IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

New Zoom Channel Chief Betting Big on Partners

Todd Surdey (pictured) plans to make more Zoom products and services available through the channel, offer richer benefits to top-tier partners, and drive closer collaboration between partners and the company’s own salesforce. By Rich Freeman

Zoom wants to help its growing partner base sell more than just the Meetings application that put it on the map.

“I really want to accelerate the opportunities so that every product Zoom has, the channel will and should have the ability to resell or refer that,” says Todd Surdey, who became the collaboration and communications vendor’s head of global channels and business development in July.

Surdey, who spoke with ChannelPro on the eve of Zoom’s 2022 Zoomtopia Partner Connect conference, which takes place this week online and face to face in San Jose, Calif., pointed to Zoom Contact Center as an especially promising revenue opportunity that too few partners have access to at present.

“This is a newer product for us, and as we start to really launch that into the channel it’s going to be massive,” he says. Zoom Phone, a VoIP service available through the channel since March, has plenty of untapped sales potential for partners as well, Surdey adds.

“The growth on that is off the charts and to me, we’re not even skimming the surface,” he says.

The same goes for Zoom’s support services, adds Surdey, who hopes a new incentive program for those offerings will encourage more partners to include services when selling Zoom products. “You’re really going to see an uplevel in terms of the percentages and margins that we’re giving to our channel,” he says.

Surdey stepped into his current post weeks before the formal launch of Zoom Up, the vendor’s first partner program with a tiered benefits structure designed to reward the most committed members with extra margin and resources. 

“I think they were kind of, and I mean this in a positive way, screaming for something like that,” says Surdey of Zoom partners. Adding further benefits for upper-level members is among his plans for the program going forward.

“Like any program, you want to attract the masses, but you also want to invest in the companies that are investing in you,” Surdey says, highlighting training as an area ripe for enhancement.

“What you’ll see at the top is customized or semi-customized enablement programs like boot camps,” he explains.

Zoom Up is one component of a larger channel building effort aimed at expanding and re-energizing sales of Zoom products, which have slowed from the explosive growth rates seen at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The company, which barely had partners back then, has close to 10,000 now.

“We are moving strongly as a company to being partner-centric,” Surdey says. “The sales teams and the leadership have really embraced the channel significantly.”

Making Zoom an easier company to do business with, by responding to quote requests faster and simplifying deal registration for example, is key to sustaining that momentum, Surdey suggests. Arming partners to “work hand in glove with our sales teams” to share leads and pursue deals that combine Zoom products with partner services is critical as well, he adds. 

“We’re helping them to educate all of our pre-sales organizations globally so that when they’re in these opportunities, they can go, ‘hey, there’s a great services offering for healthcare that this partner does,’” Surdey says. 

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