Top Gun 51 Profile: Nice InContact U.S. Channel Leader Ray Hicken

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Nice InContact U.S. channel leader Ray Hicken is focused on pursuing new partnerships and creating new revenue streams for the cloud contact center company.

Telarus' Ray Hicken

Nice InContact’s Ray Hicken

Hicken rejoined Nice InContact last year to oversee U.S. channels. Before that, he headed up channel sales at CarrierSales and contact center sales at Telarus. He leads a team to develop and execute growth strategies for all U.S.-based strategic partners.

His work at CarrierSales was instrumental in drawing Telarus’ interest in acquiring that company in late 2017.

Omdia recently ranked Nice InContact No. 1 overall in technology assessment, execution assessment and market impact ratings for multichannel cloud contact center.

Hicken is is part of our Top Gun 51 for 2020. Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. There were three criteria considered in selecting this year’s group: advocacy for the channel; commitment to partners’ business success; and dedication to earning the channel’s trust. To come up with the list, we solicited input from those who know channel executives best. We’re talking about distributors, master agents and industry analysts.

Nice InContact’s Ray Hicken is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Hicken talks about his experience building channel programs from the ground up, and what Nice InContact partners can expect from the company moving forward.

Channel Partners: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?

Ray Hicken: I got involved in the channel when I was first at Nice InContact. I was promoted from a sales rep to a channel manager and eventually was director of channels. It wasn’t part of my overall career plan. But it is a natural fit because of my background in sales and sales management. And it lined up well with career plans and career objectives at that time.       

CP: Have you been responsible for building channel programs from the ground up? If so, how did your experience come into play in these processes?

RH: I built a channel around contact center when I went over to CarrierSales, which was a master agency in the Mountain West … that was acquired by Telarus about two years ago. I brought on different suppliers who had never sold in the contact center space, and helped them to know how to work within the channel-direct channels. And I also was able to help them come up with different kinds of programs for agencies and for the different subagents that could sell our products. We were able to create also new partnerships with contact center-focused subagents and partners who became very strategic to drive a contact center practice.

My experience helped immensely because I knew contact center products very well and sold it myself, so I could speak intelligently to that. And then I had some experience with channel and sales management for the last 25 years in the realm of higher education where I was a manager over large sales groups. So I had some experience in building things like a sales group and a sales strategy … that naturally fit into that program.

CP: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?

RH: They’re passionate and they care a lot about their customers. The channel is heavily influential and it provides a …

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