Looking to capitalise on the initial success of the annuity program it launched earlier this year, Express Data is adding end-user notification to the service. Further down the track, it may go fishing for business in competition waters.
The distributor uses the annuity scheme to give its resellers a reminder that a customer contract is up for renewal in 45 days. For every dealer that signs up for end-user notification, ED is currently sending a simultaneous email to the customer.
"The reminders are issued with the reseller's logo and can include pricing if that is what they want," ED annuity manager, Shannon Muller, said.
"We want the end-user to perceive that the reseller is well ahead of the game."
Within the next 10 weeks, the system will be customised to allow resellers to tweak it to their specific needs.
Muller said she would first spend the next two months visiting resellers across Australia that had expressed an interest in customising the annuity service to suit their business.
"We have more than 1500 resellers with annuity opportunities," she said.
"Of those, about 700 are logging onto the portal regularly and they are the ones we want to contact in person."
During these visits, Muller will be asking resellers if they want to sign over all of their annuity business to ED.
"We are already looking after all the annuity of some partners," she said. "The service is free and all we ask in return is that they buy from us.
"We want to earn as much renewable business as we can and it stops resellers having to get this information from many different places."
The distributor had already called 170 reseller partners to gauge whether the end-user service would be appreciated by the channel and few had any concern, Muller said.
"Only four were negative," she said. "From their point of view, they were worried about us contacting a customer that they were no longer servicing."
While the annuity service was currently only available if the vendor in question goes to market through ED, Muller said the distributor was looking into the possibility of getting annuity rights for vendors that it didn't carry. If this did happen, ED would take a percentage of a deal from the reseller as and when a renewal was closed.
"We have been approached by resellers to see if this is something we could do but the mechanics haven't been worked out yet," Muller said.
While 83 per cent of ED annuity is currently accrued through software, Muller said she would be looking to build up the hardware side of the business during the next 12 months.
As previously reported in ARN, ED launched its annuity program to clean up what it estimated was $50 million of missed reseller renewals. Six months after its launch, Muller claimed it had improved annuity closures by 30 per cent.