Lead generation

Relying on existing customers is all well and good, but there comes a time when resellers need to find new opportunities. That task can be a gruelling process, involving clear communication between the reseller's own business development team and the brands that it represents. Channel Middle East asks vendors to outline the importance of a strong lead generation policy and explain the procedures they have in place to assist Middle East resellers in their quest for new business.

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By  Dawinderpal Sahota Published  September 19, 2007

They are: Darren Menezes (DM), marketing manager Middle East at Sage; Quentin Cornelius (QC), director, EMEA channel sales at CA; Jenice Bhatia (JB), channel account manager Middle East at Trend Micro; Samir Achour (SA), channel manager Middle East at EMC; Mohamad Abdul-Malak (MA), managing director MEA at Juniper; Bernhard Braunegger (BB), marketing and alliances director at SAP Arabia; and Fady Iskander (FI), channel manager Middle East at Citrix.

What role does lead generation play in your efforts to foster a successful relationship with channel partners?

DM: I think it's extremely important because we're a company that offers solutions. The sales cycle could take six months and upwards. What that means is the partner invests a significant amount of time and effort, from the time a prospect comes to us and tells us they're looking for a solution to the time they decide upon a vendor. So our own role in generating a lead is making sure it's correctly qualified, and that's extremely important because of the amount of time and money the partner puts into the whole sales cycle.

We look at the skill level of the partner and the workload they have presently; how many projects do they have on hand, how well can they keep the prospect happy during the sales cycle?

BB: The overall purpose of strategic lead generation is the creation of sustainable competitive advantage. Only joint success in the marketplace can ensure a strong relationship with our channel partners.

QC: Lead generation is critical to successful partner relationships. Our partners expect CA to provide them with lead generation tools in addition to the tools we provide for training, certification and enablement.

SA: In general we use our lead generation tool to motivate our partners and increase the level of trust between EMC and partners. It serves as a learning and development exercise for our partners because the object is to develop them and make them at the same level that we are. We want them to generate leads for themselves as well and this will help their growth and increase their volume of business.

MA: The development of a successful business partnership is the key fundamental of the Juniper Networks partner programme. Thus a profitable lead generation model certainly helps sustain this partnership.

What structure and systems do you have in place to generate leads for channel partners in the region?

FI: We segment the leads into three levels. We have mass events for mass leads, when we target every IT professional in order to generate some interest in Citrix. The second layer is what we call the ‘semi-targeted', when we target those who are more specialised in things like application delivery, security or application optimisation. The tip of the pyramid is the ‘C'-level leads - the CIOs and CEOs; the decision makers. For every one of them we have different types of scenarios, which we address with them.

JB: We do online campaigns, e-marketing campaigns, web marketing, online advertisements and we send forms out to customers to find out their needs. Most of the time we do these activities ourselves, but sometimes we do it with a partner as well, and these activities are mostly focused to some vertical segments or at certain countries. Once the details from leads are collected, we contact them - we have a contract with a telemarketing agency here as well -find out how hot the lead is and then we qualify them. And when these leads are qualified they go into the partner portal for partners to get the lead that we pass to them.

MA: Depending on the core objective of a particular campaign, specific solutions and target audience, we will use different methods. Due to the breadth of our products a one-size-fits-all approach would not provide a competitive advantage for our partners or customers. In every aspect of our channel programme and marketing, Juniper prefers to be flexible to ensure optimised results.

BB: Being the global CRM market leader, we are benefiting from our own system and many years of experience. From our solid marketing planning process, campaign scorecard and lead calculator to final execution and review, we have a clearly defined concept of our lead generation process.

SA: We use our marketing team and the most efficient tool that we find working well in the Middle East is just face to face contact. Of course we have a number of different methods, but when you meet end-users then things progress. When we go into different countries, we invite end-users - prospective customers - because this increases their awareness of EMC. When we do roadshows it gives us a chance to meet with customers directly and to give targeted seminars to specific industries. This is the most efficient tool for lead generation.

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