Panasonic's New Partner Program Affords Resellers New Services, More Support9:00 AM EST Thu. Oct. 18, 2012
Panasonic on Thursday unveiled a new partner program it says will arm VARs with a more dedicated team of channel resources, along with greater visibility and access to the company's sprawling portfolio of products.
The new program, called the Panasonic Authorized Reseller Program, was announced at Panasonic's Solutions Partner Summit 2012, taking place this week in Phoenix, Ariz. The program will be rolled out over the coming months and will replace the nine, product-specific partner programs that were previously in place.
Sheila O’Neil, vice president of channel management at Panasonic System Communications Company, the new B2B solutions unit Panasonic rolled out in April, said this consolidation of programs will not only make for an overall more consistent and simple partner program, but will provide VARs with visibility into other Panasonic product groups from which they could be generating sales.
"You could say it's an all-in-one handbook where it's all under one program and where [partners will] be able to actually pull it all together. They'll be able to view all of it. ... We're looking for simplification and unification," O'Neil told CRN. "It's not necessarily always been easy to find the information about one program for a product group versus the other. So now, it's all under one comprehensive program."
Bill Brennan, senior director of channel sales at Panasonic System Communications Company, said the new Panasonic Authorized Reseller Program is aligned with today's tech industry, where devices are becoming more and more interconnected through the digital world and IP networking. The program's goal is to encourage this broader line of thinking among Panasonic partners, encouraging them to grow their businesses by embracing new categories of products.
"When we talk about the breadth of product, it sounds almost overwhelming. But, that's the other mission today is to work with our reseller partners and make them understand that the digital world has really made this an IP offering," Brennan said. "It's really simplified the business. The way we connect products, the way we get products to work is becoming very similar across categories, ... so it's very important that we take a lot of our loyal dealers and reduce their fear and apprehension about getting into these new categories."
NEXT: Panasonic Offers New Bundled Services For VARs
Meanwhile, Panasonic is rolling out new bundled services offerings, including those related to security and surveillance and AV installations, to help VARs grow their own services portfolio. For smaller VARs, Panasonic's Brennan said the company will even handle the delivery of these services on the VAR's behalf, while the VAR still reels in the gross profit from the sale.
"I, once being a reseller in Chicago ... had many customers that were national, and it was extremely cumbersome to try to figure out how to service them on a national basis," Brennan said. "Our dealers can tap into our resources to be able to do that and talk to a customer in Chicago ... about fulfilling their needs in Washington D.C., for example, all through Panasonic."
Panasonic, which has grown its channel support organization by approximately 20 percent over the past year, is also announcing this week a new North America Partner Portal, which will serve as a one-stop-shop for partners to access information across Panasonic's entire product portfolio.
Additionally, a new tiered system is being rolled out through which partners can qualify for either Gold, Silver, or Bronze partner status and receive different rewards, such as advantage pricing and discounts on demo programs, depending on their status.
"We want to reward the top performers with our end-user community and let them know and brand themselves at those different medal levels," Panasonic's O'Neil said.
PUBLISHED OCT. 18, 2012