Software Executive Magazine

February/March 2018

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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big game, but the needle very rarely moved as a result of the relationship. When he rejoined the Rogers Com- munication team in the late 2000s, his outlook on part- nerships started to improve. Langlois was tasked with portfolio development for the Rogers incubator groom- ing businesses targeting SMBs, which meant he could look at partnerships from the other side of the table. He didn't fall into the trap of simply leveraging existing re- sources either. For example, the company had existing sales teams across Canada, but Langlois knew scaling wasn't as easy as giving current reps something new to sell. "That's always a big red flag to me," he says. "It's really hard to get existing teams that are used to doing something to do something else, especially if the eco- nomics are different." At Vend, Langlois has the luxury of clearly differen- tiated teams. One team runs outbound. Another is re- sponsible for inbound. And another takes the lead on utch Langlois is a CPA by training. He's not your stereotypical bean counter though. Spend five minutes listening to him talk about scaling tech companies, and you'll quickly realize he's not an introverted numbers nerd. He's currently running North American operations at Vend, the point of sale software used in more than 20,000 stores around the world. Before Vend, he was the CFO for the Internet Division at Rogers Communi- cation, the publicly traded Canadian telecom company with more than 25,000 employees. His resume is also peppered with CEO and president roles at Toronto area startups born out of the late '90s dotcom wave – compa- nies like comparative shopping portal BuyBuddy.com, on-demand e-commerce platform Truition (acquired by CDC Software), travel industry interactive web map- ping platform PlanetEye, real estate listing platform Zoocasa, and SMB digital toolkit Webware.io. "THERE'S JUST SO MUCH OPPORTUNIT Y IN THE MARKET THAT INVESTING IN A PARTNER CHANNEL LIKE THIS MAKES A TON OF SENSE. WE COULD HAVE 100 PEOPLE IN THE OFFICE DIALING TO GET IN FRONT OF CUSTOMERS, AND WE WOULD STILL NEVER GET TO EVERY OPPORTUNIT Y." The startups Langlois has guided vary in terms of technology, vertical, and target customer, but they have a common thread when it comes to partnerships: None of them really understood exactly what it took to scale through partners. He explains a pattern many tech execs are likely familiar with: "Partnerships were always one of those things you thought were going to transform your business. You would go out and finalize a partnership, and you would think, 'Oh my god, here comes the reve- nue. It's going to come flying in.' Typically what would then happen was a press release. VCs loved the press re- lease, but really the partnership never went anywhere." At one point in his career, Langlois admits he had a jaded view of partnerships. New partners would talk a partnership development. He doesn't have to teach any old dogs new tricks in order to grow. There is company- wide buy-in about the importance of partnerships for future growth. So much importance has been placed on the partner team that it's the only one reporting directly to Langlois. That emphasis is partly why Langlois is so energized by his opportunity to change the dynamic at Vend – to transform it from a software company that has primarily relied on an inbound model to add new revenue channels and increase international growth through partnerships. He knows the metrics, mental- ity, and marketing tactics that can help any software company scale partnerships and get over the press re- lease-mode hurdle. 15 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018

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