Beverly Barrett explains why Channel partners must remain relevant to their customers

Beverly Barrett is director of channel management at Echoworx. Echoworx is a recognized leader in secure digital communication. Its flagship solution, OneWorld Enterprise Encryption, makes secure messaging easy and cost effective — designed to adapt to any environment and to all forms of encryption. Enterprises investing in Echoworx’s OneWorld platform, are gaining an adaptive, fully flexible approach to encryption, creating seamless customer experiences and in turn earning their loyalty and trust. CDN recently the opportunity to chat with Barrett.

Talk about your first ever role in a channel organization.

Barrett: I accepted a challenge when I was asked to take on the role of director of national channel partners for a global technology company. They had built security software that was not only a new product but a new security concept for the industry. I led the program in Canada, building brand awareness and partners across the country. It was rewarding to introduce a new technology that caused a huge shift in traditional hardware solutions to software. Messaging to partners and customers had to be defined and refined and massaged to get the concept, capabilities, and value articulated and understood.

As we were building our partner footprint and opportunities, we created a leadership team of channel directors to build the channel. Truly, this was an opportunity to build something together as a team that was valuable to the company, channel partners, and customers. It was important to deliver results to the organization as well, helping them realize the value and opportunities that a channel go-to market strategy can net. It was an opportunity to build and grow the company and to build my skills and knowledge.

What are your key responsibilities in your current role?

Barrett: I create brand awareness. I serve my company by taking responsibility for the experience partners have with our company and products. I serve my partners through a cooperative business relationship to grow their business, deliver value, and cement meaningful relationships.

How do you define “channels” at your current organization?

Barrett: Partners. Our partners must view us as a means of complementing their portfolio and expanding the value they deliver to customers. We view our partners and their brand as our conduit to the market, and we covet these relationships, working tirelessly to make the process seamless and simple, and the product best in class.

What must be done to ensure the channel continues to be a thriving ecosystem for companies?

Barrett: Channel partners must remain relevant to their customers. Products and services must provide more value in combination from a partner than what customers can buy and manage on their own. Therefore, we knit your product into our partners’ portfolios, making the message and solution relevant and an extension — complementary to their business. Partners deliver layered solutions with many products — no one product can fill customer requirements; we therefore help our partners make their solutions relevant and compelling.

What advice would you have for someone who is working to one day become a channel chief?

Barrett: Build your relationships and know your stuff cold. Always deliver more than expected and people will remember that they can depend on you. After all, people move around and grow. You never know when currency paid forward will net results. Finally, work with your channel partners as if you worked in their company.

Why would young people want to make a goal of one day becoming a channel manager?

Barrett: As a channel manager, you are a corporate ambassador responsible for image, market awareness, and building successful business through others. Equally, you are responsible for your partners’ business success. You are managing very relevant business on three fronts: your company, your partners, and your customers. A channel manager is an educator, is decisive, and is a superb communicator — a person who strives to create fair business and successful outcomes for all parties.