What was your first job:
Marketing and Advertising Exec for a nightlife social media company
How did you get into Channel marketing:
When I joined CyberSmart we had two ways of going to market, Direct and Channel. Initially, my skills were applied to driving acquisition for Direct customers, but I quickly realised there was a huge amount of potential in using digital marketing to drive Channel forward.
From then onwards, I started making the most of relationships we had including the likes of CompTIA, looking at how the biggest players in the industry address Channel marketing, as well as interacting with a lot of our customers and partners to understand how they are sold to. Gathering a lot of information and knowledge, we were able to start building the foundations for Channel marketing at CyberSmart, and start driving marketing activities across the whole customer lifecycle, from acquiring new partners, all the way to supporting our partners with driving more revenue from their current customers. We now have an experienced Channel marketeer in our team, and we’ll be looking to expand our capacity in the near future.
Best day on the job ever:
Not one single best day, but the days that make us all very happy are always when we receive great feedback from our partners. It is also pretty amazing when new partners who, after being onboarded, start immediately taking our products to market and see quick results, using our products as a gateway to sell more of other products in their portfolio.
Biggest thing that’s changed in the industry since you started:
We can’t ignore the pandemic. Pre-pandemic and post-pandemic Channel are clearly different. The interactions with our partners and their customers have turned to online first, this has enhanced the need for a digital-first marketing experience.
One thing that I have found amazing has been the resilience I’ve witnessed in the industry; an unselfish resilience, with lots of organisations supporting each other, allowing for more meaningful connections and collaborations.
How has the pandemic changed your priorities:
Our priorities have remained unchanged. In fact, they have been enhanced by a digital first world, where our product is right at home, especially with more hybrid workforces demanding better and more accessible cyber security.
Are you witnessing a skills shortage and difficulties recruiting people into the Channel? Why should young talent choose a career in the tech Channel?
We have seen huge movement in the job market, but as a growing company this has played well for us. As we have increased our team size, we have been introduced to a large number of great candidates, even seeing people transitioning from more generalist roles to more specialist ones. This has certainly brought more complete candidates to the recruitment process.
From what I’ve learnt in my little time in the Channel world (under 3 years) is that Channel is a great place for young talent to come in and grow very quickly. There are incredibly innovative, and world-changing products out in the market, as well as opportunities to create amazing professional relationships.
Tomorrow’s world: your prediction:
I believe that the future is already here. With the acceleration of digitalisation on the back of the Covid Pandemic, Channel marketing is becoming digital first, and end-customers expect digital experiences, regardless of what they are buying. Vendors must support Channel partners with great digital customer experiences, digital content and support for digital media (Social, Paid Social, Organic, Email marketing, etc…). All these elements will reduce the friction of purchasing products by giving prospective customers information along the full marketing and sales funnel. Therefore, allowing for educated purchases and ultimately, building trust with the partners.
Then and now- the one thing you wish you knew back then:
The huge potential for Channel. Honestly, it took a while for me to fully grasp the huge opportunity Channel presents and how much can be done by working closely with great partners and distributors. I am converted!
Sam Soares is an accomplished growth leader in a variety of industries, including high growth tech startups. He has a track record in driving super-fast growth of customers, is passionate about product-led growth, and delivering great customer-centric experiences. Over the past 2 years, Sam has taken his marketing and sales growth mentality to support Channel growth for CyberSmart, creating key industry partnerships and driving explosive revenue growth.
Visit Sam’s LinkedIn bio here