Sanjay Zadoo, Country Manager Channel at Emerson Network Power (India) chats with Cell IT explaining their channel activities. Edited Excerpts
Cell IT: Explain your channel distribution model
Emerson: Channel forms a very important part of Emerson Network Power’s business. We consistently collaborate with our partners closely and reach out to our customers. In India we work with two national distributors: Ingram Micro and Neoteric Informatique who then help us reach out to the larger market of NSPs and VARs.
Cell IT: What are the top 5 channel plans you have for India?
Emerson: The IT Infrastructure market is growing and countries like India and China are seeing a huge surge in demand for state of the art network infrastructure. Initiatives like Digital India and Make in India has opened up new market opportunities for us, especially for our datacenter infrastructure management solutions portfolio.
Here are our channel plans for FY’16:
Collaborate and strengthen relationship with all our partners
Encouraging our partners to sell solutions, integrating various products from the portfolio of Emerson Network Power as part of a complete solution
Expand our partner network for having good customer reach across the country
Adequately motivate our partners by way of rewards
Extend our post sales service as well as our technical support to our channel partners
Cell IT: What are the top challenges that channel partners face in the power solutions segment and how is your company working around it?
Emerson:With technology and business trends evolving on a day to day basis, organizations have to constantly adapt to the changing scenario. Similarly, industries, too are under constant pressure to store, and have data on hand at any given point. This demand has resulted in an uptake in the adoption of Datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions as well as reliable and efficient back up power sources, like UPS systems.
Considering the growing demand from SMEs and SMBs, located in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities for backup power solutions, the only way to reach out to them is via the channel. Speaking of our back up power solutions category, there are lot of players in the small and micro UPS category. Customers have a wide variety of brands they can choose from, making it one of the crucial challenges that partners face.
Another major challenge that our channel partners face is difficulty in retaining and getting qualified manpower to service customers. Even though ample manpower is available in the industry, channel partners see a dearth of qualified professionals available to do the job.
We are working around these challenges, by offering good training and technical skills around our portfolio of products, so that our partners come across as trusted consultants, thereby leveraging our product offering. This will further enable our partners to up sell our offerings better and then help our customers have an extra edge over other their competitors and also help with managing profit margins.
Cell IT: What will be your spend for the channel fraternity this financial year?
Emerson: While, we cannot share the specific amount allocated for the channel training and incentive programs, we maintain that our go-to-market strategy will still be driven through the channel, so we allocate a significant amount of our marketing spend towards this activity. We will allocate our budget accordingly towards Marketing Development plans, Promotion of our products via our channel schemes as well as Marketing development support.
Cell IT: Suggest us the key trends that will dominate the power solutions segment in the coming days?
Emerson: Technology today is advancing at a rate faster than we thought. The power solutions sector is no different. With the Digital India and Start-up India movement gaining momentum, we are now witnessing a trend wherein lot of new SMBs, SMEs and start-ups are come up, which has opened up opportunities for companies like Emerson Network Power, to play a huge in the day to day operations of their business.
Our Smart Solutions portfolio has been seeing huge demand from customers as the solutions have enabled quite a few of these SMEs and SMBs to digitize and modernize their business processes with application of modular/ smart datacenters.
Cell IT: How sure are you that your channel partners are ready to adopt to the changing dynamics in the power solutions segment?
Emerson: With advancing technology, channel partners have to adapt to the changing dynamics of the market as well as demands from customers. With the digital age upon us, the customers are well informed and educated about the products and services, they want to purchase. They end up making buying decisions even before sales representatives can approach them, making marketing a very critical aspect of business strategy.
Today traditional marketing platforms are giving way to digital, mobile and social media based platforms via which we can reach out to customers. This is why channel partners must always be up to date with the products and solutions as this will enable them to gravitate towards becoming consultants to customers.
Emerson Network Power is aware of the prevailing environment and this has seen us move towards a campaign which is ROI focused, aiding us in keeping the business healthy. Since we see the channel as equally responsible partners, we are quite confident of them being ready to adapt to the changing dynamics in the power solutions segment.
Cell IT: Top 3 suggestions for your channel partners this year?
Stay close to customer – Channel Partners must constantly engage with the customer and try to understand their requirements from time to time. My suggestion to channel partners is to continuously update themselves with the products and solutions and make the transition to becoming a solution provider rather than being just product supplier.
Maintain Long Term Working Relationships with customers– Our partners need to ensure that they provide our customer’s efficient and professional services by suggesting them products and solutions basis their needs and requirements.
Ensure customer support – 24×7 efficient customer support is a must. Our partners need to offer good service and be available to our customers, so as to ensure no downtime and efficient service and consultancy, as a lapse in both these areas may result in loss of customers.