Courting the Channel: Vincent Barro, APC by Schneider Electric
10 December 2015 | 0
It’s just over a year since APC by Schneider Electric launched its new distribution organisation in Ireland. Vincent Barro, IT business vice president for Ireland at APC by Schneider Electric, is quick to stress that the company has always been extremely big in Ireland but the vendor felt it could do even better.
It’s a measure of APC’s ambitions that within six months of launching the partner programme it was appointing MicroWarehouse as a distributor in Ireland, adding to existing agreements with CMS, Anixter and TD.
The vendor is keen to build a strong relationship with resellers and partners in Ireland. “We noticed the Irish were very keen to work more closely with us,” Barro says. “We’ve exploded our target in terms of numbers, and there’s been very significant growth in the distribution business.”
The channel base consists of key partners but also others that “are not close”. APC has made “a significant investment in recruitment” in Ireland, Barro reveals.”If partners have not received a call from APC over the past six months that means we are not identifying them and it’s our bad. People who want to work with us should come to APC and see what we can do together.”
Resellers are welcome to register in APC’s partnership programme, he adds. The programme is divided into four tiers: registered, select, premier and elite. As partners progress through each tier of the programme, their profit opportunities increase. The programme provides financial differentiation to partners, including points-based rewards, opportunity registration and back-end incentives. There are no minimum revenue requirements with the registered accreditation but Barro believes that resellers that register with APC “will find they can quickly make the step up to premier accreditation if they achieve the requirements”.
Although APC is primarily known as an uninterruptible power supplies vendor, the company’s portfolio also includes racks, cooling and power distribution products. Barro is keen to stress the depth of the vendor’s portfolio to prospective Irish partners. “We have made a lot of acquisitions and our portfolio is quite unique. We are extremely competitive on all sides,” he says. “We cover all the portfolio from one rack to a very large solution. It’s not only IT, we also have the data centre segment and there are clear opportunities with the other business units as well.”
The vendor has a dedicated cross-selling team and a single point of contact for the reseller. “We can go to the customer with the partner and discuss the opportunities with the customer. When they have someone from Schneider with them it works well because partners cannot be specialists in everything.”
Traditionally, APC has focused on large enterprises, but it is also keen to bring SMB customers on board and to create leads and opportunities in that part of the market. That was part of the rationale behind bringing MicroWarehouse on board. As Barro notes: “SMB is important to us. Not being invested in this side of the business is stupid. Ten small leads are as good as one large one. We can support every partner of every size but we need to identify them. It’s difficult if the partner comes to us with a deal and it’s not registered.” He adds that APC is keen to recruit “interesting partners – very often we will go to a partner, even if it’s small, because we think it’s interesting”. Barro stresses that APC wants “to create a trust relationship” with its partners.
For its part, MicroWarehouse expects many of its 500 reseller partners to be interested in shipping APC products into the enterprise and SMB markets in Ireland.