Cellnet looks to re-establish closer partner ties

Cellnet looks to re-establish closer partner ties

ASX-listed distributor looks for value in vendor and reseller relationships

Re-establishing closer ties with existing vendors and resellers and developing pre-sales and support skills are the cornerstones of Cellnet's rebuild plans, according to its sales chief.

General manager of IT sales, Aidan Fitzgerald, said the embattled distributor was planning to relaunch a range of products from existing vendors in coming months. Fitzgerald was appointed to the role in April.

"We're being more proactive with the vendors - in the past we've been guilty of just running with the vendor message and being reactive," he said.

Skilling up and cross-selling are key parts of Cellnet's strategy to gain credibility.

Fitzgerald said it had now secured 32 accreditations with its largest vendor partner, IBM.

"We're also looking at building up complementary skills in things like VMware and CommVault, even though we don't distribute them, so we can offer resellers knowledge around that," he said. "It's all about adding value back in."

The distributor also plans to reopen its build centre in Victoria and expand its IBM solutions centre in Sydney, which opened earlier this year.

Fitzgerald said it was considering opening a second solutions facility in either SA or WA later in the year.

Cellnet has also expanded its sales team with managers in SA and WA and added a couple of extra sales hands in NSW and in Victoria.

"What I found was that we had an inbound sales strategy and were waiting for the calls to come in - this is about is having an outbound sales focus," Fitzgerald said.

Re-establishing close ties with resellers was also critical, he said. Cellnet is now planning a range of reseller initiatives around marketing, demand generation and ROI.

"It's not about getting a whole lot of new resellers - we know who they are - it's about getting them back on-board," Fitzgerald said.

ASX-listed Cellnet has struggled to hold its head up over the past two years after being plagued by revenue falls and profit losses, the departure of several key managers, mixed messaging around its telco and IT businesses and staff churn. Earlier this month, the distributor retrenched 19 staff out of its HR, IT and warehouse areas.

Fitzgerald admitted Cellnet's resurrection was a long-term project but he was positive about its progress. He also played down the impact tougher market conditions could have on the distributor's bottom line.

"We've already been through the cuts, hard decisions and streamlining the business," he said.

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