Surviving the IT channel: Advice to help your career soar

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on May 31, 2018 11:44:30 AM

Women of the ChannelStarting a new career in the IT channel can be a daunting task. Products and solutions are continuously evolving, new threats are constantly emerging, and there are always new problems that need to be solved. But, all these challenges can present an exciting opportunity for you to excel.

One way to overcome new challenges you face is by learning from established leaders who have already navigated the complexity of the IT channel. At Barracuda, we are lucky to have five women who have been named to CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel list. This list recognizes women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision and played a unique role in driving channel growth and innovation.

Whether you’re an intern for the summer months, someone starting a new position, or a channel veteran looking for a fresh approach, there is always something new to learn. In the spirit of fostering innovation and growth, each representative shared a piece of advice they would share with someone who is just entering the IT channel.

Erin Shaw Crowley: Marketing Manager at Barracuda MSP

shaw-crowley-erin-barracuda-msp400Erin has been with Barracuda MSP since 2011 when it was still Intronis and has been named to CRN’s Women of the Channel list for two years in a row. Over the past several years, she has been challenged to adapt and take on new responsibilities—which includes booking and planning hundreds of events for the team to connect with both partners and prospects.

“My advice has two parts. First, ask as many people as many questions as you can. Everyone in the channel comes from such different backgrounds and areas of their companies, and so many of them have experienced so many changes over years. There is so much industry knowledge out there, and everyone has their own unique perspective on what is happening now and what is going to happen. Second, take advantage of what the industry has to offer. Looking for additional opportunities in the channel isn’t something I thought about when I first joined this industry. But, seeing where I have come from and where I can go within the channel is exciting. The channel has helped me find my passion for events and marketing and continues to challenge me to become a better version of myself and to find ways to help others grow.”

Jayne Haggard: Training Program Manager at Barracuda MSP

haggard-jayne-barracuda-msp400This year, Jayne made her debut on CRN’s Women of the Channel list, but she has been an integral part of the team since 2011.  She works hard to ensure that training programs and educational materials are consistent across the board and readily available to our MSP partners.

“My advice to a new employee is to introduce yourself to as many people as you can in the office, and then to gradually learn what other people in different departments do. That way, as you work on your own projects, you are aware of what else is going on, and hopefully this will bring together collaboration and more benefits for our partners in the channel.”

Anne Campbell: Senior Content Marketing Manager at Barracuda MSP

campbell-anne-barracuda-msp400Anne also made her debut on CRN’s Women of the Channel list this year, and she has been with Barracuda MSP since 2014. She creates content to help our channel partners succeed in growing their MSP businesses and has been a driving force for, the global destination site for IT channel providers looking for news, industry trends, and how-to guides to help them improve their businesses.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s a lot to learn when you’re starting out in the IT channel, especially if you’re in a less technical role like marketing. Find time to talk to team members in different departments and ask about what they do and what they’re hearing from customers. It will be a crash course at first, but it will help you get up to speed faster than if you try to figure everything out on your own. And keep those lines of communication open. Things change quickly in IT as new technologies and new threats role out, and people in other departments will have different perspectives and insights that will help you keep up.”

Lindsay Faria: Director of Partner Marketing at Barracuda MSP

faria-lindsay-barracuda-msp400Last year, Lindsay was recognized as an Up & Comer and made her debut on CRN’s 2017 Women of the Channel list. This year, she has been named again to the 2018 CRN’s Women of the Channel list. With more than 14 years of experience managing marketing programs, Lindsay focuses on partner communications and driving adoption of sales and marketing enablement tools for the partner base.

Talk to as many partners as you can. If you want to add real value to your partners, you need to understand them. Find out what their challenges and goals are, so you are better equipped to find new ways to help them. Most channel partners are looking for value and business outcomes, not just more products to try to sell. So, if you find out what they find the most value in, what outcomes they want to achieve, the first part of your work is done, and you can start the process of researching HOW to deliver on those. Meet them in person, sit in on phone calls with them, attend events, extend surveys to your partners. There are so many ways to learn more about them, and all will produce tons of value for you both from an educational perspective as someone new to the channel, as well as for your business down the line.”

Lindsey Westbrook: Director of Field & Channel Marketing at Barracuda

westbrook-lindsey-barracuda-networks400Since 2009, Lindsey has been an integral part of the Barracuda family. 2018 marks the second year she’s been named to CRN’s Women of the Channel list, and she is working on some big changes to increase partner communication, channel processes, and lead development.

“Whatever you do, own it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The best way to build your career in the channel is to find someone in a position you want to be in and learn from them. Be their shadow, ask questions, take on additional projects, and challenge yourself. The channel is such a strong interconnected network of people, and in my opinion, it’s best to jump right in. Find someone you admire or in a position that you aspire to be in and get in front of them. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want.

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Photo:  Anna-Mari West / Shutterstock. 

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