Belkin brings in G&K to rejuvenate its channel

Enlists the services of channel consultant Galal and Karawi to form the main crux of an orchestrated partner push in the Middle East

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By  Julian Pletts Published  November 10, 2008

Peripherals and accessories producer Belkin has enlisted the services of channel consultant Galal and Karawi to form the main crux of an orchestrated partner push in the Middle East region.

“We are quite keen on increasing our headcount and they [Galal and Karawi] are able to offer the services on the ground that we can’t offer ourselves,” explained Patrick Hayati, regional director at Belkin Middle East.

The role Belkin sees G&K fulfilling will be multifaceted and carefully constructed to ensure that the vendor gains the maximum retail exposure it can in such a competitive and commodity driven sector.

“What they are going to be doing is training the retailers and distributors. They will be working on our breadth and depth to help the distributors focus more on the top 20% of the accounts that bring in 80% of the business, and at the same time they will ensure that we have a bigger number of retailers that actually work with our products,” continued Hayati.

G&K, headed by Asem Galal and Samer Karawi — the later holding noteworthy experience from time spent as marketing manager at HP — will also add a couple of priorities to its to-do list: improving and maximising the efficiency of the vendor’s partner programmes and forging new markets for it in the Middle East.

“They are working with us in South Africa, in Saudi, UAE and Egypt and we are looking at having a broader presence in the market,” confirmed Hayati.

Belkin feels that the strategy to outsource the majority of its channel development to G&K will allow it to focus on growing its business and Hayati is confident that an aggressive expansion line is a must for the future.

“The investment is definitely worthwhile — although there is a worldwide economic slow down at the moment — we are still growing extremely fast in this part of the world,” asserted the regional director. “For the near future we don’t foresee, from our side, a slowdown which means that we can continue to sustain and increase the level of investment that we have in the region.”

This said it seems this growth will only be achievable for Belkin if the tie-up with G&K bears fruit, but the firm is cautious that such returns might not arrive in the first year of the partnership.

“The return on investment will obviously be very high,” said Hayati on the appointment. “It is difficult to quantify this in terms of percentage for the simple reason that we were not doing these activities before so when you start from zero it is difficult to quantify the first year, it is always the second year that is really telling. If you continue at the same level of growth then obviously it is quite good.”

Belkin however, hopes to see positive feedback regarding G&K’s work from its channel partners, and by the end of the next quarter. If this is the case this will galvanise the relationship between the pair.

As part of the overhaul of its channel Belkin has said that G&K will “start at the retail level and work their way back through the complete supply-chain network”.

ROI and percentage growth aside, the definitive motivation behind the signing of G&K, claims Hayati, is to make absolutely certain that the vendor is fully versed as to what its customers want and how they view its products.

“Once we understand how they [the end-user] perceive us, then and only then, can we start adjusting our strategy. Changing strategy without understanding what the end-user wants is like shooting in the dark,” concluded Hayati.

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