An Interview with Jason Turner, Named CRN Channel Chief 2019
NetMotion is a software company that has been experiencing some tremendous growth. This success can be largely attributed to our close relationship with our channel partners in the US and overseas, and it’s well known that we’re a fundamentally channel-centric organization.
We’re very grateful to our many partners that help fuel this expansion, but it’s our Director of Channel in North America that creates the strategy for our partner ecosystem. Jason Turner heads up a team of hard working and smart channel managers, who collectively execute on his plan to continually grow the channel side of the business in a big way.
We’re delighted to share that Jason was recently recognized as a 2019 CRN Channel Chief – a just reward for some high impact outcomes over the past 12 months. To help understand what makes for a successful channel leader, Jason has taken the time to answer some important questions about channel operations in the modern era.
What excites you the most about what’s happening in the channel today?
There are all kinds of things I’ve seen recently that are changing the way that work is done in the partner community. The best ones are evolving from simply selling point products to creating their own services – in some cases partners are even developing their own IP to bring real, differentiated value to their customers.
What do you think the big trends in channel are?
This is a natural extension to what I was just mentioning. I’ve personally witnessed a number of our channel partners focus more on building out service portfolios and finding ways to offer managed services rather than just products. It’s no real surprise to me that so many wish to create these packaged solutions because not only are they typically higher margin but they also increase the level of stickiness with their customers.
What should vendors keep in mind when developing relationships with channel partners?
The number one thing to understand is that, just like a relationship, it’s not all about you. It’s very important to understand how you work with other vendors the partners may offer and present a combined solution. If you can discover meaningful ways to integrate into their service offering, then that’s even better.
Similarly, how can resellers and other partners do more to get more value from vendors?
This one sounds simple at face value, yet I see a lot of partners miss this one completely. Take a proactive approach: engage with the channel marketing resources at the vendor. Chances are they know the best way to drive leads with their product and will even help fund activity. Most partners today are either forcing vendors to prescribe to their marketing plan (big resellers) or not taking advantage of any marketing (small resellers) I’m relying on some generalizations of course, but I truly believe there is so much more than most partners could be doing to market better with the vendors.
Which partner do you think is doing particularly good work at the moment?
I’ve watched Insight grow dramatically over the last ten years, having originally spent a few years there earlier in my career. I continue to be impressed by their forward-looking approach to service-centric acquisitions and most recently their acquisition of Cardinal Solutions in August of 2018. They have truly transformed from a VAR to a SI under the leadership of Ken Lamneck.
What advice to you have for people starting their careers in channel?
Whatever you do, just don’t do It! Just joking. Get a credit card with a big limit? No that’s not it either.
My advice for someone starting in channel, or in any line of business for that matter, is really simple. Put yourself last and make decisions that are in the best interest of your company, partners, and customers and you will build relationships that will last a lifetime. Seek out people that are smarter than you and learn all that you can. Especially when you are starting out. I attribute a lot of my personal success to consistently trying to surround myself with the smartest people and learning everything that I can from them — and I still do today.