Driving Growth Through Partnerships, A Discussion With Bill Corbin, CenturyLink

By Dave Brock

IO-Images / Pixabay

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Bill Corbin, Senior Vice President, Alliances and Strategic Partnerships for CenturyLink. We had a wide ranging discussion on leveraging channels and partnerships to drive more effective engagement with customers. I thought I’d share some of our discussion.

Dave Brock (DB): Bill, before we get into it, can you share a little of your background?

Bill Corbin (BC): I’ve been involved in various aspects of “channels” for most of my career—both working in the channel and in roles with major companies like CenturyLink. I’ve been here the past year, really focused on helping drive growth through more focused relationships with our various types of channel partners.

DB: I know what you’ve done represents a significant shift in what CenturyLink was doing in the past, what drove the shift in approach.

BC: I think there were two primary things that have been behind this new approach to serving our customers. First is the recognition that, as broad as our product and service solutions are, often we only address a part of what our customers need. They are looking for capability beyond just what we provide—consequently, with our partner channels, we can provide a much more comprehensive solution to our customers, making it easier for them to buy.

Second, while we have long leveraged channels, we had a “one size fits all” approach to our partners. As a result, we provided the same programs and support to specialized resellers, distributors, s (ISVs), systems integrators, and strategic/OEM partners.

In reality, each of those segments has distinctly different business models, as well as support needs. We determined we needed to have a more granular approach to our channels. We needed to work with each segment in ways that maximized our shared success in addressing the goals of our customers.

As a result, last Fall, we changed from a “one size fits all” approach to a segmented approach. We branded it the CenturyLink Alliance Advantage, with a segmented approach, focusing on

  • Channel Alliance: Traditional resellers and distribution.
  • Software Alliance (SWAs): Building support for our products/services in the Independent Software Vendors.
  • Systems Integrator Alliance (SIs): Building close relationships with a small number of integration partners.
  • Strategic Partner Alliance: Building our relationships with a small number of strategic and OEM partners.

In each of these segments we provide people and resources focused on working with the organizations in their segment. As a result, we could be much more effective, developing programs that helped both the partner and CenturyLink work together to solve the needs of our customers.

For example, the needs of a specialized regional reseller are very different than the needs or a global SI. Now we can work with each segment in ways that create the greatest value for them.

DB: You launched this shift in the Fall of 2016, what are the early results and learnings?

BC: We are starting to see good traction across the board. The most important thing is the CenturyLink teams are more closely aligned with their partners and Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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