podcast | May 20, 2017
How to Transition Channel Partners from Selling Perpetual Licenses to SaaS
Today’s topic is focused on how to transition channel partners from perpetual license to cloud-based offerings. Our guest is Steve Blum, an executive sales leader who knows how to Make the Number with channel partners. What’s unique about today’s guest is that his company, Autodesk, does most their business through partners and has done so from the beginning. Autodesk grows primarily through an indirect go-to-market selling model. I can’t think of a better guest to demonstrate how to work with channel partners as you navigate your way through major shifts in your business model.
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Joining us in-person in is Steve Blum, Senior Vice President of World-Wide Sales for Autodesk. Steve has been a sales leader at Autodesk the past fourteen years, with the last seven serving as the head of world-wide sales. Steve will demonstrate how to bring a channel organization along through major transformations in the business model, such as shifts from perpetual license to cloud-based offerings. If you prefer to watch the live interview in high definition video, click here.
Autodesk’s channel business represents an astounding 75-80% of the total revenue, with the rest being direct. Steve is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of channel optimization. Steve’s team has a few named account organizations that calls on customers direct, but most his business coming through indirect channels.
Autodesk does business in 170 countries around the world. Steve begins the show by outlining his indirect and direct models of selling. To be able transact business locally in local currencies, Steve requires people on the ground in all those countries, it requires an indirect channel. The channel approach gives him scale, coverage and ultimately it provides value to our customers.
Why is sales channel optimization important? 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 sub models to consider. Coverage model decisions have never been this complicated for we live in the omni channel era.
Listen as Steve outlines for our audience how to bring your channel partners along with you through major transitions of your business model. In this use-case, from selling perpetual licenses to Cloud solutions, you must think through how that’s going impact your partners. Channel partners, like most human beings, don’t like change. There’s going to be some resistance, but if you can work through it with your partners, you’re creating new revenue streams for them. New value propositions for them. And a new set of services that might make their business more competitive.
Watch as Steve and I discuss the short-term and long-term vision for a business predominately driven by channel. As a public company, there are natural pressures from the street. Steve discusses his long-term view he takes to ensuring his partners are successful in a win-win that ultimately best serves the shareholders.
One of the most fascinating discussions in my interview with Steve is how he prevents conflict between his direct and indirect channels. This is really built by trust that he has established with the channel and his direct team. Watch as Steve explains how to build trust that will serve as the foundation to navigate your way to making the number with an indirect and direct business model.
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