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Channel consultancy
Maury G, Managing Partner, Levels Ventures.

Looking to expand its management consultancy and advisory services to the IT channel, Australia-based Levels Ventures is looking to cement its footprint in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Maury G, Managing Partner, Levels Ventures, tells Intelligent Tech Channels how the company is engaging with the channel partners and why it’s extending its presence to the EMEA region.

What is Levels Ventures and when was it founded?

Levels Ventures with its headquarters in Australia and another office in Hong Kong, is a management consulting and advisory firm that was established in 2015. The firm serve clients across the world with special focus on EMEA and APAC regions.

The firm is 100% focused on the technology sector with three different practices that include: IT Sector Consulting, Start-up’s and Innovation Ecosystem Provider and FinTech and Blockchain Consulting.

IT Sector Consulting: is where the company helps IT vendors to define the right go-to-market strategy to enhance its channel reach in an existing market or identifying new distributors or partners when opening new markets. More services are offered to the channel partners for example, vendor selection, pricing strategy, B2B social selling and more.

Start-up’s and Innovation Ecosystem Provider (Incubators and Accelerators): Helps the ecosystem in enhancing the financial sustainability of incubators and accelerators. Another aspect of focus is improving the revenue, investment readiness, internationalisation of plans and improving the pre-money-valuation of start-ups.

FinTech and Blockchain Consulting: Helps government, international banks and start-ups to identify where the blockchain technology would help. In addition, it assesses the opportunity and provide clients with recommendation documents on that. Our key partners have spoken in more than 20 conferences and shared their knowledge with more than 30,000 delegates across Australia and Asia Pacific.

How is Levels Ventures working with the channel in the MEA market?

We have identified a few gaps in the Middle East and Africa market when it comes to the channel. Our managing partner has more 15 years of working relationship with the channel ecosystem in Middle East, Africa, Central East Europe, Russia and the CIS, so it was easy for us as a company to leverage on that and start to partner with key players in the market. Right now, we are engaged in helping the IT channel partners and systems integrators (SIs) in key markets on the African continent and Middle East. We are also working with a key Disaster Recovery vendor and Fortune 100 cybersecurity vendor to enable their channels to do a better job in this geography.

Why is the MEA market important for Levels Ventures to develop its business and presence?

This specific region is very interesting for us since it is the heart of the broader emerging markets geography. Africa with more than 50 countries and the rest of Europe’s emerging markets with more than 30 markets are mostly relying on indirect channels and this is where we can help and add value, more especially for the enterprise B2B.

What services and consultancy is Levels Ventures offering channel partners and why should the channel in MEA work with your company?

The Services we provide for the channel ecosystem can be divided into three areas:

For channel partners, we help them with the following: Improving their customer experience, improving the proactive sales approach, accelerating revenue cycle, better alignment when it comes to the vendor portfolio they are working with, enhancing their pricing strategy and expansion plans assessment.

On the IT distributor front, we focus on improving the performance of their least performing channel partners to make sure that they leverage the best out of the channel partners they serve, hence improve their customer experience. In addition, we assist in building simple and effective partner programmes that guarantee their reseller partners’ loyalty, improve partner and IT reseller recruitment process and improve their enterprise social presence.

For vendors, our focus is concentrated on improving channel and distributor experience, transforming mid-market channels revenue and lead generation from being reactive to proactive behaviour. We also help to provide consistent channel improvement consulting and implementing best-in-class practices to their channels to make sure that they are helping channel partners in their market expansion.

What type of distributors and channel partners is Levels Ventures looking to work with?

Because every channel partner and every distributor can benefit from our consulting practice, we try and work with a broad array of channel partners. However, we prioritise working with enterprise B2B channel partners and distributors that are either servicing a new market, onboarding a new vendor, building a new partner programme or assist partners that are struggling with their revenue and profitability.

What challenges are channel partners in MEA telling you they are finding in the current business climate?

We have been exploring the Middle East and African market for the last 12 months and have identified many challenges some of them include: channel partners not having sales and marketing teams, sales and marketing not aligned with their business goals, lacking tools to transform the whole sales and service processes and a lack of driving more revenue from existing clients (upselling/reselling)

Which countries in MEA are you targeting this year and why?

We are targeting Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Egypt as our tier one focus in the MEA market because of the number of local channel partners that are underserved in these three markets. Kenya, Ghana, United Arab Emirates and Nigeria come in as our tier two focus. Both tiers are equally important to us, but we have started to identify key vendors, distributors and channel partners to work with in 2021 and 2022.

Looking ahead, what is Levels Ventures’ plans in 2021 and beyond?

Our plans for 2021 and 2022 is to empower as much as we can from channel partners so that they can deliver better customer experiences to their clients.

Our message for this year and next year is “Power to the channel” as we believe now that key local IT channel partners are getting more attention from vendors who want to enter new markets or want to work with key clients.

What business development initiatives and plans are in the offing for Levels Ventures post COVID-19 in MEA?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of businesses across the whole world. We saw that there is a part that we can play to help the channel ecosystem, so we offered and are still offering 10 free hours with 10 IT channel partners to explore growth areas and direct them on the right path. We have also been conducting a monthly webinar where we bring channel experts to advise and share their success and failures in responding to the COVID-19 impact on their business. Through the Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions we conducted on a weekly basis, we give room to channel partners to share their challenges with us and we share our experience with them.

What channel programmes and initiatives is Levels Ventures planning for its channel partners in the Middle East this year?

We are launching the Catalyst Programme, which includes a lot of support to the channel partners. The scheme will be focusing on the assessment of the channel partner’s health as a company. Two modules are there in the Catalyst Programme which include assessment, which is a very professional and structured process that is conducted by our consultants and measures the health of the channel partner with a weighted score from gathering 50 check points across the main business areas such as sales, marketing, product, pricing, team and competitive landscape.

Once the partner gets the results of the #Catalyst assessment process, they get a recommendation report from out team where the channel partner can hire us to help them with the execution, execute with their internal resources, or execute it with a third party.

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