SEI and Its Channel Partners go hand in hand
Director – Network Connectivity, Lifespace Business
Schneider Electric India
Schneider Electric India (SEI) works on a long-term strategy with channel partners. It has its internal tools to evaluate the channel gaps, and based on these gaps, it appoints new channels in specific geographies. One of the reasons for the channel partners to work with the company is the fact that the channel gets to understand and gets the opportunity to work with the 24- billion Euro SE giant and explore its vast portfolio.
Motivational factors to develop partner base
“We feel the channel partners are looking forward to the second half of the year with some expectations. As of now, there is business available in the market, but there are pressures on margins and collections. The average DSO levels across Tier 2 and Tier 3 are higher as compared to in the past, and the stocking levels are rational. However, there are opportunities available in the marketplace, and the channels are evaluating various details before closing the orders. We appreciate the channel's priorities shifting towards bottom line rather than only focussing on the topline,” says GB Ravichandra, Director – Network Connectivity, Lifespace Business, Schneider Electric India.
According to GB Ravichandra, “Channel management would encompass three broad areas: firstly, channel appointment which includes evaluation, objective setting, clear road map and roles or expectations between the channel and the vendor. Secondly, cranking of well-oiled Channel machinery, including smooth transactions, setting up transparent and favourable terms of trade, supporting the channels with go-to-market tools and enablers, training and guiding the channels to broadbase their product portfolio and build competencies for them to enhance their business and technical skillset, to grow in the marketplace. Thirdly, channel management is about ensuring optimum channel coverage by having the right people at the right place and leveraging the channel sales teams to cover the market. It also includes regular monitoring and reviewing the channel performance, and rewarding the right set of channels during the course of time.”
Channel Relationship Programme
“Broadly speaking, the strategies would depend upon the objective of the relationship programme. We focus on market penetration, customer segment and channel profitability as the guiding strategies in most of the channel programmes,” says GB Ravichandra.
Managing the distribution network
GB Ravichandra opines that the commercial policy clearly defines the scope for the existing distributors to enter new geographies. In fact, SEI encourages the channels to expand their footprint and enter into mutually agreed new geographies, where we feel there is ample opportunity to work together. The company handholds the new channels in the beginning to give them confidence and reward them for their initial efforts to set up the business for SEI. The company has a strong JAP (Joint Action Plan) process, under which it plans the activities and initiatives to be taken in the new market with the new channel, to get utmost speed and the company ensures that the channels get compensated for this effort.