Schneider Electric: Getting the Most out of the Channel
One of the things most IT vendors assume is that if they put sales enablement information up on their website magically their partners will discover that information. In reality, those websites are too cluttered and most solution providers are too busy to go hunting and pecking in the hopes they might discover something interesting.
To address that challenge Schneider Electric has revamped its channel strategy with an eye toward providing more of a concierge-like experience for identifying new sales opportunities. According to Leslie Vitrano, director of Channel Marketing and Communications for Schneider Electric, it’s incumbent on the vendor to get relevant sales enablement tools and information in the hands of their partners. To that end, Schneider Electric has reorganized its channel teams to make it simpler for its 100,000-plus channel partners to generate new business opportunities that span everything from building to managing data center facilities.
Coinciding with a larger effort to unify its global channel under the leadership of Rob McKernan, senior vice president, Global IT Channels, Schneider Electric is making a concerted effort to coordinate its sales enablement program with vendor partners such as Cisco Systems (CSCO), EMC (EMC) and NetApp (NTAP). Instead of forcing partners to try cobble together sales enablement tools from multiple vendors, Vitrano said Schneider Electric will take it upon itself to push that content out to partners using both digital channels and good old-fashioned coaching.
Vitrano noted that many IT vendors often forget that they will get out of the channel only as much as they are willing to put into it. Treat partners like a service fulfillment arm of your company and they will respond accordingly. Work with them to create leads and drive up their overall profitability and those same channel partners will give back additional sales dividends multiple times over in both new sales and, just as importantly, higher levels of attach rates to existing sales.
Obviously, in this age of the cloud it is a challenging time to be in the IT infrastructure business. When it comes to working with vendors, channel partners usually have multiple options. More often than not the vendor they choose to reward with an increased percentage of their business will be the vendor that contributes the most in landing that business in the first place.