Developing new opportunities

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Hand Held Products enterprising approach to partnership and new business: an interview with Jamie Dickinson (below right), Hand Held Products UK, Enterprise sales manager.


Each company has its own route to market and its own way of developing end user opportunities. Hand Held Products is a leading global force in the development and provision of image-based data capture solutions, and has devised its own innovative channel approach. We talked to Jamie Dickinson, one of the companys Enterprise sales managers, about how Hand Held Products works with its network of channel partners to develop and clinch new contracts. Dickinson is a member of the UK section of the companys European Enterprise team, which is continuing to grow rapidly and has recorded some high profile successes.

Q: What is the main route to market for Hand Held Products?

A: We have adopted a unique approach. Hand Held Products is a channel centric company. This means that all of our products are supplied to market through our extensive UK network of channel partners.

All of our partners fall into one of two channel groups. Firstly, we have a range of distributors, who in turn supply our value added resellers. Secondly, we have appointed a number of Power Partners. These are organisations that typically offer a complete solution, encompassing hardware, software and related services. Our Power Partners deal directly with our end users.

Q: I believe you have an Enterprise team. Where does this fit into the picture?

A: For some time, it has been obvious that larger organisationsparticularly those in vertical sectors such as retail and logisticsare more comfortable if they can have direct contact with the manufacturer of the product they have purchased or are evaluating.

Hand Held Products has therefore developed its own Enterprise team. Our main role involves looking after the larger organisations within our vertical markets. We are committed to working closely with them on specific projects, as this enables us to have a greater understanding of their business, which in turn enables us to be more responsive to their particular needs. Then at the right time, we will introduce them to a Power Partner or reseller/distributor who can help them to fulfil the needs of that project.

Q: So can you explain a little about the relationship between your team and your channel partners?

A: Once a project has been identified, we will evaluate the most appropriate route to market, and will engage the services of our channel partners in helping us to meet the requirements of the project. This means that they will typically be adding value to the project at that pointwhether this involves staging products, software or technical support.

Q: What type of support does the team provide for the channel? For instance, perhaps you could describe such activities as marketing, lead generation, and practical/technical support.

A: The Enterprise team brings significant benefits to the channel in various ways. For instance, we are able to give specific support to a channel partner if they are involved in a major opportunity. However, in most cases, the Enterprise team is directly involved in working on the larger opportunities in the marketplace. Channel partners still stand to benefit from these opportunities. Unlike the approach taken by many of our competitorswhere their partners take the order themselvesour partners have the support of the Enterprise teams direct involvement with the opportunity.

As we all know, a significant amount of resources are needed to service the largest opportunities effectively. Our approach brings additional benefits here. Hand Held Products puts a considerable investment into each opportunity in terms of equipment and time. This means that our channel partners are able to win contracts that they might be unable to win without that support.

Please note that all of the opportunities we negotiate are passed back through the channel. This underlines the fact that we are not expecting our channel to do all the work for usin taking our solutions to market, our structure works both ways. The more opportunities that the Enterprise team converts and passes back through the channel, the stronger our channel becomes.

Q: If possible, could you give us any examples that illustrate the spectrum of the Enterprise teams work?

A: One recent example of this involves my colleague, Alasdair Chambers. He has won a major contract with an important and well known retail outlet: SpecSavers. The opportunity was negotiated by the Enterprise team from the start. Once Hand Held Products had won the business, the opportunity was passed to a distributor who worked with their integrator to deliver a solution to SpecSavers.

Q: Can you tell us about any new activities that we can expect to see from the Enterprise team in the near future?

A: The good news is that we are really very busy, and we are winning a great deal of business due to a combination of factors. These include the growing reputation of our products and our specifically targeted marketing campaigns. I am confident that the Enterprise team will continue to growand we will continue to strengthen our channel and enhance our companys future success.

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