got an overall look at the vendor-to-distributor relationship.”

Partners

“Our global program is called Choice Program. We’ve got around 7,000 worldwide partners aligned to that. It covers all of our streams, including solutions providers, distributors and consultants. Our channel is made up of our audio guys, with whom we’ve
had the longest relationship, our new cloud partners, new managed services partners and our distributors.”

Program

“We’re very excited that Polycom is going to release its new program in the US on 1 April. We’ll be following through with the release later in [2016] in the ANZ market. We’ve listened to our channel partners and met requirements in areas that were responsive to the channel. We’ve tried to put together elements that our partners find most important based on our four pillars: simplicity, transparency, velocity and accountability.”

Lessons learned

“The biggest lesson for the channel, and what I consider the most important, is relationships. The best overall outcome for the customer is when they are aligned with the vendor. That’s pre-sale as well as post. Whenever we stay close to each other, we can provide the ultimate outcome for our customers’ needs and requirements.”

Events and awards

“We have a couple of different awards categories based around our event, Team Polycom. We have a global awards and an APAC partner awards. This year, Telstra picked up Global Cloud Partner and Dimension Data won Systems Integrator for ANZ. Locally, Smartpresence picked up Excellence in the Industry award for ANZ and Pro AV Solutions picked up Excellence in Innovation.”

Challenges

“One of the biggest challenges we have is keeping the channel up to date with the changing market. Paul Newell [vice president of Polycom ANZ] and I have completed a national tour where we talked about the changing channel needs and starting the road forward to building and maintaining new relationships.

“Polycom continues to focus on growing the skill sets of its existing channel partners to ensure they are well positioned to help customers in this continually evolving IT landscape. Our current channel ecosystem is very dynamic and we are committed to not only growing our mix of partners but also helping them expand capabilities.”

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