Reflecting on the Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program

Reflecting on the Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program

Thank You to My Channel Mentors

I spent more than 18 years at Lumen, almost half of my life, and while there, I learned from some great mentors. I learned from them all the fundamentals of creating a program and designing a growth strategy, embracing the channel community, and building meaningful relationships across the channel and internally within an organization. These mentors included:

  • Chris Jones – Chris, my first boss straight out of grad school, taught me foundational skills for sales and discipline, and exposed me to the channel.
  • Dan Caruso – Dan ultimately gave me one of my first channel opportunities. Dan was incredibly supportive in helping me to grow the channel at ICG Communications.
  • Craig Schlagbaum – Craig taught me the foundational elements of a partner program and how to build an overall strategy for an indirect sales channel.
  • Zane Long – Zane is a true sales leader and taught me fine-tuned advanced sales skills.
  • Garrett Gee – Garrett is a data-driven and analytics-focused leader who taught me how to use data to inform channel strategy, resource investment and allocation, and measuring success.
  • John DeLozier – John is relationship-driven, and I learned from him how to win the hearts and minds of partners and staff so they will follow your lead.
  • Lisa Miller – Lisa showed me how to build a winning culture that people want to be a part of. She taught me to care for my people relentlessly and put them first.

Thank You to My Channel Advisors

I also want to acknowledge the support of channel advisors from the channel community such as:

  • Khali Henderson and BuzzTheory – Khali and her wonderful team at BuzzTheory have been hugely impactful in helping launch the Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program. They truly have helped bring the “Buzz.”
  • Janet Schijns and JS Group – Janet and her team have provided amazing insights and guidance to help us build a best-in-class channel program.
  • Curt Allen– Huge thanks to Curt for his friendship, mentorship, and for recommending me for the Channel Chief job at Aryaka!

Why I Moved to Aryaka

The skills and perspective that my mentors shared were critical for me to have the confidence and abilities to consider a new opportunity to be a channel chief. After spending nearly two decades at Lumen, I was ready to take the next step. I had several options but ultimately chose Aryaka. Here’s why:

  • SD-WAN + SASE Market Opportunity – I saw a massive SD-WAN and SASE opportunity, especially in the agent community, with existing revenue sitting in legacy MPLS deployments that could be converted to an SD-WAN and SASE environment.
  • Partner Experience (PX) & Employee Experience (EX) – I wanted to move to a company with an unrivaled experience that would benefit incoming partners and employees I recruited to the program.
  • Personal Transformation – I needed to evolve from a telco expert to a technologist focused on forward-looking solutions.

What’s Changed at Aryaka Since I Joined

Since I arrived at Aryaka, the company and the channel has changed significantly in the following ways:

  • We’ve adopted a channel-led go-to-market strategy companywide.
  • We’ve reorganized and retargeted the sales team with a regionally focused pod model, including dedicated:
    • Channel Sales Directors (CSDs) who handle day-to-day interactions with partners and help quote to cash and positioning.
    • Solutions Architects (SAs) who build solutions and ensure the correct technical requirements for customer environments.
    • Strategic Sellers who are former direct sellers that act as a channel overlay to help partners with strategic digital transformation opportunities.
  • We’ve rebranded the partner program as Aryaka Accelerate Global Partner Program and created a new value proposition that kicks telco approaches to the curb.

We’ve reformed relationships with Technology Services Brokerages (TSBs) and Technology Services Distributors (TSDs) by bringing in key talent such as Sarah Linford Cothran, Derek Wood and Kelly Wasko to help re-establish relationships.

  • We’ve recruited and built an unbelievable channel leadership team, including Matt Thompson, Jon Selway, Nicole Steele, Sarah Linford Cothran and Layeeque Ahmed. I’m grateful for these channel professionals who believe in our mission and culture and have my back daily.
  • We’ve launched a unique THROTTLE Elite Seller Program to partner with top performers by giving them unprecedented, enhanced support, targeted marketing, support of business development representatives and qualified business leads, and personalized incentives.

Where Aryaka Sees Channel Opportunities

Aryaka invests and engages in three routes to market in each of our global territories:

  • Agents
  • Resellers and value-added resellers (VARs)
  • Marketplaces

Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen a massive improvement in partners quoting and selling, with a 60 percent increase in selling partners. We have 175 resale partners working with Aryaka. We’re doubling down on those relationships in 2023 with a new discount structure and repackaging our layer three offering to open up the midmarket space.

Again, I thank Channel Futures for this incredible honor and look forward to Aryaka continuing to challenge the status quo in partner enablement this year. Let’s go!

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About the author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson is an award-winning, results-driven, and motivational sales leader, currently serving as Aryaka’s Global Channel Chief. In this role, Patterson is responsible for Aryaka’s global Channel Strategy, market growth, and mobilization of channel sales and marketing teams across North America, EMEA and APAC. He is credited with launching Aryaka’s Accelerate Channel Partner Program which earned the prestigious 5-STAR CRN Award in 2022. Patterson is also a recipient of the 2022 CRN Channel Chief Award and 2022 Channel Futures: Circle of Excellence Award for dedication, industry stature and accomplishments as a channel advocate. Prior to joining Aryaka, Patterson was the West Division Vice President for Lumen’s indirect channel, where he led the global sales and revenue strategy for a $1billion organization within the Lumen Channel Partner Program. Patterson is a passionate supporter and contributor to philanthropic efforts, and currently serves on the board for the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). He resides in Colorado with his family.