Recently, Liqid was lucky to recruit IT industry veteran Nader Soudah as the company’s new Vice President of Channel Sales, bringing new blood to an already incredibly talented sales team. The Liqid Blog recently “sat down” with Nader via chat to discuss why he came on board, get some clarification on channel sales operations and strategies. Nader also shared what he’s excited about as he opens up new partnerships for Liqid in the channel.
What was it about Liqid that drew you to the company?
The conversation around the data center has remained the same for several years. It’s been about adding more of what is already there, and these technologies don’t effectively scale. For instance, hard drive architecture hasn’t changed at all. The only thing that changed is capacity. HCI brought slight efficiencies but the same “sheet metal wall” limitations still exist.
Liqid offers an eye-opening new perspective on this old problem. When I was introduced to Liqid, it was refreshing to see truly new ideas about how to run a much more efficient data center. Composable infrastructure is a compelling way to really reduce the overall data center footprint and cost. At the same time, composable infrastructure solutions increase overall hardware utilization and introduce a new way to scale disaggregated hardware, without limitations, through Liqid’s software.
That and the collective background of the executive team is impressive, with many cumulative years in the data center space from core backgrounds: storage, networking, computing, GPU and related accelerators, and data center architecture in general.
For those who don’t have the experience, briefly explain the difference between how a channel sales executive operates vs. a standard sales exec title?
I have heard this question quite a bit, even from my mother-in-law. The simple difference is really just understanding who your immediate customer is. A sales executive is typically calling on an end user or organization that is using the product or service the sales exec represents.
For a channel sales executive, the reseller partner is the customer. I work jointly with a reseller partner, train their sales team, and provide the sales tools and incentives to ensure their sales success. I also work with the partner to uncover more end user sales opportunities for Liqid’s wider sales team to pursue. With these opportunities, Liqid sales works jointly with the partner to sell to a shared end user customer.
With channel sales, the major benefits are the ability to widely scale your sales team and widen your lead generation funnel. Both roles are essential to a successful sales organization and necessary to quickly scale a new technology, reach more customers faster, and reduce the cost of the sale. Ultimately our shared goal is a lower cost to customers.
What challenges are you looking at as channel VP given the global ramifications of COVID-19?
The answer to this question is evolving. The primary goal of a channel organization is to spend one-on-one time with our channel partners, helping drive their success and their customers’ success with our product. It’s obviously more difficult to do that while in isolation.
The answer right now is that we double down on the safe ways we can engage our partners and end users. So we are doing what we do via reduced avenues. We are using video, the phone, whatever. We are staying in touch with our closest partners and ensuring they have the sales tools they need to be successful with our technology. Positively for me, being grounded has allowed time for critical conversations, internally across many teams, as well as externally, reconnecting with partners about the Liqid value proposition.
What are you most looking forward to in terms of what Liqid offers to these partners?
Walking in, I was pleasantly surprised by how many partners have already found success with Liqid in their customer base. Several leading channel partners are already on board and working with Liqid to bring composable infrastructure solutions into the data center mainstream. [Ed note: stay tuned for more on that in subsequent blog posts and announcements.]
For a young company to be so successfully collaborating with organizations like Dell Technologies as an OEM is quite unique. Our federal sales team has already built out many strong, multi-pronged sales partners in the channel, and, again, our sales leadership has been very strong from the get go.
The question for me is how we quickly build on that? I look forward to talking to my colleagues in the wider channel ecosystem. As I learn more about what they individually need, we can determine how Liqid works with them to provide composable infrastructure solutions that suit the needs of their own end customers.
One area of particular personal interest to me is how hyperconverged data center customers can benefit from Liqid’s ability to offer disaggregation through deployment of composable infrastructure across a wide variety of fibers. PCIe, Ethernet, Infiniband -- the Liqid composable system is really very comprehensive.
Right now, I am working with the Liqid salesforce to build out existing internal sales tools and build stronger alliances with more partners across a wider variety of verticals.
And I’m very excited to be working with Liqid’s incredible teams throughout the organization to get the word out and extend the value of Liqid composable infrastructure to as many customers as we can!
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