Top executives in the Channel came together during a Panel at the 2023 National Summit titled “IT and Digital Transformation Strategies That Lead to Growth” and discussed what areas of growth and opportunities they see in the coming year, and how Partners can best position themselves for success. Encouraging customers to embrace solutions that result in transforming their IT and Digital approach often comes down to knowing how to address their priorities, allay their fears, and impress upon them the benefits they can realize.

Hosts Linzie Janis, and co-moderator, Sandler Partners Regional Vice President Nicole Folino, welcomed Christopher Jones, AT&T Business AVP Sales Channel; Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business/Masergy Sr. Vice President & Channel Chief, Indirect Channels; Brian Walters, Kustomer Head of Global Channel; and Zane Long, Ring Central SVP of Global Partner Sales to the stage for an discussion of how the economy is impacting technology sales, and where Partners should keep their attention.

“We’ve seen some compression, customers aren’t expanding as they once were during Covid,” started off Zane. “Customers were rushing around trying to fulfill the opportunity for their employees to work remotely. That was a massive expansion. People are coming back to work (in the office now). There’s an economic component as well, customers just aren’t expanding as much as they were. Prem PBX Migration to Cloud is where a lot of the acquisition is coming from…there are 100 million+ seats (that could be migrated to the Cloud). ”

“We’re seeing a lot of customer demand,” countered Brian, “concentrating on prioritizing technology that is going to help them enhance and scale. With the labor (market) and what it’s become, we’re finding a lot of customers are needing to really be thoughtful in their investment into technology, and what they are buying is something they can stand behind in the coming years as well.”

“There’s a lot of expense reduction, there’s a lot of revisiting how people are running their technology, but there’s not a shift away from technology,” notes Chris. “When you think about everything that’s been talked about – whether it’s AI, or all of the workloads moving into the Cloud, or hybrid workload – all of that still requires core technology. Extraneous technology spending is being limited, (and) some of the wild technology ideas that people have with customers are being consolidated. As business starts to shrink and contract, they need to look for more efficient way to do things, and that’s where technology becomes that much more important. If your focus is on the right part of technology, and the right stacks, there’s a huge opportunity.”

“It’s taking longer to close deals,” states Craig, “but there’s still a high volume of opportunity. it’s taking longer to get through the sales cycle. It takes more time for various C-level entities to approve those kinds of deals than it used to, however, they’re still out there because all these companies need to secure their networks and that’s going to be an ongoing issue. The fastest growing part of our business is enterprise, both mid-size enterprises and large enterprises. We just closed (two large deals) with Partners, who are getting involved in those kinds of discussions, which to me demonstrates the value of the trusted advisor, and the relationship they have is amazing, I don’t think we could have closed deals like that in the past.”

Overall, the conversation was exceedingly positive and highlighted the many opportunities Partners have with these Providers and in the Channel. To hear more of what these executives had to say, and what’s on their minds (a common thread throughout the National Summit, AI was discussed again), join the full unabridged conversation by watching the session recording!