Renaissance has recently appointed a channel sales director – former Kyocera Mita national sales manager Brett Hjorth – and is seeking to beef up its tier two partner business.
The company is also on a drive to do business transparently with the channel by formalising a split between its direct and indirect businesses, its CEO says.
Hjorth has a team of 20 staff and CEO Richard Webb says the company sees a big opportunity to grow in the second tier retail and reseller space.
It currently has about 20 active retailers in this market and wants to grow that number to about 50, Webb says, adding this could include non-traditional outlets such as surf shops that want to sell iPods or stores that focus on digital music.
The company’s new structure means partners can offer more products, says Webb.
“Under the old siloed structure, resellers didn’t have access to all parts of the business. There are innovative resellers who could sell a more complete solution.”
In the two years since leaving Kyocera Mita, Hjorth has held a contracting role in Samsung’s IT division. Webb says the channel sales team’s strategy has been to “blitz” a particular region at a time with partner visits.
Hjorth says Renaissance wants to move away from a transactional approach to a more sales and collaborative approach with resellers. He and the team plan to spend the next quarter continuing to visit as many resellers as possible.
“It is pretty similar on the sales side to Kyocera. They had a dealer channel and it is about adding value to those people and ensuring we have the right product mix so they have a strong offering.”
Renaissance has identified between 300 and 400 resellers who could be at least twice the size they are, Webb says, adding there are others that will be smaller or will not exist in the long term.
The company wants to assess what resellers’ business models will look like in five years, with Webb saying some could become sales agents for larger partner companies.
“[A reseller could] become a market expert across the country, offering a much larger range of products, or they could be a strong regional player that could grow nationally, or become a sales agent for a bigger reseller and still monetise the client relationship.”
The sales divide
He says the aim of the company’s restructure was honesty and transparency, rather than “hiding behind separate brands”.
“The shareholders are best served if we own IP and client relationships, but that doesn’t mean we do that at the expense of relationships with resellers,” Webb says.
He adds there is now a definite split between the channel and direct business. The latter mainly comprises its old Red Education group, along with its online and retail businesses. The channel sales team is now all based at its Onehunga premises and the direct teams are in its city office. The direct and indirect sales teams don’t share information or sales pipelines, says Webb.
Renaissance wants to grow its team of product and technology specialists from 12 to 20, he says. There are currently four product or brand sales teams comprising three or four people, that work under chief distribution officer Bronwyn Sinclair, and he says this could be doubled.
Sinclair’s teams are looking for opportunities to capitalise on the emergence of mobile and PC operating systems. The company is also in discussions with home networking and automation vendors and specialists, says Webb.
Meanwhile, the company has progressed its rebranding initiatives. It says a new, recently-registered brand will only be applied to particular products and services in the short term.
The Renaissance company name “will be the last thing to change”, says Webb, adding that it will exist for another 12 months. The company will do away with its red ‘R’ logo.
An application for a trademark – Yoobee – was filed with the Intellectual Property Office last month, for proposed use in relation to goods and services.
Webb says products and services that carry the new mark will need to measure up to key deliverables, such as being supported by a 24/7 supply-chain model.
The company will test user responses to the products and services released under the brand to assess whether the link is maintained, he says. Resellers could also use the branding for products and services, he adds.