Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST) has announced new enhancements to its Partners First worldwide channel program, a program designed to make it easier for partners to facilitate sales and a way for them to increase overall revenue opportunities.
While the program itself is not new, the enhancements are Hitachi GST's attempt to revamp its already existing channel program, aimed at the hard drive partner space. Caroline Sumners, manager of worldwide channel marketing at Hitachi GST, says the changes to the program were made to give the program more of a global reach and presence.
"One of our goals was to provide more access to education and training materials to help our channel facilitate the sales process by also providing multilingual capabilities because a lot of our sales come from non-English speaking countries," Sumners said.
"We also wanted to add more value support and provide technical resources that would allow our distributors and partners to speed up the sales process."
Hitachi's Partners First program is a tiered partner program that features three distinct partner levels, including Black (premier), Silver, (mid-tier) and Red (stage one) partner levels. These levels are then determined by the type of vertical market the partner targets and the amount of volume that's generated from them.
From these levels, partners then have access to various shared resources, support and other incentives. Sumners says access to the program is open to any partner who registers in Hitachi's channel, including its corporate OEM partners.
"We currently have about 20,000 registered partners enrolled in the Partners First program," Sumners said. "Registrations are ongoing and the interest in joining this program is definitely there."
New in the Partners First program is access to the new on-demand 24 x 7 training hub that provides partners with various training materials and anytime access to trained technical support staff, multi-language phone assistance, as well as access to area sales managers and access to Hitachi's channel resource guide.
Sumners says launching in the first quarter of 2008 for North American resellers is what Hitachi calls its Excel Program for partners.
"We're going to introduce this to our authorised distributors and our Black (premier) level of partners," Sumners said. "This is a rewards program where incentives are catered both geographically and culturally to the North American market. The partner can then choose the kind of reward and incentive they want."
Hitachi GST's overall objective with the enhancements of its Partners First program is to increase its overall global revenue as well as to let partners increase their sales and business, Sumners said.
"The benefits and materials we've put in place is all to help our partners grow their business," she said. "We want to grow alongside with them because it's all about mutual cooperation."
Along with the recent program enhancements, Sumners maintains that Hitachi GST is, and always will be committed to the channel and its hard drive business.
"We'll continue to bring out market leading and innovating products," Sumners said. "Our key target markets are with the consumer electronics market and we'll continue to invest in channel enhancements that will bring us and our partners growth.
"As we go into 2008, there will be a marketing campaign for our Partners First program and we'll also be doing recruitments through trade shows and through electronic marketing engagements," she said.