Samsung steps up channel activity with new program

Richard Hutton, director of channel marketing at Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division

Richard Hutton, director of channel marketing at Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division

Already a market leader in consumer electronics and mobile solutions, Samsung Electronics America is looking to expand its market presence by making it easier for solution providers to source product and support through its new “Samsung Team of Empowered Partners” (STEP) program.

STEP is the cornerstone of a global effort by Samsung to consolidate resources and simplify accessibility for partners. Currently, Samsung’s channel efforts is divided by regions and product lines. By consolidating, Samsung is making a concerted effort to bring more partners into and expose more opportunities to channel partners.

“Samsung leads the global IT industry by not only developing innovative products and solutions, but also investing in programs, like STEP, that are essential to creating shared success with our partners,” said Richard Hutton, director of channel marketing at Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division.

In some regards, Samsung’s new channel effort could be called a “channelification” of the company. Samsung does much of its business through partners, but in a fractured way. STEP and its complementary support programs are designed to not just simplify and expand support, but make Samsung more approachable.

The first step, Hutton told Channelnomics, is rolling out STEP to its 13,000 partners in North America, with priority given to the top resellers. In the second half of 2014, Samsung will work on expanding its channel by launching a recruitment campaign. In 2015, Samsung will return to the channel program, providing greater clarity to partners on product and services opportunities.

Depending on levels in the program, solution providers will receive varying degrees of technical support, marketing materials, sales engagement and training. Samsung will likely provide roadmaps and third-party vendor support for designing and deploying complex business solutions based on its products.

“We are focused solely on a channel sales approach and continuously look for ways to improve our channel offerings by identifying new tools, technical expertise and marketing strategies to help our partners elevate their businesses competencies,” Hutton said.

Samsung’s desire to build out its channel and drive more indirect sales puts it on a collision course with companies such as Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo, which are all leaning on their channels to drive growth. Samsung’s advantage is brand leadership in smartphones and tablets, as well as a strong presence in ultrabooks.

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