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S3E24: Breaking Borders with Partnerships:
How to Enter New Markets with Resellers

Show Synopsis

This week, host Ali Spiric welcomes Enryck Serin, the go-to-market lead of partnerships at, a top-ranked company by Forbes. Together, they discuss the topic of utilizing resellers to enter new countries or regions. They also touch on the attractiveness of the UK as a business hub due to its language advantages and its role as a stepping stone for both US and European companies. 


  • What to look out for when breaking into a new market
  • What resellers can do to support you locally
  • How to fully leverage your resellers for success

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The Script

Welcome to the Partner Channel podcast, the podcast for partnerships. In our episodes, we discuss ways to power your programs and gain actionable insights for all company sizes and partner types. We sit down with industry thought leaders to get the best tips and tricks for you, the listeners, to achieve your channel goals.

Ali Spiric:  Welcome to the Partner Channel podcast, The Voice of the Channel. I’m Ali Spiric, marketing manager at Allbound, and I’m here with a very special guest today. Enryck Serin is the go to market lead of partnerships at Polly and was recently named a top influencer of 2023 on the Polly front. Polly has been named one of the top 50 companies by Forbes, of all places. No big deal and is a winner at Enterprise Connect, a best of innovation and customer experience and most innovative use of AI. Enryck, welcome to the show. Thank you for being a guest today.

Enryck Serin: Thank you very much for having me. I know a bit of the team and I’m really happy to to be here today and answering any questions that people might have around myself or Polly, basically.

Ali Spiric: Perfect. Well, today we’re talking about how to utilize resellers to break into a new country or region. I’m sure people at this point, by your accent, have guessed that you’re not from the US. Would you mind telling us a little bit about your background and your experience in partnerships?

Enryck Serin: Yeah. So I’m sorry, I have a stronger French accent. I try to tone it down throughout the discussion. So yeah, my name is Enryck Seran. I worked at I live in London. My French accent is there because I go back and forth between Paris and London at least once every six weeks, almost for the last few years. Apart from that, we have all experiences so couldn’t travel during that time. And even after 6 to 7 years here, it’s been a bit tough to lose that transaction, but just work with it now. It’s part of my identity. So to give a bit of background of where I came from and how did I get into partnership. So initially a eight years ago, before coming to to the UK was an at Konica Minolta, so the a photocopier company and I was working on different accounts in Paris and it was my first experience with a partnership because at the time partnership was not as name or there are no clear identities. So when you are on a you are also in charge of like making sure that the delivery of your product will happen. So our if I was working on a national account and they needed to have our solution and pay for it, I will call one of my local partner or reseller just to can you deliver this photocopier for me? Here is the address.

Enryck Serin: So that was my first experience with it. And then a few years after that, when like in 2020, 2019, I was working for a company called Nuxeo that has been acquired by Hyland in the US and there was the first bidder on the European market. So we started with mainland Europe and start expanding and we had a partner manager that is still there now and you can check up a month, which is the director of partnership. So when Moon arrive, we start to offer our services in Central Europe, Africa and the rest of the world. So one day has been some inquiry from consultant or some people that are not in our core market. That’s where I started to to see that trend. I was speaking with people to help understand what was the need. Some of them wanted to partner with us. So I start to understand and see a bit the overview of what Montoya was doing. And then I also realized that a lot of the time, a lot of my customer or people that I was prospecting had the similar technology stack and I was like, Oh yeah, I know someone that can help you with that, or I know someone there.

Enryck Serin: And then I was like, Maybe what I want to do. So after that, I decided to move to a French company called Ercol that wanted to expand in the UK similarly to what next year wanted to do grow here in the UK. So I moved to our in September 2021 to really be dedicated all day and every day around the partnership motion, helping them to grow the channel presence in in the UK, helping finding with the partner to do what we need to how where do we need to grow. And was the second person in the partnership team on the channel after my old boss Russell Big that was leading the UK channel partnership. So that’s where I learned way more doing it on a daily basis. And after that, since only six months now, I’ve joined fully to try to grow globally now. So that’s, that’s a bit my experience in the partnership journey. And the difference with body is both not only the channel piece but also the technological aspect. So learning. Every single day.

Ali Spiric: That sounds like a really natural progression into partnerships. And then one thing that I noticed that you mentioned is that two different companies that you had experience with wanted to expand into the UK. Is it common for companies to go to the UK as their first stop when they’re doing expansion?

