Growth to be Proud of: Windstream Enterprise Channel Program Update

by Curt Allen
August 09, 2018

I’m extremely happy to say that Windstream Enterprise rose sharply in the CRN 2018 Solution Provider 500 list – we jumped to #13 from last year’s #23 among North America’s top solution providers, ranked by revenue.

While that kind of growth always depends on multiple factors, two especially stand out for Windstream Enterprise:

  • Our commitment to delivering best-in-class advanced networking solutions, and
  • Our determination to create the best channel program in the market.

As drivers of revenue, those two elements are completely co-dependent. There’s only so much a channel can do without first-rate solutions. And even the best solutions can’t climb in market share without a fully functioning channel.

For me, there’s a third element: No company can have fully functioning channel partnerships without the right internal infrastructure to support them.

At this point, our channel partners are familiar with the specifics of our program, but probably less familiar with what we’re doing internally. Let me bring you up to speed.

A channel program built for complete partnership

The key enablers of channel program health are the hiring of ample talent and the creation of infrastructure that talent needs to thrive. Both have been my passion since joining the company as SVP Channel in November 2017.

Our initial efforts to attract top talent surprised me, and in the best possible way. When we advertised our first openings for channel manager positions, we attracted more than 400 applicants, and the overall quality of those applicants was off the charts. There is clearly a great deal of seasoned channel professionals eager to help advance enterprise networking. In whittling those 400-plus applicants down to the most appropriate candidates, we created a talent pool that any network solutions provider would love to have on board.

From then on, our hiring has been, and continues to be, highly successful.  In the past few months, we have brought on industry expertise and talent across the program, from channel managers to client advocates, and from sales engineers to pricing managers. Our channel program now numbers more than 125 professionals working in conjunction with our partners.

We’re far from finished. As of May, our pipeline has shifted past 50% toward strategic products, meaning that over half of the deals we are now working on contain UCaaS, CCaaS, SDWAN, and our On Net assets, proving the technology transformation is happening. Funnel activity continues to increase at a very healthy pace, and we continue to bring in the industry’s best talent to elevate our program to levels consistent with the best channel programs in the industry.

Our ongoing build-out means that as a channel partner, you’re likely to encounter new faces and names when interacting with us. In some organizations, that might be cause for alarm. Not here.

Please take each new channel professional you meet for exactly what it is: a sign of our very real commitment to build the best channel program in the industry. And please make full use of the resources we’ve committed to you. We have a great deal to accomplish together in the years ahead.