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Zayo Hints at Major Shifts Ahead of Upcoming Channel Partners Expo

Gear shift

Interview Transcript

Craig Galbraith: “Hey again everyone, Channel Futures Editorial Director, Craig Galbraith here, looking forward to the upcoming Channel Partners Conference and Expo and MSP Summit, March 11th through the 14th at the Venetian in Las Vegas. 

“I’m excited today to talk to one of our sponsors, Zayo Group. It's Chris Nine, Senior Vice President of channel sales, representing the company. Chris, how are you?”

Chris Nein: “I'm great today, how are you, Craig?”

Craig: “Doing fantastic. So Chris, let's talk about a few things today. Maybe you could start by sharing some of the key strategies that Zayo employs to effectively leverage its channel partners and maybe how those strategies contribute to the company's overall success in the channel market?”

Chris: “Yeah, that's a great question. And really pertinent to what we're working on right now. I mean, everybody knows Zayo for our infrastructure products, dark fiber, wavelengths, and IP connectivity. But with our recent acquisitions and creating a managed services portfolio out of QoS networks, education networks of America, and Allstream, what we've entered into is a group of products that are primarily sold by trusted advisors.” 

“What we're seeing out there right now is a trend toward companies that are trying to move away from traditional MPLS networks and to the Edge. And they just don't have the experience level to do it themselves.” 

“So they go out and find trusted advisors or partners to help them guide them through the journey. And so when we get into a deal, most of the time, they've got somebody sitting there who says, hey, I'm here to help.” 

“And that tends to be one of our trusted advisors or channel partners. And so as we look at building an edge core cloud network – and you'll hear that from us a whole bunch: ‘edge core cloud’ – using infrastructure, using our cloud connectivity, and now these edge services to drive application performance and voice being one of those applications, you've really got a move to this managed services portfolio, which is so driven by the channel partner community.” 

Craig: “Chris, tell me, you touched on it a little bit, talking about the relationship between Zayo and its partners. Really crucial for mutual success, I'm sure. So how does Zayo ensure strong alignment and synergy with its partners?”

Chris: “Yeah, I think the most important part there is a strategy of top down and bottom up. We are re-adding our national partner leader, and we've got an offer on the table today, so hopefully at Channel Partners, that person will be there representing Zayo”. 

“And that's that top down; making sure data integrity is high, systems are up to date, and what we put in with the large partners, the TSDs and the regional masters, that we've got our information as accurate as possible, so when somebody goes in and tries to get a quote, they know Zayo can be top of mind in what they're quoting is accurate.”

“But most important for us is this bottoms up approach. And we want our field personnel, and our field personnel team is growing. We're looking for great people, so if people are seeing Zayo as a place to land, we certainly want to talk to you, but we're growing that team because we expect our folks to literally be hand fighting in the streets with the partners to win these deals.” 

“And if you think about what I described in the first question, this migration in technology, that takes a team to win those deals, to present the solution and have the customer select you among several different providers, and it could be different SD -WAN platforms, different switching platforms, plus the carrier.” 

“So there's a lot that goes into it, so we need to be sitting there with our partners, providing the resources, the technical expertise, the financial expertise, all those things about putting those deals together.” 

“So top down, bottom up, we meet in the middle, and we're supporting our partners everywhere we can.”

Craig: “I like that little teaser about personnel news at the event. So we'll look forward to that. So Chris, speaking of the event, what should partners look forward to when connecting with you guys at the channel partners?”

Chris: “Yeah, I think that we'll have a nice presence there we're gonna have a bunch of our team, a bunch of our leadership. And what we're going to show is an investment in the channel that people aren't used to from Zayo, which is great.”

“You know, Craig, at this time in our business, we're seeing some of our fellow providers are shrinking their commitment to the channel. They're shrinking teams. They're not spending as much money. Zayo, who may not have always been known as the most channel -centric company, is in full length.” 

“This is more than we've ever done. I think, honestly, you know, I accepted this role as of January 1 because I did so many Edge deals through the channel that it was a natural thing. But really I look at it and say: ‘this is where Zayo needs to invest more and more, to hit the numbers that we need to hit for our investors. The reality is that we need to grow the channel exponentially. We need to make this work for everybody. So our investment here is growing, not only with personnel, but with investment with the TSD’s, investment in events like channel partners, investment in deals.”

“We obviously want to meet with everybody. We want to see as many people as we can. We want them to attend our happy hour. We have a coffee hour where we're going to be announcing our channel awards. There are also happy hours with our channel awards.”

“We have coffee in the morning. We're going to be announcing the technology partnership, a new one inside our edge portfolio. So this is really exciting for us. We want to see everybody there. We want to meet with everybody, but we want people to see the investment that we're making. Yeah. A lot of good stuff is on the horizon.”

Craig: “It sounds like Chris and I look forward to seeing you at Channel Partners. Thank you so much for Zayo’s continued support of the event.”

Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Zayo