CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Annette Cunningham

Regional Vice President, Infor

Location: GUILDFORD, Surrey (UK)


Number of years in current position: 4

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 30

Twitter Handle: @AnnetteCRM

Fun Facts:

Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Can ride a horse
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
My career in Channel Sales started in 1987, when I worked for a London-based software reseller selling applications like Lotus 1-2-3 and Wordperfect. In 1991 I joined Contact Software Inc, the vendors of ACT! contact management and the pre-curser to today's CRM market. Here I established their European presence with a UK office. I wrote and launched their Business Partner Program and recruited their first 10 partners in the first year and subsequently went on to recruit over 60 partners before we were acquired by Symantec. I worked for a number of vendors in Channel Sales over the next few years; Symantec, Macromedia, Dr Solomon's among them, before joining SalesLogix Inc, and building their CRM channel business in the UK and Europe as Head of Sales and then UK General Manager. I remained with the SalesLogix product through 3 acquisitions, including Infors. I was fundamental in the transition of the existing SLX channel partners in EMEA to join the Infor Partner Network, and continue to manage these partners to this day. In 2016 I was appointed Regional Vice President at Infor, responsible now for all channel partners selling multiple different Infor solutions in the UK, Ireland and Benelux.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I have been instrumental in organizing and running a quarterly global partner update for our CRM channel partners, as well as introducing the European CRM partner channel to additional Infor solutions that extend the capabilities of the core product and allow them to provide further complimentary solutions to their customers. I also work with ERP partners who are focused and willing to invest and expand their Infor solution offerings. I also recently hosted a partner event with partners from 8 countries across Europe to introduce them to our latest BI solution. In addition, I have also worked with partners of specific Infor products, to build relationships with other partners selling alternate Infor products on a Cross-Sell program into both new and existing customers. This has enabled both partners to receive additional revenues without having to invest in training their own consultants, and the costs associated with that, and enables them to remain focused on their core strengths and business. In this past year I have also been working with our partners to focus on SaaS offerings, and have increased Cloud sales in Europe by over 150%.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Over the next year my goal for the channel partners is the same as always - to help enable revenue growth for both the partner and Infor. I plan to continue to drive new opportunities for all channel partners in my region, whether this be by expanding their portfolio of Infor products, or creating business partnerships with complementary partners. I also aim to recruit a number of new partners either in geographies that should have better coverage and more choice for customers, or for new solutions we will be launching.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was proud to be named in the Women of The Channel for 2017 by CRN.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Dame Carolyn McCall, current CEO of ITV, and previously CEO of the Guardian Media Group and a director of Lloyds. Born in India of a Scottish father and Irish mother, and educated in India, she has grafted a hugely successful career after starting out as a teacher. Not only has she held many senior positions in industry, been awarded an OBE for services to women in business, she has done this whilst raising 3 children. As a mother of 2, I know how difficult it can be to combine both, and admire how much she has achieved.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would advise my younger self to always persevere with my ambitions. To work hard and remain dedicated and ambitious and strive for those goals that at 16 I thought were impossible to achieve. Self-belief is a great motivator and perseverance does pay off. Don't give up on your dreams, you can really be as good as you think you are.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
Although not necessarily job-related, I would like to be more fluent in other languages so that I could converse better with partners and colleagues in other regions in their own language. I do speak German and some French, but not enough to fully join in when meeting with clients and partners in those countries - and I'd like to know what they're saying!

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes this year, and whilst not necessarily a happy or easy read, it gave great insight into how the lives of 2 completely different characters learn to bond and help each other during extremely challenging times. It teaches you about opening yourself up to different ways of thinking and about trying to over-come major obstacles in life. It also taught me a lot about the emotional as well as physical challenges of someone so disabled that I would never have considered previously.

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