Joining us for today’s show is Steve Blum, an executive sales leader who knows how to Make the Number with channel partners. I’ve known Steve for a long time and he’s always been on the leading edge of channel management. What’s unique about today’s guest is that his company, Autodesk, was built from the beginning to grow primarily through an indirect go-to-market selling model. Few companies start with an indirect model and this represents a unique insight into making the number with partners. We will discuss how to work with channel partners as you navigate your way through major shifts in your business model.
Today’s topic is focused on channels and go-to market models. During our discussion, Steve and I leverage the annual workbook for our conversation. Flip to the Channel Optimization phase on pages 290 – 298 of the PDF workbook.
Joining us in-person in The Studio 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 for us how to cover the market completely, with direct and indirect sales channels. I can’t think of a better guest to speak on how to bring a channel organization along through major transformations in the business model, such as shifts from perpetual license to cloud-based offerings.
Steve is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of channel optimization. Autodesk’s channel business represents an astounding 75-80% of the total revenue, with the rest being direct. Steve’s team has a few named account organizations that calls on customers direct, but most his business coming through indirect channels.
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.
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.
Watch as Steve outlines for our audience how to bring your channel partners along with you through major transitions of your business model. In this particular use-case, from selling perpetual licenses to Cloud solutions, you have to 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 actually creating new revenue streams for them. New value propositions for them. And a new set of services that actually 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.
If you would like to spend some time with me on this subject of channel strategy, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.