There are a lot of people in the communications channel that were not even born when James Emm began managing a sales team and last month the unthinkable happened – James moved to become Director of Strategic Relationships whilst Simon Colledge takes over the role of National Sales Manager at Oak Innovation.
“I love this industry,” says James Emm when we met for lunch in Southampton. “It’s always changing and today the value of collaborative relationships has never been so high. As an independent supplier of software Oak has been a development partner of many world-wide vendors for a considerable time. It adds credibility and brings synergy to all parties.
My role as Director of Strategic Partnerships is to further develop existing relationships such as these, work with other vendors and carriers to increase our footprint and open additional opportunities for our products and our resellers.
Collaboration is key to success; for example, working with these companies and their high touch sales teams to help them win new deals is crucial. At the same time the market is experiencing a move away from traditional PBX systems, our traditional market, to hosted and cloud based telephony. Oak has responded to this trend and to illustrate this, today we are a strategic partner for call recording solutions with Gamma and their Horizon hosted telephony offering.”
The definition of a strategic partner for Oak reflects the direction in which the company is travelling as a vendor.
James Emm, “As well as partner scale and product compatibility – where Oak is so thorough in our testing, we are seeking to develop mid-market opportunities with existing and new partners. Likewise, we need to share a common view on the value of collaboration but at the same time understand that some partners want to work very closely with us while others prefer a more at arms-length approach.”
Compared to James Emm, recently appointed National Sales Manager Simon Colledge is a relative newcomer to Oak having been with the company for a mere 20-years.
“These are exciting times,” says Colledge, “As the market moves towards an increasingly hosted and cloud based deployment model with our comms platform partners Avaya and ShoreTel, we must develop our sales of Record X and Clarify call recording solutions.”
Colledge is looking at three key initiatives to develop sales;
“Firstly, I am looking at a diverse array of new partners from both a voice and data heritage in communications. There is a great deal that we have to offer both as well as for the more integrated or converged resellers.
Secondly, we need to make our resellers far more aware of our full product range so that we can extend the value of the sales opportunity we are able to offer partners.
As you can imagine, Oak has a huge base of customers out there and many have what today you could term as being legacy solutions. This represents a massive opportunity for our current reseller base to discuss new applications and upgrade opportunities with their existing clients.
The Oak product range extends beyond our traditional resellers own SME base and here we will be helping resellers that have identified this opportunity to become successful with these customers as well.”
Oak Innovation CTO Phil Reynolds says that this strategic change of roles within the company will deliver many benefits for reseller channel partners.
“As well as these two new roles, Oak Innovation Voice Processing Director Richard Garel-Jones is looking at expanding opportunities in the call recording market in respect of Quality Measurement and Management. As organisations continually strive to deliver customer service excellence the incremental improvements in agent call quality will provide step increases in customer satisfaction.
Simon is therefore building his channel sales team to further support our resellers in the development of sales opportunities. We have a great product range and the level of customisation we are able to provide mid-market users can significantly influence the outcome for our channel partner customer propositions. Consequently, Simon and his team will be focussing on helping resellers identify the kind of bespoke features that larger, mid-market users may be looking for and presenting these innovative ideas jointly to potential users.”
Reynolds concludes, “As Oak transitions into a full-service solutions provider we aim to become the ‘go to’ channel provider of call recording solutions for both the SME and mid-market that resellers can depend upon to deliver the solutions their customers want whether off the shelf or more sophisticated and bespoke systems.”