Top Gun 51 Profile: Ribbon Communications’ John Macario: ‘The Business Is Based on Relationships’

Top Gun 51 CP CF 2020 Main Colors

… the portfolio and expand their business into new areas like analytics.

Finally, in March of this year, Ribbon merged with ECI Telecom, an Israeli-based packet and optical networking company. The merger brought us a whole new set of partners to support. By October of this year, we have onboarded all of the legacy ECI partners into the Ribbon partner portal.

CF: What makes a channel program successful, and why?

JM: Listening. I mean this very broadly: listening to partners, listening to the market, listening to your analytics and metrics.

CF: One of the reasons you earned a Top Gun 51 award is due to the way you advocate for the channel. Talk more about why that is and why you value the channel so much.

JM: We operate in more than 140 countries and have a very extensive solutions portfolio. There is just no way we could market and sell around the world without our partners. Our partners are advocating for Ribbon every day and we have to do the same for them. When our partners win, Ribbon wins.

CF: What is your philosophy on leadership?

JM: Hire good, smart, driven people, support them and do your best to stay out of their way.

CF: What led you to that philosophy?

JM: The first three bosses that I had in my career were very different people. The first and third embraced that philosophy completely and I loved going to work every day knowing that I could be creative. The second was a micromanager of epic proportions. Everyone who worked for him was overloaded with useless work and knew that if we made a mistake we would never hear the end of it. I vowed that I would never be that guy.

CF: COVID-19 has changed so much of how we all work. What have been the biggest impacts so far when it comes to you and your interactions with the channel?

JM: Not being able to get real-time feedback is an issue. Last year, when we were participating in channel events and sponsoring our own, you knew pretty quickly if an idea was off base or needed to be improved. Putting your feedback or questions in the “chat window” just doesn’t work as well.

CF: How have you navigated those changes — and how have partners responded?

JM: We have been working to have more small group calls with partners, but it is very difficult to scale. We have a mandate on our team that everyone have a decent webcam and that we turn it on. The best calls – the most interactive and valuable calls – are when everyone is on video. Partners appreciate it when they can see you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. Just last week, a colleague and I did a “virtual breakout session” as part of a Ribbon-sponsored event. The instant people joined and saw our video on, the questions started coming and didn’t stop until the end of the event.

CF: What unique approaches have you taken to stay in touch with partners that might fall outside the new Zoom norm?

JM: Ribbon Wine Wednesday! One of my colleagues has a spouse in the wine business. Since April, he has been hosting a group of 10 or so people from a single partner for Wine Wednesday. The wine is shipped to the participants so it arrives a few days ahead of time. We kick off with some small talk, then spend …

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