E34 – Winning With The Channel with Terry Richardson, AMD

Channel relationships, particularly in the post-pandemic world, have become more critical than ever. As such, it has become crucial for brands to develop winning channel strategies. No one knows this better than Terry Richardson, who currently runs the North America channel business at AMD.

With over three decades in the sales industry, Richardson has proven his expertise in the field. He has worked with a variety of small and major tech companies, and now he has moved on to AMD. Despite only being there for a few months, Richardson believes that he entered the company at an opportune time.

As head of the North America channel business, Richardson is responsible for all of the products in AMD’s portfolio, their client and server processors, their graphics, and their branded systems where they sell products based on AMD processors. AMD also has a component business where people can use AMD components when building their own white box solutions.

Insight Into AMD and Future Trends in the Tech Industry

This year, AMD is 51 years old, and its growth is unstoppable. Its main competitor is Intel in the microprocessor space, and the company is heavily invested in research and development. Their growth as a company has reflected on their financial performance throughout the years, and it is projected to grow more in the coming years.

Before diving into Richardson’s projected trends for the microchip business, David Nour asked about the microchip shortage that has been circulating the news recently. Richardson says that the microchip shortage is a legitimate concern because of such high demand, and producers are unable to keep up.

This shortage in microchips has made it difficult for many manufacturers to continue their production because the microchip shortage affects most industries. However, this is also indicative of the exponential growth of the tech industry, which is a trend that Richardson has said will persist in the coming years.

Richardson points out how they are currently in a computer megacycle, and this is fueled by a move to continually accelerate and adopt IT modernization. There are many companies that have not yet embraced digital transformation, and they are now scrambling to modernize and accelerate to keep up with the current market.

According to Richardson, digital transformation will continue to accelerate in the coming years. In line with this, however, security challenges are also on the rise. There is more need nowadays for companies to protect their critical data, especially because ransomware attacks have often been reported in the news.

This is where AMD stands out. The tech company has built security measures into their product designs to prevent exposure to security breaches that have impacted their competitors. AMD also works with key ecosystem-independent software vendors (ISVs) to secure VMs. For clients using VMWare, this sets them apart because it is only available with AMD technology.

Richardson’s Perspective on Building a Sales Team

When asked what makes an excellent candidate for sales teams, Terry says that sales representatives have evolved over the years.

Four key traits that he believes effective sales representatives must have are prior direct customer experience, competitiveness, ability to balance, and humility. These three are crucial in closing a sale and getting a new customer because it requires a certain level of know-how and connection to strike a deal.

When it comes to channels, Richardson stresses the importance of sustaining long-term partnerships and customer relationships that can stand the test of time. Even if short-term successes are necessary, it is ultimately the longevity of a partnership that secures a company like AMD’s success.

What Makes Channel Reps Effective

Throughout his career in the tech industry, Terry Richardson has built countless relationships, which he now uses to extend his network with AMD. Over time, new partner types have emerged, and Richardson notes a rise in managed service providers (MSPs), which signifies a new set of partners to focus on. According to Terry, it is important to foster new and old partners and focus on connecting with the right set of partners at the right time.

When it comes to hiring new channel reps, Terry says that the qualities he looks at are similar to the attributes that effective sales reps must have. These are professionalism, competitiveness, integrity, and willingness to uphold team success. He says that they are key when it comes to being a channel rep, and it is important that they are aligned with the overall goals and values of the company.

Channels are identified as force multipliers, and Richardson reiterates this by stressing the importance of having a plan. Whether it means developing a partner-specific plan, a plan that involves a set of partners, or a general plan for North America, it is crucial to have a plan. Richardson says that it is important to be clear on priorities, what to invest in, and find the right balance.

Richardson’s Insights on What Companies Need to Work On

On top of optimizing their own individual products, Richardson points out that all companies need to ensure that their sales and marketing initiatives are aligned. They also need to make sure that they are leveraging the appropriate techniques to push for the growth of their companies.

With tech growing exponentially, we can expect to see more advancements across all industries in a post-pandemic world.

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