It’s high time we shared an episode of the Channel Journeys podcast with you. Ally Murtlow: How to Manage Explosive Channel Growth, is packed with valuable knowledge and insights around how to grow digital ecosystems.

Ally Murtlow is the Director of National Channel Sales at Dialpad, and if there’s one thing Murtlow can speak about with confidence, it’s how to manage incredible, explosive growth. After all, Dialpad expanded their channel team from less than 10 people to over 40 in one year, in order to manage the incredible 150% growth in channel bookings year on year.

Did that get your attention? Good. Here are our key takeaways from Murtlow’s episode.

How do you successfully grow a channel team that quickly?

Murtlow speaks about the ‘beauty of the channel’. She says that the tight-knit communities of partners in digital ecosystems are a great avenue for hiring new channel team members. Murtlow explains that having even just a handful of good partners that you trust means that when they hear that you’re looking for new channel managers or channel team members, recommendations for great candidates come flooding in from the ecosystem itself. This is a great way to find quality hires.

How does the onboarding process for new channel team hires work?

Murtlow considers Dialpad’s onboarding process to be the best she’s ever come across. It’s very detail-oriented and ensures that both new channel hires and new sales reps both understand how the channel side of the business works. This ensures alignment across the organization. In addition, their Partner Account Management (PAM) leadership holds weekly or bi-weekly learning sessions for the channel team, covering both the ins and outs of Dialpad’s channel process and the greater channel industry in general.

How does Dialpad handle partner onboarding?

Dialpad have rolled out a new Partner Success Portal that provides resources and tools to help agent partners grow their business. Dialpad also goes above and beyond regular onboarding training to supply marketing support to partners, like email campaign material, webinars, and joint marketing events. Importantly, all partners are given free demo licenses that allow them to use and understand the product before going out to pitch it to their customers.

Do Dialpad’s partners offer any post-sales services to customers?

Murtlow reports that they’re currently working on getting a certification program rolled out for implementation and deployment for Dialpad’s partners so that they can offer post-sales services should they choose to.

How has Dialpad managed its explosive channel growth?

Murtlow admits that the biggest challenge when digital ecosystems are growing so rapidly is simply keeping up with everything and managing to continually carry out data checks to stay on top of where key growth areas are and where things can be improved.

She does however report that explosive growth requires constant communication, and as a result of this need to communicate effectively, Dialpad has actually become even more tightly aligned than before. The need to constantly communicate and provide feedback between the channel team and the sales team has resulted in a very channel- and sales-friendly organization. This has been key to managing growth effectively.

How does Dialpad measure partner success and what are their channel goals?

Partner and channel success is measured by tracking a number of metrics, including deal registrations, pipeline deals, bookings, and the number of active partners vs. engaged partners. Murtlow’s top KPIs relate to deal registrations, pipeline growth quarter on quarter, pipeline conversion rates, and the number of agents closing deals.

Another important KPI Murtlow focuses on is increasing the number of repeatable deals partner agents are bringing in, as opposed to ‘one hit wonders’. How are agents landing repeatable deals? How many partners are they meeting with on average? How can partners be spurred from ‘active’ to ‘engaged’?

What’s the most effective way to activate and engage new channel partners in digital ecosystems?

The first step is ensuring that new partners understand what the vendor does, and secondly, making sure that new partners feel well supported by the channel team and confident enough to sell the product. This also requires making sure that new partners are aligned with the sales team.

Murtlow stresses that partners need to have the opportunity to use the product themselves in order to truly understand the ins and outs and sell effectively to their users.

Finally, it’s important to provide new partners with targeting marketing initiatives, for example, co-hosting events for partners’ customers.

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