Channel enablement firm JSG has announced five additions to its leadership team focused on community, alliances and influencers, channel activation and enablement, and digital marketing, in response to the “seismic” changes happening in the industry, says Janet Schijns, CEO of JSG. “We're moving to an era of co-selling. We're moving to an era of gen AI, and quite frankly, we're moving to an era where distribution is changing dramatically and the channel's changing dramatically with it.”
Just as the shift from on-premises to cloud impacted the go-to-market model, so will the shift to a gen AI world. “The next generation of vendors, suppliers, and partners are being born in AI, and this is a wholly different channel,” Schijns says. “The born in the cloud [generation] is now going to go over to the born in AI [era]. But it takes a significant change in their marketing, in their channel strategy, and their go-to-market plan. And that's what we're here to help drive. “
To help the ecosystem make that transition, as well as assist new entrants to the channel, JSG is bringing on board:
- Kathleen Martin, SVP of Communities
- Leona Kral, SVP of Alliances and Influencers
- Lynne Thornton, SVP of Channel Activation
- Kathy Amro, SVP of Marketing Services
- Laura Steward, VP of Business Strategy and Channel Enablement
Martin, in addition to leading JSG’ 50% club, a leadership group for women in the channel, is charged with amplifying JSG’s commitment to diversity and community. She will be creating “a next generation partner community for those folks that are coming into the industry in this new services-led, gen AI-led space,” Schijns explains. “So, it'll be a safe place for these partners to go, a safe place for them to have conversations, a safe place to get advisement and advice. And we'll be launching that in the fourth quarter.” The new membership group will have two tiers, paid and unpaid, she notes.
In response to the co-selling era of partners selling with partners or partners selling with vendors, Kral will be working with the vendors on evolving their channel programs “to make them meaningful to the folks who are influencers,” Schijns says. “We know that alliances, tech, collaborations--these are where the future's going, particularly as you bring gen AI to the forefront of technology.”
Sales enablement will also be different in this AI born era, Schijns says, with more automation for lead gen, and a shift in buyer. “We've talked for decades about how you're selling to the business owner. Well, the interesting part about gen AI is you're going to go back to selling to IT, because IT is being tasked with the gen AI platforms for the business. … So just after we trained everybody to sell to business, we've got to beef back up our skills of selling to IT and finance.”
She notes that it won't completely eliminate business buying, however.
As the industry rapidly evolves, JSG is preparing and “leaning into this next generation of partners and being ready to help vendors, distributors, and the industry adapt as we move into a gen AI world. Hence the changes in bringing in all these new leaders that have these expertise areas,” Schijns says.
“Our mission statement at JS group is save the channel in everything we do. … So, we want to be at the forefront to make sure that the channel is treated properly and ethically throughout the transformation.”