Biography and Background:
Michelle Welch joined WatchGuard in 2015 and is responsible for the development and execution of the company's global marketing strategy. As a 100 percent channel-focused organization, WatchGuard's go-to-market (GTM) strategy hinges on the organization's ability to attract, enable and build productive relationships with the channel, from traditional VARs and distributors to evolving and newly emerging MSP/MSSPs. Operationally-driven, Michelle has built a channel focus into every aspect of the company's go-to-market strategy, from partner onboarding to marketing program development and sales training. Prior to WatchGuard, she served as vice president of marketing at SafeNet, one of the largest information security companies in the world, where she worked to rebuild the company's channel program and partner enablement platform. Michelle has also served in a variety of product, field, sales operations and corporate marketing leadership roles throughout her career, bringing more than 13 years of security-focused B2B marketing experience to WatchGuard.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
As a 100 percent channel-driven organization, WatchGuard's success is fully dependent on its ability to attract, enable and build productive relationships with a wide variety of partner types. As such, I have dedicated the past three years to evolving how our organization thinks about partner enablement. In 2017 specifically, I worked with our channel leadership team to introduce a new partner portal experience, featuring key business dashboards, simple lead export and management, feature-rich fund management capabilities, one-click website content syndication capabilities, automated social media syndication capabilities, and the ability to execute marketing programs with just a couple of clicks. Our team also formalized WatchGuard's Partner Advisory Council program, enriched its co-op program by introducing special 'no match' eligible programs, and launched a white-glove marketing concierge service. Beyond company-wide improvements, I devote a great deal of time to working with a handful of top growth partners to define their annual go-to-market strategies and delivering the necessary resources to help them successfully execute against those plans.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Partner productivity is our top priority. Our goal is to ensure that every partner who invests time into WatchGuardONE gets the most out of that investment. We believe that focusing on our partners' growth and profitability will ultimately lead to continued success for WatchGuard. We've spent two years building a treasure trove of resources for the channel and now it's time to build further awareness and utilization of those resources. Each partner is unique and can leverage WatchGuard differently, so whether they're in need of time, money, content or support through a difficult business transition, we have resources to help.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
• 2017 WatchGuard President's Cloud 'Executive Friend of Sales' - awarded this based on the evolution of partner onboarding and enablement program in addition to the evolution of our content marketing program. - 2018 CRN Partner Program Guide Winner and
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Chelsea Handler. She understands the power of influence, and that with great influence comes great responsibility. She developed a huge, loyal fan base and as that base grew she realized that she had the opportunity to do something more than just entertain. She had a platform to inform and empower her audience. Whilst she remains a comedian to the core, she has shifted her focus to matters of domestic and international human rights. Driving change because you are passionate about it - as opposed to because people expect you to - is admirable in my book.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Slow down. Whilst success does come to those who work the hardest, it also burns out those who don't take time to enjoy the journey. If you are always focused on the next thing, you lose the opportunity to enjoy the impact you have already made and are currently making.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
UX and coding. Marketing and technology go hand-in-hand and as such, it is no surprise that more and more marketing roles involve a level of coding. And almost all roles in marketing rely on an intra-departmental or out of department resource for coding services. A greater understanding of basic coding and UX design would enable stronger collaboration between marketing and other functions.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I re-read Jim Collins's Good to Great and it was a wonderful reminder of the importance of focusing on what matters. Whether you call it your "hedgehog" or not, truly great organizations all find success at the intersection of passion, differentiation and profitability. Finding that sweet spot drives clarity across all facets of an organization and remains a relevant guiding principle more than 15 years later.
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