Like many channel chiefs before him, Luc Villeneuve’s didn’t set out to build a channel program, or even work within the channel eco-system; but with a few twists along the way, that’s exactly where he ended up.
Throughout his 25-year career, he has played a vital role in building and expanding a variety of channel programs throughout Canada, Europe, and the U.S. From NCR Canada, McAfee Canada, Sun Micro and now Red Hat Canada, Villeneuve’s resume reads like a How to Guide for creating substantial growth within the channel.
His first significant role in the channel was as president with computer hardware company, NCR Canada, who at the time had no real channel strategy. As a result, he created one, by thoroughly learning the portfolio and defining communication with the partners. He brought that same level of thinking and innovation to all his following positions.
‘’I felt that there wasn’t enough channel focus in most of my roles, so I further developed them,’’ says Villeneuve. This vision has resulted in substantial success for the executive leader who attributes much of his accomplishments to being truly committed and transparent.
As Red Hat’s Country Manager, Villeneuve now oversees a team that has built tremendous channel profile by leveraging his years of experience and relationship management skills.
‘’When I began at Red Hat Canada in 2013, we were conducting 35% of business through the channel now we are doing 75% through the channel,’’ says Villeneuve.
Always open to sharing his experience, Villeneuve’s message for aspiring channel chiefs is short and to the point: provide value and build trust from the start.
‘’Partnerships are a necessity to any company who wants to grow but every good partnership must be a win, win,’’ says Villeneuve. ‘’ You must identify the value of what a partner brings to the table. In addition, you must have an account plan that is clear.’’
Trust is what all good relationships are built on, so building trust from the beginning is always the goal.
‘’Getting partners and potential partners to trust you off the top can be a challenge,’’ explains Villeneuve. ‘’But showing them that you’re willing to build margins and illustrating real value for them can go a long way. Showing complete visibility builds trust over time.’’
Villeneuve demonstrated Red Hat Canada’s commitment to supporting partners when his team nominated their partner Arctiq for a CDN Channel Elite Awards. They were honored with the gold award in the category of Best Service Organization.
While Villeneuve is committed to building relationships and trust at Red Hat he also brings that same enthusiasm as a member of the Canadian Channel Chief Council (C4) Board of Directors.
Why does he believe in C4? He says he finds value in exchanging ideas and common problems with his fellow peers and setting a baseline of communication.