American Power Conversion (APC) is using Australia as a testing ground for its new channel strategy and is on the road in a national promotional tour that hopes to develop reseller awareness and involvement in UPS with a particular focus on the oft-ignored SME sector.
Although APC has had market presence in Australia for years, according to APC's ANZ general manager Leanne Cunnold, the process is to become more formalised with 200 resellers already having undergone the certification process. "We used to give leads to anyone who sold APC products but there wasn't any support or structure to go with this. Now we are concentrating on small-to-medium resellers who focus on the SME market. We have a local Australian Web site with technical information and the like. Resellers who join will be listed on the Web site in the dealer location section," explains Cunnold.
The program is inclusive of any reseller who undertakes the certification program, of which approximately 60 per cent already sell APC products, the rest are new to the game. Official APC reseller status is a matter of simply attending any one of the capital city quarterly seminars. In addition Cunnold asserts that resellers must "follow up any leads APC generates and provide us with some feedback".
In return Cunnold claims APC will commit to a regular communications channel via e-mail that will provide sales tips, generate leads and offer product launches. The Web site will offer a similar service and includes the "APC Reseller Locator" that directs interested customers to certified resellers. A 1800 number will offer an alternative contact medium. "We generate a lot of leads in the marketplace," asserts Cunnold. "Yet at the moment we only follow up on 30 per cent of them. The remaining 70 per cent provide some good opportunities for resellers."
In addition APC channel partners will have the advantage of "technical support and quarterly training seminars".
And it is not only a reseller's specific UPS market that this program will affect. According to Cunnold, APC partners will be able to "get a foot in the door as value-adding companies through leads generated by APC. They might be UPS leads that turn into sales for servers, PCs or other equipment. An example is a $200 back-up sale a reseller made that turned into $80 000."
Cunnold believes the channel program will educate and equip resellers not only with practical support and knowledge but an intricate understanding of the changing market trends and the emerging UPS market. "APC used to just protect a business's hardware. The trend now is to focus on a company's entire business process. To do this we have to understand a customer's business and protect the vital flow of data," elucidates Cunnold. And according to Cunnold, resellers will be the ones who start putting this concept into practice. "APC only has 15 people working in Australia so we will need a channel," assures Cunnold.
Contact: 1800 652 725
Fax: (02) 9955 9366