Fine tuning channel relations

Fine tuning channel relations

Packeteer's channel sales manager, Marco Corrent, has a long history in the channel. He spoke to ARN about work-life balance, being Michael Schumacher's driver and confusion in the channel.

What was your first job?

My first job was working for bookseller, Angus & Robertson. I started there when I was in year 10 and I kept that job through year 12 and my university studies. I started off as a sales assistant and moved up to be the weekend manager of the shop.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

Once I finished university I went overseas for six months and followed the F1 Grand Prix around Europe. When I came back I started working at ComTech Communications. I started there in 1991 in sales support, then progressed into an account manager's role looking after channel partners.

How did you progress to where you are today?

The ComTech business split into a distribution [Express Data] and an integration company [Dimension Data] in 1996. I went down the integration path and got some end-user sales experience for two years. Then I left and went to Nortel and spent six years working with their channel. After that I was with Trend Micro in channels and now I've moved over to Packeteer as the channel sales manager.

What do you like about your job?

I have the flexibility and autonomy to do what I think is necessary as a channel manager, because there's only 10 of us. So if I come up with a new idea that I want to roll out, I just run it past my manager and off I go. With a larger organization I'd have to deal with it via corporate management and if it didn't fit into corporate guidelines, it might not fly.

What would you say is the biggest achievement of your career?

Shortly after I joined Packeteer the country manager left, so after just getting my feet under the table I was thrust into the country manager's role. That was quite challenging. The biggest achievement was leading the team to the biggest quarter we've ever had in Australia for Packeteer.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

I've seen a number of vendors constantly change their channel models. One day they're going down one path with a channel model, then they say, "well we're going to have a set amount of accounts we're going to deal directly with". Depending on the success or otherwise of that model, they'll change back later on. These constant changes confuse the channel. And once a channel has been burnt by a company that, they become a little skeptical.

What is the next big thing in the industry?

If you saw some of the technologies that are coming to market and being developed at the moment to accelerate WAN traffic, you would be surprised with the intelligence that's coming out. With Packeteer, for example, we've got some new intelligent acceleration technologies, and we're just seeing the start of the whole optimisation and WAN acceleration piece.

What is the main focus for the company for the next year?

To maintain our position in the WAN optimization space by growing our channel and customer base, continue to get the name out there in the market and establish Packeteer as the number one player. We've had a long heritage - 10 years - in the WAN optimisation space and we want to maintain that position.

What do you do in your spare time?

I don't have enough spare time, I've got so many activities going on! When I'm not at work I ride both road and mountain bikes, and I love tinkering with my cars. I have an old Italian car that's taken me seven years to restore. I also enjoy spending time with my wife as well and hanging out with her on weekends.

Do you like gadgets?

No, not really. I've got a phone and that's about it. The gadgets I prefer are toys for my bikes. It's very hard for me to go into a bike shop and walk out empty handed - I always seem to come out with some sort of tool or accessory to put on the bike.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

From an early age all I wanted to be was a race car driver. The closest I ever got to that was probably driving Michael Schumacher around at the Australian Grand Prix for six years. So I never fulfilled the dream of racing cars, but I got close being in the pits and driving Michael around.

What was Michael like?

Very focused, structured and guarded - you can tell why he's successful because he only gives his time to people that are important to him. He comes in, knows what has to be done and knows the people that he has to work with to get the job done. And after he's done the job there's time for everything else. I remember rival F1 driver, Eddie Irvine, finishing at 7pm to going to a party somewhere, and Michael would be there until 11pm, talking to the engineers and working out strategies for the race.

What is your biggest ambition?

To do what I'm doing now but take it to the next level and maybe move into a channel director's role down the track. But I also want to maintain a good work/life balance. It's really important to me to have that successful work career while not neglecting the family side of things.

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