Enryck Serin: I would say that. You have the I think the UK is really a natural place for business because you will have US company wanting to expand in Europe. I will say Europe like that because like let’s be honest, Europe is a lot of different countries and due to the language, the UK is quite a natural step for them. Then you have also the other aspect where a lot of European company is are trying to expand in the US or do stop in the UK to see okay, what do we do with like the Anglo-Saxon kind of kind of naturally being in the UK? You have also the aspect of you are on the same tandem as South Africa as Portugal and organically due to the language aspect, you have also some Australian company that will be aware of you. So it really make a nice little entry point and business point for everyone across the globe to work and see what is happening in. It’s quite a competitive market. There is a lot to do. It’s not as big as the US, but you there is lots of people from a lot of different countries playing in the market. 

So it’s not surprising to have both us and European competitors being present in this market. So you can really see the full wide aspect of the of the world just in this specific little ecosystem basically.

Ali Spiric: Yeah. So the UK is a good testing ground to see whether you’re going to make it, given that you have international international competitors everywhere. And then when we spoke earlier, you mentioned that resellers are one of your core partner types. What is your current reseller program look like and where are your partners located?

Enryck Serin: I think reseller is always like really different from one company to another. I don’t think there is one reseller motion that fits all, like there is not one partnership motion that fits all. For us are the way that we define reseller is their appetites to work with our solution. So we can go from literally not a referral partner, but really someone that will invoice on the behalf. Or we say reseller, start with invoicing on behalf of the customer or bringing them more services. So we have people that will resell our solution and we really still be hands on about it. Because the way that works is like everyone speaks about ChatGPT we have the chance and the luck to have three people that have been graduated from Cambridge have worked in the conversational space. They worked on projects such as Alexa, Siri, Google Home, etcetera, and they realized there are need in the market. So we have created our own. So if I have to vulgarize it, I will say that we have the same knowledge at Chatgpt, but for voice focusing on the dialog making really conversational. So we know that people will need our expertise.

Enryck Serin: So we work with some of our partners from the beginning and some of our reseller to help them. And then some of them are really self-sufficient and some of them they are even white labeling and having their own solution that is powered by by us. So it’s really depending of that. And we work as well with various different system integrator of people that are really expert in their field. And they will associate our solution to their value proposition to win RFP or our business stronger business case and bring more value to their end customer. So we are quite flexible on our reseller motion and it’s really understanding for each company what is their appearance and their willingness to scale up with us, because is a term that everyone is playing around with right now. But at the at the end of the day, you need expert in the field and that’s where we want our self and our reseller to be those expert in the field so they can really help there. And customers have the best value of the solution and can grow with us basically.

Ali Spiric: That makes sense. And then given that you’re in Europe, it’s safe to say that not all of your partners are going to be within the UK. What are the main differences between a partner that is located in the UK and then working with a partner who’s in Belgium? Yeah, maybe anywhere, really. 

Enryck Serin: That’s a I think it’s a. To come back to the reset point. It depends of the expertise and is depending as well of what we have to offer. So if I look at the come back from a telephony background so I can speak easily to some of the resellers that are in the telephony space, a bit more different in other industry because that’s not where my fault my forte is. And luckily we have other people in the team that their expertise, if you are in the UK, the thing is just like there is licenses, we can just meet up for a coffee and you can easily get that connection. I think at the end of the day, partnership you need to be close to your partner. You need to to meet them. If we take Belgium in the in this example, I don’t speak Flemish even if I would love to, but I would be able to help our partner to speak English and French because that’s my language is skill and that’s where I can support them. I think it’s also quite important to be available for your partner. So some of the one of the quotes that I will say is loamy from a Salesforce that said that once at a at a at an event and she saying partnership is 24 over seven, but you need some time to to dial down.

Enryck Serin: So we have partnered all across the globe like right now you are in the US. I know that the US are not my favorite or the most easy for me because I’m based in London. When I do Australia, you know, there is specific time zone where you can work, but having people that can serve those time zone and it’s really important the more local or you can go to your partner, the easier it gets to understand how you can support them. The easier you you can guess as well. Like what are they doing? How are they working, What is the cultural process? What is the way of, I think the cultural background and the cultural business of a company is really important and that’s why you need people that are like if possible, in the market or going quite often to the market of expertise in this specific market because of the customer. Like my some of my partner is in the UK, they have the chance that I’m in London, so they we can always connect or if we are at an event and they come by the event, it’s easier to work with them. My Belgian partner will take the Eurostar to to go see them, to really like show them that there is this willingness to work together.

Ali Spiric: Yeah. So it seems like regardless of where you are, it’s still really important to meet in person at least once. So then that way you can build that trust and that rapport.

