Burney Barker, SVP of Worldwide Sales for Gigamon, demonstrates how to cover the market completely with your channel strategy.


Our guest on SBI TV is Burney Barker, SVP of Worldwide Sales at Gigamon. Follow along as we learn from a transformative global sales leader with success at EMC, Dell, and now with Gigamon. With 96%+ of Gigamon’s revenue coming through partners, and Burney coming off the best quarter in the company’s history, I can’t think of a better guest to discuss channel partners.  Burney is a rare sales leader, and I hope you enjoy his insights into how a global sales leader executes a channel strategy to cover the market.


Burney and I discuss how to cover the market completely with direct and indirect sales channels. To follow along, leverage SBI’s How to Make Your Number in 2018 PDF Workbook and turn to the Channel Optimization phase in the Sales Strategy section, found on page 376If you would like to download the full transcript in a word document, click here.


This is a compelling show where Burney shares his approach to product evolution and how it meets the changing demands of Gigamon’s market. Turn to the 9-minute mark of the video to watch how Burney succeeds through the struggle of new-product introductions, and how he thinks about product and its role relative to growth rates.


Often, we hear about conflict among partners in the field when you have a heavily +80% indirect business. Matt and Burney discuss how Burney and his sales team manage this channel conflict:


“It’s a problem that’s existed since the beginning of time. Especially in the bigger opportunities, bigger accounts have lots of partners and so they have an abundance of choices. First off, the integrity of our partner program is most important. If a partner brings us into a deal, we give them registration. We’re going to win and lose with that partner no matter what. That’s key. But customers have a choice, and so, it’s vital that we capture and hold their attention. For example, new logos are a way of creating interest and initiating customer buy-in. Whenever possible, we try and let the client guide us as to their preference. We find balance because of the great number of partners, which is a good thing because we want to enable commerce but we also want to place some bets.”


Burney Barker shares his insight on covering the market, both with direct and indirect sales channels. As well as launching new products and making a transformation:


“This is a big thing to try and accomplish, so it’s got to be through a lot of communication. At sales kickoff, win the deal. Winning the deal, especially in this quarter, is vital. So, we’re really trying to make sure the team is enabled. We have small sales and enablement teams, so at kickoff, we were very clear where we’re going, and we picked certain use cases that we’re really going to focus on. Then, at our partner conference, provided some incentives to the channel. We introduced two new spiffs tied to new logos and to the security use case that we’re going to be driving in the market. What the channel partners want to do is win, and they want to make a good margin. Making sure that we’re helping them do that is number one priority: win at a fair price and a good margin for our partners, and a fair price to our customers.”


Selling to customers directly when they want to buy from partners is a surefire way to miss the revenue goal. Selling to customers through partners when they want a direct relationship with your company is equally devastating. And within the direct and indirect channel model, there are multiple submodels to consider. Skip to the 4-minute mark to watch Burney describe his company’s direct and indirect sales motion, and how it supports various partners (i.e. Value Added Resellers, Distributors, System Integrators, and Technical Alliance Partners).


Additional Resources


If you have questions or would like help calculating and benchmarking where you stand, our team of experts can assist. Bring your leadership team to see a hand-picked team of experts in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s executive briefing center. 


Here is an interactive tool that will help you test and rate your Sales Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices.


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Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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