CRN recently named Stacie Rodriguez, manager – channel marketing, EMC – to its list of “100 People You Don’t Know But Should.” The CRN editorial team, assessing feedback from solution providers and other industry executives, compiles this list to celebrate under-the-radar channel management from the industry's top vendors and distributors. According to the publication, “those selected have worked tirelessly to create, promote and manage programs and policies that support and drive the IT channel.”
I recently sat down with Stacie to find out what makes this EMC hero tick.
Question: Stacie, congratulations! You are certainly a star here at EMC, and this is a great recognition by CRN. Tell me a bit about your daily life and how you drive success for our partners.
Stacie Rodriguez (SR): Thanks Fred! I think there’s no such thing as a typical day, but every day I strive to ensure my team (myself included) think “Partner First.” What’s going on in our partners’ worlds? What do they need to succeed, and how can EMC best support them? Understanding a partner’s daily life, the challenges they face with multiple vendors to support, floods of emails, and just the fast-paced environments they so often work in, make their lives challenging. My job – and that of my team’s – is to help our partners to be successful by providing them the marketing content and information they need. I want everyone on my team to ask her/himself, “Am I enabling my partner’s success?” If the answer is no, then I challenge my team to create solutions that live up to the standards of EMC and our Business Partner Program (BPP).
Question: What do you find most rewarding about working with partners?
SR: Partners are critical to EMC’s success – more than 60% of EMC’s product sales go through the channel. Partners bring such a unique go-to-market model that truly compliments what EMC already does. I love building relationships with partners, understanding their different operating models, and how they use their creativity and industry knowledge to drive success. I’m always learning new things about and from our partners!
Question: What are you most proud of, professionally or personally?
SR: When I first came to EMC a little less than three years ago, there was no marketing enablement team established in the Americas. Today, we’re a top notch team making real impact. So I am personally proud of the work of this team and all we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time. We’ve launched several new enablement programs, developed best practices within EMC, supported 20+ major events, increased awareness around major programs like the BPP, and established internal and external training. As EMC and the industry continue to evolve, I believe marketing enablement will become a growing need across all theaters within our organization and I’m most proud that we helped to blaze that trail.
Question: CRN’s list recognizes “unsung heroes.” Let’s go deeper on the unsung thing – what is your hidden talent?
SR: On the professional side, not many folks know that I started my career as a pre- and post-sales applications engineer, and spent about 60% of my time travelling with sales managers – so I literally have walked in the shoes of the field teams. I know what it’s like to be in front of customers trying to convey the value of a product and how that product can solve their needs. But in addition, throughout my career I have held various positions ranging from business development, product management, product marketing, inside sales, sales enablement, branding, communications, and operations. So I feel like my varying levels of experience provide me the ability to get into the technical aspects of projects to solve complex issues but I can also remove myself from the technical details to strategize on solutions to help our partners succeed for long-term growth.
And on a personal side, people may be surprised to learn I’m a billiards player. I am on a team of five but we play in a league of 80+
players. Being a part of the league helps me unwind but it also teaches me about working together for a common goal and competing with others in a healthy manner.
Question: What advice would you give to other channel executives?
SR: Treat your partners like true partners and not just another go-to-market channel. At EMC, our partners have the same goals as us: they want to succeed and grow their businesses. Every partner brings something to the table, so understanding their business, needs, and goals, and then collaborating on a success plan is critical. And although partners aren’t hard-lined employees, they are an extension of our work force and most definitely part of our team. They drive revenue and growth and most importantly, they represent our brand and everything it stands for. It’s a critical relationship that has huge potential for all involved.