ViewSonic Digs A Channel

Executives of Walnut, Calif.-based ViewSonic said they will roll out the ViewSonic Pass program this week, and that it was structured according to feedback from channel partners.

"There is no question this will help," said Jordan Malkin, operations manager at MicroStandard, a Redmond, Wash.-based solution provider and ViewSonic partner.

Malkin was one of several solution providers on ViewSonic's channel advisory panel who gave the company suggestions on how to make its marketing strategy more effective.

"It looks like they've got their product and marketing ducks in a row and are making sure they are ready to maintain and support the channel," Malkin said.

Sponsored post

Among other initiatives, the new ViewSonic Pass program includes flexible flooring, which provides channel partners with a gateway to financing companies working with ViewSonic, and 60-day financing on certain ViewSonic products bought through distribution, company executives said. In many cases, this plan will extend terms for solution providers from the 30-day financing now available.

Other features of the program include growth-incentive rebates to provide back-end financial incentives to solution providers that increase their ViewSonic sales; ViewSonic said this will amount to discounts of up to 4 percent on qualifying sales. Partners are also being offered additional incentives for end-user sales calls; online product evaluations to speed delivery of demo products; and a free Recycle Plus service on products with four- and five-year extended warranties.

Malkin said he believes the program enhancements offered by ViewSonic will add sell-through incentives because of the back-end nature of the rebates.

"What it's going to do is lower the [distributor's] cost, and it creates some budgets for advertising on the back end that's going to be very supportive of solution providers. They are moving into the mainstream of channel programs this way," he said.

Jeff Volpe, ViewSonic's vice president of marketing, said the company wants to continue to enhance its channel programs to keep up with the changing needs of solution providers. Volpe said feedback from the company's channel advisory council over several months led to the program upgrade.

"We wanted to verify with them that we were changing our program along with the changing needs of the solution providers," he said.

ViewSonic is adding to its channel offerings at a time when executives at rival Dell, Round Rock, Texas, have promised to continue their practice of aggressive pricing up and down Dell's product line, and also as Acer, San Jose, Calif., remains price competitive. ViewSonic executives and channel partners said they believe that helping solution providers maintain relationships with end-user customers will work to counteract hyper-aggressive pricing by other vendors.

"If Dell is best at providing a low-cost solution, this is our competitive edge," Volpe said. "That gives us a unique position in the market. We are display-focused. We have a great breadth of product."

ViewSonic also has added an unspecified number of personnel to its support operations to extend its capabilities as it provides partners with 24x7 online and telephone support, he said.

Steve Shark, vice president of sales and marketing for DakTech Computers, a Fargo, N.D., system builder, said the new channel program sets ViewSonic apart from the rest of the pack. "There hasn't been a lot of differentiation in channel programs among monitor makers until now," he said. "This is a huge step up."

Shark predicted that the new channel program, along with aggressive pricing and channel rep support, will help him take in more than $1 million in ViewSonic monitor sales this year, up from $200,000 in 2005.

Shark said hands-on assistance from a ViewSonic channel rep is helping him beat rival Dell in more deals this year. A year ago, he was beating Dell 30 percent of the time on special bids, but now he is seeing a 50 percent win rate, he said.

Shark said he started shifting more monitor sales to the ViewSonic line several months ago specifically because of the support he's received from the vendor's channel rep, as well as the monitor maker's aggressive pricing.

"ViewSonic is providing us with a lot of programs that are making a difference," Shark said. "The rebate level is significant, and the MDF availability is huge."

STEVEN BURKE contributed to this story.