Enryck Serin: I think it was quite what I was listening to to yesterday. It’s really depending of the culture of the company you are working for or the company you are partnering with. Some of my partner, even in the past, even if they were based in London, were all working remotely and they were a remote first company. So you need also to be aware of that kind of stuff and have other partners that are more like, Yeah, let’s get going. We need to do face to face. So it’s really understanding like what is your partner culture and where do you fit? So you can better understand, like what is the way of working with them? A funny story was in my previous company, we had a partner in Germany and they had an office in London. Their office in London was next door to mine, so we were literally just going back and forth like that to to have the information. But it just depending of what is the circumstance and really asking the partner like what is your perspective, what is your way of working? How do you want to connect? Some of them want to be available on WhatsApp, some others will be prefer to be by email. Some is a regular catch up point in the calendar. Others will be just call me or text me. So it’s really understanding with your partner what is their preferred way of communication. So that’s that’s part of the the wider discussion. 

Ali Spiric: Yeah. So you have to be flexible in the way that you communicate. And then you mentioned earlier that you’re sort of an advantage because you can speak two languages. Yeah, lucky you. There’s a lot of people I won’t say in the world in the US that don’t. When it comes down to getting an international partner, is there a possibility to work with a partner that doesn’t speak one of those two languages, or is that sort of a hard pass?

Enryck Serin: I will say it’s really depending. Uh, the language of business in general is English. But even like in English, I’m the first example of, like, a weird accent. So sometimes it can be. It can be difficult for people. Obviously, the the thing is, in some specific country, they will not have this English proficiency. Uh, so you need to at that point I will advise that there is team member that are more willing to work with it. There is some specific market where the language barrier is just too important to be able to support correctly, and that’s at that point where you need to be like, okay, are we going there? And if we are going there, we will need to have specific. Language skills are specific members that we are going to hire to deliver on those specific markets. So it’s really depending of the company and their. Where do they want to go and how do they want to go to better serve the customer, basically, and depending if you want. If you want an international or localized company. That’s part of the of the discussion that that you will have sooner or later to define like how do we break into this market.

Ali Spiric: Yeah, that makes sense. So let’s start to talk a little bit about what expansion looks like. So let’s say I’m Holly and I’m looking to break into. Somewhere in Europe, let’s say Germany. Yeah, me and my random countries game. Let’s say we want to break into Germany. What makes you go the partner route versus trying to do it internally?

 Enryck Serin: Uh. I think you need both approach to of the Allbound motion to understand obviously what is your customer request are doing, what are they seeing? Because at the end of the day that’s what your partner is also facing. So it’s important to work with your team to see if there is a possible inbound or outbound motion on on the market. If I take the example of Germany, I know as well in Germany is. There is a language there which is a German and German. People like working in English. They like also to work in German because that their preferred way of working, they will be more able to go on this aspect and be clear in the communication and the messaging. So that’s the main idea, working with a partner that is already present in other market and as well in Germany is a good way to scope out what’s happening in the market, having the chat going. We were in Berlin a few months ago. We will go back. We have also some of our customers that grow with us in our market that’s now growing in Germany. So through them we can see like what is happening and then also having those discussion, trying to scope new partners, discussing with them what is the the willingness to work with us. Is there already some competitor? Yes, there’s always competitor. So understanding what is our approach compared to our competitor? What is the priority or not? 

That’s where you will use those partner. And those discussion is always prospect or partner to understand. Shall we go in in this market or shall we go not into this market.

Ali Spiric: Yeah. One question that I think would be beneficial in my next question is how large is the poly partner team?

Enryck Serin: Uh, that’s a really good question. Really, really good. Uh, the reason why I say that is. There is never just like within the partnership team. The thing is, initially, if we look at what is the partnership team, more on the business focus. My boss was doing it during three years by himself and to this day I still don’t know how he did it. And Super powers. Yeah, yeah, it’s incredible. And now the team has been growing with people such as myself, where we are go to market lead, where we are looking after new technology, new reseller, new markets, etcetera, to help the team grow. I think at our stage we are also quite lucky to have a partner enablement manager and a partner marketing manager dedicated to to the team, but at the same time on the wider partnership team is also like a clear vision of the company Where we are tech team, we have a dedicated partnership tech team for instance. So if we angle everyone, the team is what is on the head count. So it’s always like we is working with us or even like with our marketing team, often we sit down and be like, okay, cool, we have produced those content. Can we reuse them on the partnership side of the partnership side, create some content where like, okay, we need to push it to our wider sales team. So I think it’s not about just the team, but it’s also about the mindset. So we are quite lucky. Yeah, yeah, we have the support from our exec team directly so that help us grow. I will say right now on the business side, we are. Six seven right now. But then if we look at the tech team, we are we will be goalie.

