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Vonage channel boss talks UK channel growth

Cloud comms player has set its sights on growing its market share here and has backed that up with more support for the channel

Vonage is making it clear that the firm is determined to grow its UK market share and do so by working more closely with partners.

The cloud-comms player appointed Adam Wilson as regional channel manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) last year with a brief to grow the firm’s presence and partner relationships.

It followed that up earlier this year by launching a fresh channel programme and appointing a new channel chief at the start of the year to keep the momentum going.

Vonage channel chief Jim Regan has been with the vendor for years and his fingerprints were already on the partner programme and plans before he stepped into the hot seat.

“The foundational elements of a very strong programme that we’ve built in 2020 were already in place,” he said. “Exiting 2020, I was part of the leadership team that built the programme, that we believe would take us not only through 2020, but into this year and beyond.”

Regan said he did not see his appointment as a moment when things needed to be ripped up and reinvented, but rather built on and solidified.

“What we’ve done is taken the areas that have worked well for us and started to show green shoots, and double down on it,” he said. “I’ve seen some learning opportunities in things that we’ve realised over the last 10 years and that’s helped me to really focus instead on what we’re doing well in the channel.”

Regan said the firm was growing channel numbers as more partners reached out for a cloud-comms option that would meet the demands of customers looking for flexibility.

“We’re an industry that has for many years now told our customers and our partners, you can work from anywhere using our solutions and we can enable you to stay connected, and have conversations with your clients and with your employees regardless of kind of medium, regardless of location. I think we’re very well prepared for a revolution around making sure that people are working remotely,” he said.

The partner programme

The comms player is operating with a tiered structure – Explorer, Select, Insider and Pinnacle – with rewards and support on offer.

The firm has also launched its training platform, Vonage Verified, to help new partners with the on-boarding process and encouraging existing partners to hone their skills.

The other recent addition was the Partner Experience Portal, which offers a number of tools and processes for resellers such as analytics and reporting, including account and contract-level reports, payment history and key contact information.

“If you’re someone looking at Vonage, then you’re already prepared for this kind of cloud conversion for migrating your communication solution to something that is next generation. You are prepared for enabling and empowering your workers to work remotely, wherever that may be. The fact that the doors have stayed open on so many businesses has proven to a lot of customers who previously probably thought that they weren’t [ready for the cloud that they are].”

Vonage has a channel-first approach and Regan said working with partners was delivering growth. “Nine of our 10 largest customer signings in Q1 came from partners,” he said. “So, our partners are absolutely delivering new customers to us and it’s a mix of partners who’ve worked with us for a long time, and those who bring us into every kind of new customer opportunity, and those who’ve raised their hand and said, ‘I’m looking at Vonage’.”

Specifically on the progress made in the UK, Regan said the business had closed out 2020 in a decent position. “I think that’s our largest area of growth this year, we’ve seen some very key enterprise wins in EMEA. In the UK, specifically with our EMEA sales team and Adam Wilson, who is our channel lead.”

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