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With ambitious growth targets for its business-to business (B2B) printing division, one global Korean electronics firm has rolled out an advanced partner program to strengthen its indirect channels and open up new markets around the world. The company is a recognized industry pioneer with a strong reputation for innovative, high-quality products. But its strength in the printer business has revolved around consumer markets to this point. While the company earned several billion in printer sales revenue in 2007, it has set a target of $9 billion in revenue within the next five years—a plan that depends on rapid growth in business markets.
To accomplish its aggressive growth target, the electronics firm recognized that its highest growth potential lies in emerging markets and small- to midsize (SMB) businesses. To expand its sales coverage area to deeply penetrate these markets, the company knew it could not rely on direct sales alone. Now was the time to focus on broadening its reseller network and strengthening relationships with top resellers to maximize B2B sales and secure visibility of end customers.
The company engaged Accenture to re-architect its approach to B2B partner and channel management and build the capabilities necessary to reach its business objectives.
Accenture's detailed analysis of the company's existing partner program demonstrated that in order for it to become a high-performance business in the B2B printer division, it needed to enhance the development and management of its channel relationships. It needed to assess the overall value of a particular partner based on an array of relevant criteria such as vertical and solution specialization, talent and expertise, and overall organizational capabilities. As opposed to merely focusing on sales volume, it needed to gauge their ability to deliver business value. It was time for a transformative initiative.
After completing the initial assessment, Accenture deployed a team of customer relationship management (CRM) professionals with deep experience in channel management strategy and execution.
Relying on its Partner Relationship Management Capability Assessment tool, Accenture assessed the company's current level of process capabilities through benchmark analysis and against the strategic objectives identified in the master plan.
Through this strategic assessment and gap analysis, Accenture and the electronics firm identified the elements of a B2B Partner Program Plan designed to potentially strengthen its position in the B2B market.
Leveraging its Partner Program Design Framework, Accenture introduced a methodology for managing and measuring partners along several dimensions. In addition, the framework encompassed business support structure (partner training and collaborative planning), partner rewards (monetary and non-monetary), and program measures.
In addition to establishing a framework for partner segmentation based on value, the design framework identified system requirements needed to administer the score-based modeling of the program.
Then, Accenture worked with the company to establish a strategy for collaborative sales pipeline management. Previously, the company was not able to accurately identify and track sales leads, which is an essential element of channel support. The two companies collaborated to clearly define sales leads and determine how to effectively route the leads to partners. Ultimately, Accenture delivered a detailed process design, a set of operating policies, and high-level functional requirements.
The next step was to establish a B2B demand management framework. Accenture identified rules, guidelines and processes the company could use to manage demand and reduce unnecessary inventories, using information from the sales pipeline.
Lastly, Accenture helped the company develop key performance indicators ("KPIs") and a performance measurement strategy. KPIs were established to measure every critical element of the new B2B partner program within the framework. Again, Accenture identified high-level functional requirements and established a road map for rolling out the new B2B partner program, program processes and program KPI measurements to various geographic regions.
In just three months, Accenture was able to help the company design and implement a partner program that is reflective of proven practices and methods in indirect channel management. With a tiered partner membership model based on value delivered, the company has eclipsed the flawed, volume driven assumptions that now underlie many channel management programs in the technology industry.
The company's new B2B partner program will incentivize partners based on several factors, including the number of certified experts that partners maintain on staff, demonstrated solution capabilities and success at achieving clearly defined, value-based targets. While the new program is initially being rolled out in its European subsidiaries, the company plans to capitalize on its successes to expand its channel program into all key regions.
As a result of this initiative, the company is now able to put a partner relationship structure into production that rewards high performance and business value. The company is cultivating and strengthening partner relationships through an advanced account management process. And it is instituting an array of leading practices. Opportunity-driven demand management, for instance, could increase supply chain efficiency, while collaborative sales pipeline management could deliver high sales productivity.
Through its advanced partner program, the company is now positioned to potentially seize a portion of the growth that exists in B2B printing markets throughout the world. By embracing the new dynamics—and potential—of the indirect channel, it demonstrates its acumen as a high-performance business.
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