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Jackson marks anniversary at 8x8 with solid channel progress

8x8’s EMEA channel boss, Keith Jackson, has spent his first 12 months building a channel base to use as a platform for future growth

Celebrating a year in the role as Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) channel sales director at 8x8, Keith Jackson views the progress made in the past 12 months as building a platform to support future indirect growth.

The cloud comms specialist has been building out its channel operations and has made it clear that it intends to be a solid partner for those that choose to invest in a relationship with the vendor.

Jackson has worked in the channel for a long time, enjoying previous roles at distributors and partners, and in partner roles at other vendors. He joined 8x8 because of the strength of its channel commitment.

In terms of targets, the first 12 months have been a success, but Jackson is looking to build on that progress as he heads into his second year.

“We wanted to double partner revenues [across EMEA], and we did that by the end of our fourth quarter in March,” he said of meeting the expectations of the business.

Jackson is open about the journey the firm has taken to get here, with an admission that its channel efforts in the past were not backed up, describing it as being “too thin with too little feet on the street”.

That has changed with 8x8 bringing in senior channel leaders and making it clear that, from the CEO down, the business is behind a channel-first approach. In EMEA, Jackson has taken steps to realign the organisation to serve partners more effectively and to share its expertise with partners.

“What we have done inwards has been pushed out into the channel,” he said. “We have been on a massive recruitment drive.”

Jackson said it was not prepared to work with everyone, however, as it wanted to maintain quality across its channel base. “We have been very specific about the types of partners we want to engage with. We have got the right people internally to fit with the partners,” he said.

Having recruited more partners, matched internal support staff with the right accounts and shown it will reward loyalty with margins and training, the firm has progressed a decent distance in Jackson’s first year.

“We have barely scratched the surface,” he said. “We spent the last year finding the right channel partners...and building the foundations [for future growth].”

In response to the coronavirus, 8x8 has made its training – traditionally done in-person – available in modules that partners can go through online.

The firm continues to enjoy growth. Its most recent figures, for the first quarter ended 30 June, indicated that revenue had increased by 26% year on year to $121.8m and service revenues were up by 27.1%, coming in at $114.2m.

“We delivered first-quarter results that exceeded our financial outlook and finished the quarter with strong momentum,” said 8x8 CEO Vik Verma. “The launch of our Open Communications Platform, coupled with continued growth in mid-market and enterprise, driven by our channel-first approach, position us well for the future.”

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