Ali Spiric: So partnerships are a real priority over there, which is really exciting to hear. That is related to my next question, because if it was just two of you, then it would be a more straightforward answer. But when we’re talking about expanding to Germany and you mentioned the competitive analysis and how you go into it and a strategy and what’s happening, who does all of that research?

 Enryck Serin: The job of the go to market leader. That’s a bit my job. And it’s also like looking at. Not only my job, but also working with our sales team, our team, our marketing team to say, okay, who are the name that we hear from direct customer, for instance, or if a customer is mentioning, Oh yeah, I’m working with this company that are in charge of X, Y, Z. Does that put some pinpoint on the radar? So the sharing of information is really important. Uh, looking at the various analyst reports, understanding who is present, where going as well on into the event to be like, okay, who is doing what, etcetera. So it’s a continuous improvement and discussion of okay, where does it make more sense for us to go and is also partnership is linked to the wider ecosystem. So understanding what is the wider ecosystem, where do we play well, where we don’t play well and where can we tap with those ecosystem to bring more value, to decide which market we are going after or who are we working in this specific market? I know that.

Ali Spiric: Perfect. And then when you’ve done all of your research, you’ve put together that presentation. Your boss is like, Henryk, you’re the best. We’re going to do it. We’re going to Germany. This is incredible. How do you find the right partner to break into that market with?

 Enryck Serin: Uh, you will look at. Similar partners in other kind of area or that have the similar value proposition that they can connect with the messaging so they can push it further and help really everyone to get this approach. So we’ll have to connect with them, see if some of them are already inquire about us, if some of them are keen to work with us, if some of them are just like, I’m working with your competitor, there is no point. And then you just keep the focus and just go ecosystem. If you have the luck of working on value ecosystem or various vertical looking at which partner will help me transfer my presence there and just going by that and you go through the list and you discuss with them and you have for for the best basically. But partnership take a lot of time between the first interaction and bringing the first customer together.

Ali Spiric: So yeah, how do you measure your, your presence? Is it just measuring the pipeline that comes from that country? Is it separate reporting? What does that look like from a success standpoint?

Enryck Serin: It depends. It really depends of what is the you need to align your partnership goal with the company wide goal. Literally is like. Are we going there with just the partnership or are we going there with the marketing? We have a SDR, or if you see some clear momentum of. Leads coming are getting invited to events in this that can help the wider scope ability that the good thing is nowadays there is more and more data points so you can see what is the various metric you need as well too. That’s one of the thing I’ve learned throughout various companies, just like you might have a specific field. About, okay, what happen. But sometime the data will say totally the opposite. So that’s that. This thing is just like having this intuition, but also backing it up with what is the reality happening on the at every single moment and touchpoint, basically.

Ali Spiric: That’s interesting. This leads me into the curiosity of have you ever launched in a country and had it not go well and had to take a step back and rethink it, or do you just have 100% success rate and are incredible?

Enryck Serin: No, no, no. That’s that’s not the case. It’s never it’s never. It’s never like that. Uh, yeah, you can, like, launch a country, and then it’s just not the right timing. It’s either a link to your product is also sometimes just link to the way of working that might be different cell cycle that you need to take into consideration. It might also be the fact that maybe the country is not there yet for your solution or for your product. So you have to take that into consideration. You have also sometimes just the happens for me in in a previous company where we launch in a country, we were working really well in the country and then there has been a change of legislation. So you just need to stop it. So it’s also it’s also part of the thing that, uh, that’s why you have the micro analysis. You do your kind of swot when you go there of, okay, are we continuing, are we not? And it just part of the process. Sometimes legislation can change and that can affect your overall business or your way of entering in the market, basically.

Ali Spiric: Can you talk more about that legislation piece? That’s not something that I’ve really thought about or have heard anyone talk about. So what in that particular case, and if it’s getting too specific to what the company is, we don’t have to go into it. But what was that legislation that changed and how did it sort of put a wrench in the plans?

Enryck Serin: Just that basically we are working from the UK in in a specific market and if we want to continue to work in this market, we will have needed to open an entity and do some specific legal jurisdiction and that was in the past. Company will not mention. But yeah, that’s, that’s what happened where we already had some clients there and then a specific piece of the legislation mentioned that if we wanted to stay in this country, we needed to open a specific office, do the legal fee or even have like a data center and stuff like that. So then you just like. Okay. The whoa because it’s not what we wanted. So often legislation can change the aspect of the way that you are working. Sometime it can be helping to set up a specific partner and sometime you can also just close a market. That’s something that a lot of people need the. To be aware of? Yes, sir. Especially a US company entering in Europe. It’s not one country. It’s a lot of one country. And there is a lot of different law. So being aware of the change of the law from one specific country to another, the same type of prospect might change based upon this or some of the requirement can really change. And if look, even at the ecosystem that we are working with, some of our partners that we work with are really great on some specific country and other countries that are not just because of a question of legislation or just for market presence where the market is maybe not there yet. So, you know, then with them, that is maybe not the right time for you to be there. So it’s always like looking at those different perspective and making sure that you are aware of what’s happening in each one of the market that you are covering to ensure that you deliver the best quality for your sales, for your customer and for your partner ultimately.

