Sennheiser adds a distributor with focus on the communications space, after trimming its distribution channel by about half a year ago.
German-based premium audio solutions vendor Sennheiser has expanded the Canadian distribution for its Enterprise Solutions unit by adding Westcon-Comstor to its distribution ranks. The deal will make their entire Enterprise Solutions portfolio available to the Westcon-Comstor channel.
The Westcon-Comstor relationship comes on the heels of two significant restructurings of Sennheiser’s North American business. The first was a reduction in the number of distributors. Sennheiser used to have all three broadliners on board, as well as a broad array of local and niche distributors and dealers in both Canada and the U.S.
“We cut back about a year ago on our distribution channel,” said Doug Bowersox, Sennheiser’s Product Manager. “We sliced it in half, and also eliminated most of our direct dealers. In Canada, we now have just Synnex, Ingram Micro, and now Westcon-Comstor.”
Bowersox said the reduction of overdistribution has allowed them to make their product line more attractive to resellers.
“We are now much more effective at controlling prices and combatting Internet pirates, which means that resellers can one again find value in selling our products,” he said. “In the past, resellers would just send customers online to get the headsets.”
The other major change, within the last two months, saw Sennheisher expand its CCNO [Call Center and Office Headsets] group by adding the Conference Room Solutions group to it, rebranding it all as Enterprise Solutions. It now sells a fuller array of both small and large conferencing and collaboration solutions.
“The Conference Room solutions were in an entirely different division – Systems Integration – and wireless microphones and meeting room solutions were in that mix,” Bowersox said. “We increasingly found that CCNO was touching the same people the conferencing solutions went well with, so it made sense to merge the same divisions. Now we no longer have to call in the other division, and all the reps are capable of selling, installing and promoting both.”
Bowersox said that adding Westcon-Comstor adds value because of their focus on unified communications as one of their core specializations.
“What we hope to get is a unique mix of not only the feet on the street around the traditional telecom partners, but also some hosted providers coming onto the mix, and some AV resellers as well,” he said.
The deal covers Sennheiser’s full line of unified communications solutions, including the PRESENCE mobile headset, Culture headsets, the D 10 Series, and the SD wireless, Century, Circle, and MB Series solutions. It will also encompass Sennheiser’s recently-launched models, the MB 660 series of high-end UC-certified headsets with adaptive active noise cancellation, and the SP 220 portable audio conferencing system accommodating up to 12 users per call. The TeamConnect Wireless speakerphone systems and the SP 10 and SP 20 speakerphones, will also be available.
“The portfolio before the expansion two months ago had a speakerphone, but it was really limited to 8 users per call, Bowersox said. “Now we can go up to 30 and beyond.”
While Sennheiser is one of the three big headset vendors, the other two – Plantronics and Jabra – are larger in North America. Bowersox said that the Enterprise Solutions strategy is a key part of changing that.
“Our competitors have done a fine job entrenching themselves, and they do have more name recognition than us,” he stated. “Our job in North America is to influence that decision. We are the fastest growing headset company in the world.”