Top Gun 51 Profile: Aqeel Shahid, Vonage VP of Global Strategic Partners

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Vonage partners have long benefited from Aqeel Shahid‘s extensive sales leadership experience in unified communications.

Shahid is Vonage’s vice president of global strategic partners. He has more than 20 years of sales leadership experience in the software and communications field.

Aqeel Shahid of Vonage

Vonage’s Aqeel Shahid

His peers consider him a natural born leader providing excellence to both customers and his sales team. Prior to joining Vonage, Aqeel served in a variety of sales leadership roles at companies such as Eschelon Telecom, Integra Telecom and Sprint.

Shahid 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. We got input from those who know channel executives best — distributors, master agents and industry analysts. 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.

Channel-Focused From the Start

In this Q&A, Shahid talks about his sales leadership experience in the channel and what has fueled his success.

Vonage’s Aqeel Shahid is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. The Top Gun 51 recognizes channel executives who build and execute programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

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

Aqeel Shahid: Ever since I started in the technology industry and began my career as a sales professional, I have been focusing on the sales channel, revenue generation and developing a go-to-market strategy. The channel community as a whole has always been of great interest to me. I value the business owners, consultants and professionals that make up the channel; also, the work that they do for customers day in and out.

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?

AS: In my previous sales leadership roles, as well as here at Vonage, I have helped build channel programs and have worked closely with partners to build a go-to-market strategy that leverages and augments the strength of the partner’s business and ensures the success of their customers. Building a channel-friendly organization not only requires the experience of working with channel partners, but also an understanding of the various challenges and opportunities that exist in their organizations and enabling them to be a trusted adviser for their customers.

I believe my experience in building and running a national sales organization, understanding the sales processes and the customer journey, while keeping the customer as the center of attention, has been instrumental in the growth of the Vonage Partner Network for the channel. The Vonage Partner Network is purpose-built to enable Vonage channel partners to solve their customers’ communication needs by leveraging Vonage‘s role as a trusted adviser and the unified, flexible integrated Vonage communications services platform that offers a unique combination of UC solutions, contact center and communications APIs.

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

AS: It’s all about partner relationships. The stronger the relationship with our partners, the better the results for their customers. Our commitment to the success of our partners and their customers is unwavering.

Customers look to their partners as trusted advisers and as guides to help them navigate in today’s ever-changing environment. It’s important for us to be flexible and to engage with our vast partner network regularly and consistently to keep a pulse on the marketplace, provide them with ongoing consultative support and ensure our business, product, and process decisions continue to help them drive …

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