Ali Spiric: That’s crazy. I can’t even imagine being in this situation where things are going well and you’re celebrating and then all of a sudden it’s just over. So what happens to the customers and the partners that you have there? If you named like six different things that you would have had to do in order to keep operating there? Does that mean that those partners and those customers are just gone? And we just are sad and eat our ice cream.

Enryck Serin: What did you do is you put a contingency plan of, okay, what is the thing that we can continue to do and what is the thing that we can’t continue to do? Then you look at, okay, what is what’s happening with the legislation? Can we still service or not? Is it when is the legislation applicable as well? It’ll be important because they can say, yeah, we put this legislation, it’s going to be passed like the example with GDPR where GDPR was announced and the reality was like two years after all. The other example is like with Brexit, where there was lots of uncertainty in between the moment where the UK said we are leaving Europe and the moment effectively there are five years. So that gives you also some specific time based upon it to do your contingency plan and understand what can we do, what can we say? Then work on the communication. If it’s something where you know that you will divest from the market, mentioning it to your customer quite early on so they can go back or you can just be like, we are working through it and then understanding will the legislation change in the next few months, few years or not? That’s part of the whole contingency plan. 

And when you have to leave the market, you just like explain to your customer the reason why or otherwise. If you know that you are putting everything in the legal place to stay in the market, then you just explain to them that during this time we know that it will be a bit of a rocky patch, but it’s because this legislation happened. So right now we are doing all of the administrative work to be able to to be there.

Ali Spiric: That’s so interesting. So if anyone’s listening to this and wants to expand and does not have a legal person on your team, please get one before expanding.

Enryck Serin: Definitely. For me, I think I love our legal team. I spend so much time asking them a lot of questions and if if you don’t have a legal team that can support you. A local external counsel. That’s also the barrier for languages might happen. So have someone that can speak with them, explain the situation and just look at what’s happening to ensure that you are covered on every every ground. And you can still do business there because there is I’ve seen it with other competitors in the past or where, yes, they were doing stuff and then was like in 3 to 5 months, mate, that would be troublesome for you.

Ali Spiric: Game over for you.

Enryck Serin: That’s a that’s also the aspect of being aware of what’s going on to ensure that you are being transparent with your partner and with your customer.

Ali Spiric: Yeah, I’m trying to wrap my brain around how I would feel and how would how I would go about it. And there are already fires in my brains and emergency situations and this is not even my situation. So I can only imagine what it feels like when you’re in it. That’s nuts.

Enryck Serin: Right. The thing as well is uh, if you divest in a in a market. It’s progressive, but it’s true that you have lots of internal meeting, lots of external meetings with your partner, and you are also supporting your team to ensure that. Everything is covered for them because they are the one your partner and your team are the one that are on the front line. So how do you equip them as best as possible for the situation, basically?

Ali Spiric: Definitely. And on that note, Enryck, I’m so sad, but we’re near the end of the episode. Is there anything that you think that the listeners should know that I haven’t asked you? 

Enryck Serin: Yeah. The main thing is, if anyone wants to enter in Europe, I think take take the time to go inside the market because with with some of the people, if you are working with a company that are buying European and based in the UK, they can give you a feel. I think the UK has lots of international people or people that have worked on those various area. So yeah, the main idea is at the end of the day, don’t consider Europe as just one single market. It’s lots of little different market and way of doing of doing business and I think it’s the most important thing. And yeah, if you have people like that are reaching out to you from Europe wanting to do and be part of your reseller program, reach out to them, discuss with them even if it’s like maybe not a right fit right now, at least they will give you a sense and a pulse check of what’s happening in their specific area so you can know more about. Shall we go there? Where shall we go? There. Where should we go? There. And you just keep learning with them to ensure that you have all of the information needed. So then you can document your expansion goal into this specific region and with with who you are going there. And yeah, if you find some company that are global or pan-European, work with them because then they have local team that can really give you a lot of insight.

Ali Spiric: That’s really great insight. Thanks for sharing with everyone and thank you for being on this episode with us Enryck, he is the go to market leader of partnerships at And thank you to the listener for tuning in.


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