Vendor focus

In focus

ACERAgainst the backdrop of an evolving regional channel landscape, the recently appointed Channel Sales Manager for Acer Middle East, Asad Sayed, outlines the company’s partner strategy.

What have been some of the highlights at Acer over the last six months?

The key for Acer has been consistency. We have been re-establishing the commercial channel over the past few months. The key message has always been in-country reach and closeness to the customer.

What is Acer’s channel objective in the Middle East?

The key objective is to achieve a profitable business for the channel and for Acer. Our focus is to meet the customer’s needs and derive profitable growth.

Who are some of your distributor partners?

We work with regional distributors such as Redington, FDC and BDL. Currently, we are in the process of getting key in-country partners on board for the Middle East.

Can you explain the channel initiatives in place for the remaining part of the year?

One of the most important elements of sales is knowledge of the product you are selling – know the unique features and be well-informed on the market trends and new technologies. Therefore, we plan to start product roadshows and channel events across the region to re-enforce knowledge of Acer products and communicate the company’s roadmap going forward.

The key focus is on the education vertical where Acer has been successful and has been leading in Europe. We are working towards bringing a similar growth and a share of that business here.

Chromebooks are definitely a growth area in the next few quarters for the region. Acer has strong market shares and has been successful in Europe with this product line.

Can you elaborate on Acer’s partner programme? What can partners expect?

We are in the process of finalising the Acer Synergy Programme for the channel and will launch it in the coming quarters. We recognise the importance of the channel and partnership with resellers who share our ambition for growth and sustainable business.

Acer Synergy Partner Programme is designed for partners who meet the company’s goals and requirements and ensure commitment to deliver market leading solutions for the commercial market.

The key features for the programme include:

  • Realistic and achievable criteria to reward partners
  • Value-added marketing documentation and technical training programmes
  • Access to our Solution Competence Centre, which can offer assistance in developing tailor-made solutions

When identifying partners, the key criteria is on those resellers who focus on SMB and education verticals.

What are some challenges for partners today? As a vendor how can you support them further?

The challenge for partners today is growth. The market is getting tougher in driving profitability. Innovation is the way forward. We are trying our best to have inventory levels in check to avoid price erosion and hence profit loss.

Where do you see the growth coming from?

Traditionally, in the Middle East, Q3 is a slow one while Q4 ramps up.

Iran could potentially be an interesting growth market provided the June nuclear accord and sanctions uplifting happens.

Windows 10 will definitely bring in more growth. Two-in-one Windows tablets is also another growth segment. We believe there are many opportunities in the education segment.

How do you see the regional channel landscape evolving?

The region has seen a slowdown over the last couple of months, probably due to the lower oil prices. Iran has been a ‘wait and watch’ scenario and Iraq is not yet completely out of troubles since the past year.

Currently I fear the channel is high-inventory laden, leading to price erosion and profit pain to almost all the PC vendors. The channel will go through this period of slowdown and market challenges and eventually maintain a sustainable growth. Windows 10, 2-in-1’s and GITEX later on this year will definitely bode well for the channel. Hybrid resellers, (largely retail shops and SMBs trading to the GCC) will evolve and specialise into their unique strength as a focused segment, which is the way to drive profitable growth.

We are seeing that those channel players who focus on channel breadth and wider product portfolio will win as this is a golden and proven mantra.

What is your message for your partners?

Partners need to work towards achieving a sustainable and profitable growth. This can be done by staying focused, reaching out to more customers and expanding the product portfolio.

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