At NordLayer, we embrace seamless online collaboration with team members scattered across the globe. And it's always a joy to have colleagues from far away places visit our headquarters.
Today, we are fortunate to have Kyle Tatum, the Channel Sales Manager for the US market, as our guest. Kyle serves as the vital link between distributors and the end users of NordLayer. During our conversation, he shared his valuable insights and experiences gained from working with partners and end users.
What was your journey through the channel ecosystem? What life lessons have you learned?
My journey began in distribution at Ingram Micro. Two dedicated years later, I shifted gears, venturing into a vendor role. And after another four years, I proudly joined the NordLayer team.
If I were to pinpoint one invaluable lesson from my time in this industry, it would be this: relationships are paramount. Connections are the compass that guides you, whether with partners, distributors, or even fellow vendors. Navigating this space without the right relationships is simply impossible.
What’s your take while working with MSPs & distributors?
There's a common thread when we talk about Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Distributors. They both seek vendors eager to invest in them.
Service Providers pursue a vendor partner willing to invest the necessary time and resources to nurture their growth. They don’t want to be perceived as a “customer” but as a genuine “PARTNER.”
Distributors, on the other hand, deal with a similar challenge, yet in a subtle way. Vendors often come aboard with this notion of instant sales.
However, distributors must rally their sales reps and MSPs around the proposed solution. The only way to do this effectively is if the vendor and distributor work together. Because, at the end of the day, nobody can champion your product as much as you do.
Share your insider knowledge—what are partners' expectations for a vendor?
Partners seek a product that works and consistently delivers on its promises. It may sound straightforward, but in my experience, the primary reason for partner attrition is an unreliable product that fails to perform consistently.
Also, effective communication is crucial. Partners desire a vendor who can engage with them openly and efficiently. They want a vendor who stands by them with representatives genuinely invested in their success.
How does NordLayer help partners with the end-user challenges?
Delivering personal support hand-in-hand with our MSPs is key. MSPs are determined not to appear unprepared or incompetent during calls with their end customers, as it undermines trust. Having a dedicated NordLayer representative by their side is an undeniable benefit.
In addition, I strongly believe in providing easily accessible resources like knowledge bases and troubleshooting guides. This can significantly take the pressure off our partners.
When end users can find straightforward solutions to minor issues without the need to engage their MSP for support, it's a win-win. It saves time, reduces headaches, and fosters a smoother partnership.
How do you enable your partners to excel in selling and supporting your products?
I always make myself accessible to them. I'm there if they need me to hop on a call and advocate for the product. And I've noticed, over time, as they witness me do it repeatedly, they gradually embrace it themselves. The same philosophy applies to deployments. If a partner needs me, I stand beside them, always ready to assist.
How will tech, especially cloud services, redefine the future of the channel sales? Are there any emerging trends in the channel ecosystem that catch your eye or raise an eyebrow?
In my view, channel sales are already leading the way, especially here in the United States. Virtually every major vendor has had to shift their focus away from direct programs and prioritize the channel.
This shift is primarily driven by the sheer efficiency and the vast number of organizations we can reach through partnerships.
Now, integrated platforms are gaining prominence. In the past, MSPs would assemble their tech "stack" with various solutions they deemed the best.
However, today, as they scale, MSPs are emphasizing workflow and seeking solutions that seamlessly integrate with their existing arsenal. Some vendors are acquiring smaller players to create comprehensive "all-in-one" platforms.