Panasonic Restructures, Arms VARs With End-To-End Solutions For Vertical Markets


Kelly Bousman, senior vice president of marketing at Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider and Panasonic partner AVI-SPL, agreed that a greater focus on the solution -- rather than the individual product -- poises Panasonic to be a one-stop-shop for fully meeting the needs of end users, particularly within vertical markets.

"The idea is that when you focus on the total solution, regardless of what the pieces of that solution would be, you are more likely to meet that customer need, rather than trying to say 'Does this product suite solve your problem?'" Bousman said.

Apart from equipping its roughly 1,200 North America partners with more holistic solutions, Panasonic is building a larger pool of in-house channel resources, said Bill Brennan, national sales manager and head of channel programs at Panasonic.

Panasonic employs a number of what it calls Partner Sales Managers (PSMs), which are called upon by resellers to answer any product-related questions and, more frequently, to help close deals. Over the past year, Brennan explained, the company has grown the number of PSMs to 64 – nearly five times greater than it was a year ago.

Brennan, who at one time was a Panasonic reseller, also noted that consolidating the company’s business units into market- rather than product-focused segments makes it easier for partners to hunt down the resources they need. Instead of having a unique contact for each individual product being re-sold, partners can now call one dedicated advisor.

"I was a Panasonic reseller and there were challenges at times when you would have to call various departments, because I had a breadth of Panasonic products," Brennan told CRN. "It was calling different companies basically for the support. Now, the real advantage is one contact that can make things happen for you across various product categories. It’s just a phone call away."

Bousman agreed. "Whereas before, we may have had to go 'oh let’s go to this division, and piece it together from this division'… it’s now solutions-focused rather than product-focused, which is perfectly aligned with us," she said.