Verizon Business Markets‘ (VBM) new marketing leader is taking on new channel-related responsibilities following the exit of longtime channel leader Janet Schijns.
Jake Heinz, chief marketing officer of VBM, spoke to Channel Partners about his new role and Verizon’s integration with XO Communications, where he spent the last five years as chief marketing officer. He also touched on the departure of Janet Schijns, whose most recent title was VP, Solution and Sales Channels. Her last day was Friday. A spokesperson confirmed to Channel Partners that Schijns is pursuing a yet-to-be-named opportunity elsewhere — so stay tuned.
We have edited the interview transcript for length and clarity.
Channel Partners: How have you and other XO personnel adjusted to VBM?
Jake Heinz: As part of the integration, the majority of XO’s customer base fit into the small- and medium-size business segment. When we looked at, “how does the organization fit in as a whole?” much of the organization followed where the base of customers fit in. And Verizon had just gone through the process of creating Verizon Business Markets, focused on some very small business, small business, medium, and state and local education. Most of our base fit into that group of subsegments. The majority of our organization – mostly sales, customer-facing people, retention reps, sales operations and the marketing operation – fit most seamlessly into Verizon Business Markets. When I came in, the VBM organization was still very new, and they were looking for expertise specifically in marketing to midmarket and small business, and that’s where XO had been focusing primarily. That was really our sweet spot; we had been doing it ourselves and strongly through the channel for a while, originally focused on small business but then bringing ourselves and bringing channel partners into larger, 10-side MPLS advanced networking deals.
You see a lot of our sales leadership on the marketing side and most of the marketing team, and then sales ops and all those types of components now as part of VBM leadership team in Verizon.
CP: What are your responsibilities in this new job?
JH: I still have responsibility now for XO sales. That will change over time, and my role will become more purely VBM marketing and everything from product marketing to demand generation and campaigns – your stereotypical work there – all the way through field marketing.
The organizations are sales organizations, including channel. So how do you take demand-generation work, campaign work … that’s designed for midmarket and small business customers and then localize it for a specific sales channel or a specific distribution organization or the channel itself? That all is part of the marketing purview of my responsibility.
Just recently layered on top of that — help in terms of channel strategy overall with Janet’s departure. So, what does the program look like? It’s a continuation of work that she was already doing along the lines of one program. Bring our various programs together into a larger, integrated, single program. Lori Bonenfant was working tightly with Janet to make that work happen, who also has a very strong marketing background and was doing much of the marketing work on behalf of the channel within Verizon. She moves into …