Revamped Xerox Channel Program Proves Successful

By expanding its channel rebate and reimbursement program, Xerox Corp. believes it is better equipping channel partners to counter the economy’s downswing and customers’ reluctance to spend a portion of their often shrinking IT budgets.

By expanding its channel rebate and reimbursement program, Xerox Corp. believes it is better equipping channel partners to counter the economy’s downswing and customers’ reluctance to spend a portion of their often shrinking IT budgets.

The Norwalk, Conn.-based printer vendor revamped its Peak Program in mid-January, and has already seen positive results based on partner feedback and improved sales, said Tom Gall, director, value channel marketing at Xerox. The company added dealer registration and enhanced training to the program, he said.

“We’re really trying to listen to our partners about what they want in a partner program,” said Gall. “As a result, we changed some of the revenue and profit opportunities by making it so that all hardware and services from various product categories now count toward their Peak [quotas]. Now all partners in the program can earn front-end discounts on software and supplies. There’s also a yearly goal now, not a quarterly goal. We’ve removed some gates and made the requirements clear.”

The changes have gone over well with channel partners.

Xerox’s willingness to listen and act upon partners’ recommendations was one reason that Lasercomp now focuses almost exclusively on the vendor’s products and related services, said Dale Fulkerson, owner of the Lavonia, Mich.-based Xerox Authorized Service Provider, dealer and leasing firm.

“Things we were talking about three or four years ago are here,” said Fulkerson, a member of Xerox’s dealer council for about six years. “They’re listening to me. If I call them I get an answer today. If I need anything I just say the word and it’s done.”

Xerox has dedicated account management teams that work with solution providers on joint sales calls, field sales and inside sales at the partner’s request, said Gall. The ensuing relationships between individual solution provider employees and Xerox partner employees also are helping cement the vendor’s deal registration program which is, of course, based on trust.

“The key is having the trust of our partners,” said Gall. “We’ve made it easy for partners to join the program and get approved. We’ve closed our first opportunities already, so it’s obviously working. If Reseller A is the deal registrant, and they do all the right things but it turns out a different reseller wins the business from the customer, we still pay Reseller A. We’re going to make sure the people who earned it are going to get the reward.”

Xerox also is encouraging partners to offer managed print services to create a steady stream of monthly revenue. “It’s changing how partners think – moving from getting all the payment upfront vs. spreading payments out over time,” said Gall. “Customers are not necessarily asking for it, so we’re educating our partners about how to sell these services.”

Xerox’s sales, marketing and technical assistance has helped Lasercomp develop a portfolio of more than 1,600 active accounts, said Fulkerson. The solution provider also makes between 30 and 40 service calls each day, both warranty and non-warranty, he added. “This really helps stabilize our cash flow,” Fulkerson explained.

Solution provider training, on products and managed print services, played a big part in Xerox’s initial partner program overhaul, Gall said. During the second quarter, Xerox plans to emphasize customer education, he said. This material will not only underscore some of the technological benefits, but also the earth-friendly, ink waste-free capacity of solid ink products, said Gall.

TAGS: services,software,marketing,Xerox,channel



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