Kathy Gibson reporting from Amsterdam – Acer has made a commitment – coupled with major investments – to the commercial market, aiming to become a serious contender in the B2B environment.
As a historically channel-centric company, it has developed a partner strategy to help it make the move with the aid of its channel partners.

“Our channel strategy revolves around our need to serve both the B2B channel and the needs of our commercial customers,” says Jakob Olsen, vice-president: corporate division at Acer EMEA.
“The strategy is actually very simple: we are 100% channel; we do not go director and we never will go direct. This is something that the channel appreciates.”

He adds that the product line-up is in place to address the commercial market, targeting users across various B2B scenarios: managed enterprise products, managed IT products for medium and small companies; and non-managed IT products for Soho companies.

In addition, they cover a range of form factors from notebooks and ultrabooks to tablets, smartphones, desktops and workstations.

“Few companies have the same product line-up that we do,” Olsen says. “So I feel that we are strong on the product side.”

It’s the go-to-market that he believes will make the real difference, and help Acer to become a serious player in the commercial market.

“We are 100% direct and this means we are easy to get in touch with,” Olsen says. “We want resellers to understand the profitability of dealing with Acer. And we need resellers to know that they can really trust us – we do not have direct sales at all.”

The new Acer Synergy Partner Programme is simple to work with, he adds, and makes it easy for partners to do business with Acer while selling more products.

There are three levels to the programme: silver, gold and platinum. Resellers can select a specialisation area such as online sales or education.

“Resellers told us they want more than products; they want a demo programme,” Olsen says. “So we’ve done that. They want to understand when there are good offers, so we are rolling out the offer of the month, so every reseller knows what’s hot this month and what special offers are available.

“Resellers also need an easy way to do run-rate business, so we are setting up our Best4Business run rate selection programme to help with this. They have asked us to make it easy to do business with us, so we’re setting up rewards for smaller resellers and a simple one-page contract for larger resellers.

“We are working on our relationships, helping to bring business to our partners, through marketing and a deal management CRM system.”

As well as co-operative marketing, Olsen says Acer has also set up an Acer Synergy portal and will build Acer business corners in retail outlets across the region.

Service has always been a strong focus for Acer, and this will continue in the company’s commercial push. With centralised customer service, resellers can quickly get access to the information they need, while selling extended warranties is a further revenue opportunity for them.

In addition, partners can become authorised service partners, adding a new value proposition to their offerings.

“We are here to create growth for Acer in the B2B market,” Olsen says. “We have invested in the product, in the marketing and in the partner programme. Now we hope to give our resellers and customers just a little bit more – making it a bit easier, a bit more secure and a bit more reliable.”