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Top Gun 51 Profile: Tina Smith Provides Innovative Marketing to 8×8 Partners

Top Gun 51 CP CF 2020 Main Colors

8×8 partners can count on Tina Smith to provide active lead generation that results in strong pipeline.

As 8×8‘s vice president of channel and field marketing for North America, Smith has been innovative in her marketing programs. That includes sponsoring top speakers at leading partner events. She is supportive in strategic channel programs, and familiar with the circumstances of the channel and their customers.

Tina L. Smith of 8x8

8×8’s Tina Smith

Those are the things distributors, master agents and industry analysts are saying about her. We solicited input from them to compile our Top Gun 51 for 2020 because they know channel executives best.

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.

Smith has been with 8×8 since 2018. Before that, she held numerous marketing leadership roles with CenturyLink.

Last month, 8×8 rolled out its Open Channel Program. It unites all channel efforts under a single, enhanced partner program. It spans North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Smith talks about her experience in the channel and how best to support partners.

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

Tina Smith: Most of my career has been in sales (24 years) and I was always involved in direct sales leadership, not channel. I worked closely with the channel in these sales leadership [roles], but never directly. I joined the channel in a marketing capacity back in 2012 and haven’t looked back since. In my current role with 8×8, I handle all of field, but we are absolutely a channel-first company.

8×8’s Tina Smith 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.

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

TS: The channel is where growth happens. If you are with a company with a strong value proposition and industry-leading product, partners will follow you. I have really seen this loyalty develop at 8×8. Nothing like it.

CP: What are the components of a successful channel program? Are there things that used to work, but now don’t?

TS: Partners want to know where they stand, so I am a strong believer in a channel program with leveling. At 8×8, our global Open Channel Program has created tremendous growth for us, and in return we can give our partners lead generation that actually produces pipeline. Pipeline creation is one of the greatest attributes of our channel program at 8×8. The partners keep coming back for more. Two weeks ago we had a lead-generation event, World’s Largest Blitz Day, and the participation was tremendous. We created significant pipeline for our partners.

CP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?

TS: Growth through a strong partnership with sales. The marketing teams I have led have generated double-digit, quarter-over-quarter growth in pipeline and closed monthly recurring revenue (MRR) for the past two years. How do we do that? Working closely with sales and becoming a single machine. That is how that kind of growth is possible. With my sales background, I have a unique perspective on marketing and how it can be used. Our partners benefit from having a sales and marketing leader at 8×8 — best of both worlds.

CP: What are your career goals going forward?

TS: I want to continue to find innovative ways to drive growth for the partner community. I always want to push my teams and myself to create marketing and demand generation that actually can improve the lives of our partners. The name of the game is compensation. And as long as I am increasing that for our partners, I will be happy.

CP: What sort of advice would give someone who is just starting out in channel leadership?

TS: Build relationships. The channel community is built on relationships and trust. Reach out and develop these relationships early on. They will follow you wherever you go.


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