P. Krishnakumar
Executive Director & General Manager, Consumer & Small Business,
Dell India

Dell is all geared up to grab the first opportunity that comes its way this festive season.  P. Krishnakumar, Executive Director & GM, Consumer & Small Business, Dell India, recounts how by acting on the market feedback given by its Channel, Dell was quick to realign its market strategy and feel the pulse of its consumers

When it comes to its customers, Dell asks its channel partners to follow a simple strategy – to be clear on the value proposition to be given to the customers, irrespective of the region and product line they are serving. Having worked closely all these years, Dell has come to enjoy a healthy relationship with its channel community. It boastfully announces of how instrumental the channel has been in helping Dell clinch the # 1 position in the PC space as per IDC and maintain it for the past two quarters.

“Starting from Q1 2013 to Q2 2014, our shares have been going up consistently and the part of this success is owed to our partners. Our channel is passionate about our brand and they give active feedback from time to time on our latest products and the kind of customer offers we should be introducing in the market. We, on our part, act on this feedback and this helps mutually both of us grow our market standing,” cites P. Krishnakumar, Executive Director & General Manager, Consumer & Small Business, Dell India. Based on this feedback from partners, for the first time it ran a very strong programme “Back to College” sometime in June for end-consumers, which was a huge success.

However, to keep this momentum going, Dell has taken up many initiatives, right from categorizing its products for both end-consumers and small business segment to developing special programmes catering to both these sets of customers. “We are currently running a campaign – Halla Bol targeted at dealers across the country. Sales and leadership team from Dell would be visiting 50 cities in 18 states and touch close-to 2,500 partners in 1,800 retail outlets across India. Every city would have 2–3 representatives from Dell," explains Krishnakumar. The programme strives to empower partners with additional sales support to maximize their profitability and ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. As part of the campaign, each team will visit select retailers and educate them about the current Dell offerings, as well as share informative collaterals, in the form of banners, standees, posters, leaflets and product catalogues. They will also garner feedback from the retail staff about their experience and ideas around the festive season.

While Halla Bol will cover tier-I, -II, -III and -IV cities, tier-V cities will remain a big focus area for Dell. "We are present today in 1,000+ cities, where we have direct contacts with channel partners. But it is noticed that there has been a significant increase on search of Dell products on our websites and this demand is coming from tier-V cities. We strongly believe that next PC users will come from these markets. Also, a recent study by KPMG shows that penetration of PC in tier-IV & -V is relatively lower than tier-I & II. So we are going to focus on these untapped markets now by expanding the Dell exclusive stores," shares Krishnakumar.

The idea is to give a touch-&-feel experience to the customers, educate them on its exclusive range of products and influence their purchase decision. From 250 stores present today, it aims at opening close-to 400 stores by the end of January 2015. "We have aggressive growth plans. The biggest challenge in the channel today is the pricing. They also want attractive schemes, have the products available at strategic locations and, get the scheme payment settled fast and encourage strong after-sales service. As a channel-friendly brand, we have priced our products in a manner that whichever route customers choose to buy these products, the price will remain the same. Also, Dell has the fastest settlement of schemes in the market and we have added more service points where we can give customers option," he explains.

Last year, Dell created a small team to handle its Small Business (SB) segment, which primarily focussed on Vostro notebooks. It has a dedicated 500 partners specifically for these lines of products. Similar to its retail customers, Dell introduced end purchase schemes for small businesses. It had trained more than 700 sales representatives from the companies of the channel partners across 18 cities, not on Dell products but on how to understand customer requirements and be a better salesman.

samrita@varindia.com

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