The new scheme will see Brother build support packages around its professional print product range that incorporates its business solutions and MPS offerings. Michelle Ryder spoke to Head of Reseller and Distribution Sales, Liam Fitzgerald, to find out more about the vendor’s plans to onboard more like-minded partners
“We are looking to broaden our scope of partners and onboard new like-minded partners capable of taking our wide product range to market,” Fitzgerald explained. Citing MSPs as an example, Fitzgerald said that many who are currently delivering managed service contracts are passing print opportunities by.
Brother MPS is sold exclusively through its channel partners. The company provides support throughout the pre- and post-sale process to enable non-print specialist partners to provide customers with a managed print service without the need to invest in infrastructure to manage these agreements.
“Brother is a 100 per cent channel-centric business, and we work with partners to help them develop new MPS sales opportunities. Partners can pass print prospects over to us, we can progress it on their behalf then pass it back to them to close, or alternatively, they can choose to outsource the entire MPS engagement to us,” Fitzgerald said. “We have got a team that includes pre-technical sales people, bid managers, project managers and service delivery managers, all there ready waiting for channel partners to come to us with opportunities that we can help them win.”
New partner categories
Fitzgerald said that the new programme has also been designed to reward partners that are already committed to Brother and will provide enhanced commercial incentives and benefits. The new scheme replaces the legacy partner programme which categorised partners under reseller, gold and platinum tiers, primarily based on sales volumes.
“We’re moving away from that model,” Fitzgerald explained, adding: “Instead we’ve introduced new tiers.
So for example, our copier dealer partners are now categorised as MPS business partners while VARs will fall under the new solution business partner category.” Other categories include business partners, reserved for traditional office supplies dealers; technology partners who are largely managed by Brother’s internal telesales function; and focus partners, new partners that Brother is looking to nurture and build business with.”
Brother is looking to boost sales across all its product areas – mobile products, scanner products and labelling products. The programme provides a clear path for progression that’s not wholly based on revenue and offers improved incentives for partners selling the firm’s MPS offering. “We are very transparent with the criteria and there is clear progression for partners to move up the tiers. Many partners are aligned to our solutions focus and other product areas, and are committed to working with us on campaigns, we want to support them in that,” he added.
Resellers delivering high volume MPS contracts – falling under the solution business partner and business partner categories, will receive increased rewards along with access to exclusive products. Technology partners and focus partners will continue to benefit from monthly promotions and dedicated account management. They will also have access to a range of sales and marketing tools available via online partner portal BrotherZone.
One of Brother’s goals is to work closely with partners who traditionally conduct transactional business to get them signed up to its MPS programme. “Demand for MPS will continue to grow and we are absolutely looking to increase our MPS business, and as such are continually adding new services and software partners to our portfolio,” Fitzgerald explained. Most recently, Brother announced a global partnership with Kofax, providing an embedded solution on selected laser printers, multifunction devices and inkjet models. The company is currently rolling that out to its MPS and solutions business partners.
Fitzgerald said feedback from partners on the new programme has been positive. “We have a portfolio that delivers a printing solution for all environments – in the office and out of the office, and we’ve looked at our programme and improved it. We haven’t changed our approach, the new partner programme places us firmly at the side of our partners, providing enhanced incentives and sales and marketing assets to help them succeed in the face of an evolving market landscape with customer needs that are changing rapidly.
“We’re focused on growing ourselves by growing others, so if our partners are successful, then so are we. As a channel-centric vendor, we want to give our partners the backing they need to help each of us prosper,” he concluded.