Sennheiser, best known for its premium consumer products, already has a strong distribution network in Canada, but adds two more distributors to generate more opportunities and stimulate even greater awareness of its presence in the commercial space.
German-based Sennheiser, which makes premium headset solutions, has signed two separate deals to expand its distribution network in Canada. Nationally, their contact center and office (CC&0) division has signed an agreement with Tech Data Canada to make its wireless, DECT and wired unified communications headsets available to their solution providers. They have also moved to expand their Quebec presence through a new agreement with Run distribution.
Sennheiser already had a strong distribution network in Canada. The two new deals supplement existing relationships with Ingram Micro, and SYNNEX nationally, Bell Aliant in Atlantic Canada, and some niche distributors who focus on headsets. They see value in adding more distribution feet on the street however, because of a perceived need to build their brand perception in the commercial space.
“Our challenge over the past few years is that we have been less well known than our competitors like Plantronics and Jabra,” said Michael Wyman, national sales manager, telecommunications, Sennheiser Canada. “We are well known in the consumer space for our premium offerings. However, even though many commercial customers know our pedigree, they didn’t know we had commercial products.”
Wyman said that adding Tech Data opens up new opportunities for Sennheiser – and for Tech Data.
“Tech Data is very strong in the Cisco, Avaya and Shoretel space,” Wyman said, “Historically, however, they never sold headsets. Working with us will remove the possibility that their resellers, when going to another distributor for headsets, might wind up taking the whole deal to Tech Data’s competitor. Resellers want a one-stop shop, and now they have this at Tech Data.”
The same process benefits Sennheiser.
“If the reseller was going somewhere else to get their headsets, they could well have got something from Plantronics or Jabra,” Wyman said. “This will help us get more market share.”
The company’s second new distribution deal, with Run Distribution, has even clearer goals. In Run Distribution, Sennheiser has a new distribution partner that is a specialist in telephony, and in the Quebec market.
“The appointment of Run is not to put them out there as just another distributor. We want them specifically for their presence in Quebec,” Wyman said. “Ninety nine per cent of their business is in Quebec, and we don’t have much coverage there.”
Wyman said they were also attracted to Run because it is one of two distributors of Yealink IP telephony products, with which he feels Sennheiser headsets are a good fit.
Wyman said that Sennheiser positions itself as offering the best quality sound.
“We are able to deliver a premium sound experience using less expensive materials, even with our entry level headsets,” he said. “People appreciate the acoustic quality of our products and the two and three year warranties we offer. We have strong alliances with Cisco, Avaya, Shoretel and Microsoft and work closely with those partners.”
Wyman said that resellers can use Sennheiser to provide differentiation.
“There could be three or four resellers on a deal quoting Avaya’s IP Office, and if you are the only one quoting Sennheiser, you will stand out from the crowd by offering a premium quality alternative,” he said.
Sennheiser’s product line consists of a variety of noise-canceling models for contact centre and office environments, including both desktop and mobile units. These include the new D 10 Series, the SD wireless, Century, Circle, Culture, MB and PRESENCE headsets, as well as Sennheiser’s new SP 10 and SP 20 speakerphones for unified communications. All of these are compatible with Skype for Business, the new rebranding of Microsoft Lync.
“We are taking market share on a weekly basis,” Wyman said. “People now know there are three major players in the commercial space.”
The distribution appointments come as Sennheiser rolls out a new model for its channel in North America, one that sees the vendor getting a lot more involved. Wyman said that until this year, the company “used to leave it tot he channel to do the selling,” but didn’t like that “we weren’t in control of our business.” Starting this year, the company is working more closely with resellers to identify deals and to do “buddy appointment” sales calls, and the introduction of a new sample program for solution providers.
“We go and get the business ourselves, close the business, and then put it through distribution with the resellers we work closely with,” Wyman said.
With files from Robert Dutt.