Q: Your first channel job?
I started my career in channel marketing before moving over to channel sales and my very first role straight from university was with Cisco where I supported distribution partners & the Co-op Program. My role was focused on supporting Cisco’s large strategic partners and US distribution, which meant I was working very closely with the Partner Management, Marketing, and Operations teams and was able to gain a quick understanding what partners are looking for from their vendors to be grow their business. It also gave me great visibility into the programmatic side of channel partnerships and an understanding of how focusing on the ease of doing business and relationships across key stakeholders of the vendor & partners was critical to success.
Post Cisco, I moved out to New York where I transitioned from Cisco to a local solution provider in a direct sales role, which was a great learning experience! After working at the local partner, I transitioned into my first formal position of channel management at Tenable and the rest is history!
Q: How did you get into Channel management:
They say it’s who you know, not what you know and that was certainly true for my first position in Channel Management. Having worked within channel marketing, I had built up great connections which enabled me to interview for the channel position, ultimately allowing me to move over to the channel account management side. In my first CAM position at Tenable Network Security, I focused on the Central US partnerships, including the national partnership with Optiv (previously Fishnet Security and Accuvant).
Q: Why Channel?
There are a multitude of reasons why channel sales is a great career path but the main reason I enjoy it, is due to the opportunity it allows to develop and build relationships with our partners that last a lifetime. The difference from something like direct sales is working in the channel, it’s very relationship-based, rather than focusing on single transactions and moving on to the next prospect. People are more likely to buy from people they know and trust, which is why investing in relationships has been critical for me. Lastly, I’ve seen the success and impact that partnerships bring to an organisation and love the ability to make an impact that goes beyond focusing on a specific territory or set of accounts. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing the partnership which your team establishes goes from $0 in revenue to over seven figures!
Q: Best day in the job?
Seeing partners grow & assisting in my teams’ professional development and growth. With sales, you often focus on ensuring growth and success in your own current role, but I take as much joy in seeing our partners succeed as I do with my own team’s success. I’ve worked with some wonderful partners over the past 10 years, and I still continue to work with people that I first met many years ago – and I love seeing their continued growth and success. Additionally, focusing on the development of my team members throughout the careers at CrowdStrike is one of my favourite parts of the role! Coaching, mentoring, and investing in the development of individuals which assist in their personal success will always be a highlight in my current role.
Q: Biggest change in the industry since you started your career?
While I could highlight changes over the course of the years, I believe that the past 18 months have seen the biggest change due to the global pandemic! I don’t think anyone could have predicted the challenges and hurdles everyone has had to overcome since the pandemic struck. For our customers and partners, digital transformation was accelerated by the pandemic, leading to an increase of partners supporting their clients shifting from in office to remote working and ensuring their environments remain secure. While CrowdStrike has been mainly a remote workforce since its inception, the last 18 months drove changes for how my team and our partners & clients are able to engage. Our alliances organization doubled in size over 2020 and added key partnerships throughout Europe – which was all done virtually! I would have never guessed that we would onboard, enable, and realize revenue from our partners – without ever meeting in person in such short time frame, but our team and partners are unbelievably resilient!
Q: You are a senior female executive in the Channel, has that created any challenges?
Any situation in which you are a minority, there will always have the possibility of challenges or hurdles that you may encounter. Those challenges aren’t just specific to being a female executive, but also those from diverse backgrounds or those with disabilities. One of the main challenges that I can speak to personally is how you are able to gain influence with key stakeholders and how you’re perceived should you be vocal on changes or improvements that your business can make. By being vocal, you are often viewed as “bossy” vs a “leader” and through experience, you learn how to frame your positions in a way and communicate effectively so that you are able to overcome those challenges. I’ve been incredibly lucky throughout my career — and particularly at CrowdStrike — to work with people who have been great supporters of me and really championed my work. If I didn’t have these champions, it would have made my daily tasks more challenging and ultimately, reduces the impact that my team is able to make across the European region.
Q: What has been your most successful campaign?
With our partners – all successful campaigns start first by focusing on understanding their business model and how the partner will profit from a partnership with CrowdStrike. Focusing on the partners strengths, we’re able to tailor specific marketing and sales campaigns which make the best impact for our joint clients, the partner, and CrowdStrike. With my team – we are focused heavily on maintaining consistent pipeline & have weekly contests to focus on pipeline generation activities with partners. Each week we setup a new contest and the team dedicates a portion of their day to prospect to and with their focus partners. The result of that focused efforts has resulted in our team exceeding the growth expectations of new pipeline and ensure consistency – which has been critical given the year we’ve had with the global pandemic.
Q: Tomorrow’s World – what are your predictions for the future of channel?
More cloud! We’ll continue to see more partners increasing their cloud services offerings, as vendors help their clients begin or mature their journey to the cloud. Even with our customers and partners beginning to shift back to the office, we will continue to see a hybrid approach to supporting employees and the partners who are able to lead their clients through this journey, providing services along the way will profit most.
Q: Then and Now – what is the one thing you wish you knew back then?
As you have more success and more responsibility, your problems don’t get any easier! They get more complex – which I personally thrive off, because I love problem-solving. Also, understand that effective communication, both written and verbally will be key to success. Finding time to plan your vision or goals, execute on that vision, and then most importantly communicate to your partners and organisation on what you accomplished is critical. We tend to focus our time on planning & execution and overlook communicating our successes. By spending time communicating on what the teams were able to accomplish together – more individuals are willing to support new initiatives and feel connected to the vision you ultimately are trying to achieve.
Amanda Adams is the Senior Director, European Alliances at CrowdStrike. She joined the organisation in 2016 and has held multiple positions throughout the organisation in national and international roles. She has more than ten years of experience in the technology industry working with indirect partners. Prior to CrowdStrike Amanda held positions at Tenable, an indirect partner in New York, and Cisco Systems. Amanda holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Masters of Business Administration from California State University, Stanislaus.
Visit Amanda’s LinkedIn profile