‘Well trained partners deliver better value to customers’
Channel Partners play a key role in creating values for brand for any product and the company on the whole. Those, which realise this fact take initiatives in forming a strong and efficient circle of channels, feels Gaurav Burman, director-Transaction Business, APC by Schneider Electric, India.
What are the forthcoming programs scheduled by APC for its channel partners?
Channel partners are integral to our success. We are currently engaged with 7500 partners across the country. We have comprehensive engagement programs where channel partners are aligned to our business depending on their core business strengths (CPP). This has been rolled out in 40 cities, which includes multiple round-tables and engagement seminars with key system integrators.
Apart from this, we had recently launched Inner Circle Program that recognizes partners who have proven their longstanding commitment and loyalty to APC. Following is the list of activities conducted by us:
1. Club includes company’s most loyal partners from 14 cities. Further, we conduct regular interaction enabled between them and senior leadership team at the company, and also have organized factory visits.
2. Plenty of incentives; certified product training programs for their sales force
3. Third party workshops organized for them on overall business management, which is extremely beneficial to them.
4. Partner lead sharing program – first of its kind in the industry
5. Opportunity registration program
6. Co-op funded marketing programs
7. Partner involved in product development process and pilot testing etc. for better involvement and engagement of the community
8. Partner Online Destination – a dedicated online terminal for enabling day-to-day engagement
9. Giving them better training and access to SE portfolio as well.
Are any specific partner initiatives or channel plans aligned for this year?
We are working towards strengthening our distribution model. The focus is on large format electronic retail stores like Metro, Viveks, Staples, Girias, etc. with our own store promoters in some of them. In addition, we intend to carry out joint marketing activities with them to tap into their in-house customer database.
We are working towards tapping into the new stream of electrical channel partners of SE for distribution of Home-UPS. Also, we are going after battery distributors and traders channel for all our power back up solutions.
Recently, we had conducted an exclusive survey with IMRB on top 500 cities w.r.t PC/Server usage. New cities for growth have been identified and we are in the process of tying up with partners in those cities. Under this, we have already covered 80 cities. In the enterprise space, we will continue to increase our engagement with key system integrators.
Tell us about the opportunities floating for channels in the market this season.
We are running many special offers for channel partners in the upcoming festival season to make the business more profitable for them.
Offer is a simple point based -slab program for the period of October, November and December 2010. There are fixed points for every SKU of Smart-UPS (up to 20kVA). Total points for the period OND-2010 will be calculated as the sum of points gained for each SKU purchased by the partner during the offer period. Partners can redeem the total points against fabulous range of gift items and travel holidays – gifts range from wrist watches, microwaves, LCD TV, Home Theatre Systems, Gold jewellery to exciting big ticket prizes such as a Maruti Swift and Honda City and Civic. Travel vacations range from exotic locales such as Switzerland, Cairo, Las Vegas and London.
Similarly, other point based offers are available for the season on APC’s Back-UPS, Home-UPS, LED lights, Line R Voltage Regulators and Flooded Batteries. Gifts in this scheme range from wrist watches, Irons, Blu-Ray players, Washing machines, Gold vouchers, LED TV to an exotic holiday in New Zealand.
…and have you left the customers’ segment behind?
No, not al all! APC is also running many customer offers to increase product demand and to help partners to create store excitement around the brand. Under the latest offer on APC Home-UPS, the consumer post purchase of an APC Home-UPS can enter a lucky draw by registering the purchase at APC toll free lines before 15th December 2010. The lucky winners get a 40” Sony LCD TV, Handy Cameras, Philips digital photo frames, APC Line R Voltage Regulators and APC Strolley Laptop Bags. This offer is valid till 30th November, 2010. As per another interesting offer, which is on 650 VA Back-UPS, wherein the users on purchase of an APC BE650Y-IN UPS can get a guaranteed gift – an APC Wrist Watch free. This scheme is valid from 15th October to 31st December 2010.
How is APC empowering its channel partners?
We believe that training for channel partners plays the key role. Our ultimate aim is to help our channel partners at every step of the process. We conduct training programs periodically as per training calendar, while our sales team organizes training program for the channel partners on a weekly basis.
Well trained, knowledgeable partners deliver better value to customers and therefore, we have rolled our Channel Partner Programme (CPP) at the beginning of this year in the form of an intensive, country wide partner training initiative.
Has being part of Schneider Electric helped APC position itself better against competition?
We are now part of Schneider Electric and this has strengthened our energy management portfolio. EcoStruxure, our new architectural approach, is modular, scalable, flexible, easy to adopt and takes maximum advantage of our combined excellence in the fields of Power, IT, industry, and buildings. Within our parent company Schneider Electric, 2000 employees are getting trained in intelligent energy management.
We also actively collaborate with our distributors and other partners to develop energy efficiency projects, partnering with leading system integrators like Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), IBM (NYSE:IBM) in intelligent building and data centre energy management.
In the enterprise segment, we already have a robust portfolio of modular, scalable and energy efficient models. The modular form factor enables physical infrastructure to right-size to initial business requirements with the ability to adapt quickly and easily for changing technology needs throughout the life of a facility. Newer product lines in the home user space are extremely power efficient and have many useful features such as high quality pure sine wave outputs, wide voltage windows, best-in-class batteries, RoHS compliance etc.