The changes involve certifying partners in Canada and Latin America to sell the Prophet 21 wholesale distribution solution.
ERP vendor Epicor has announced several updates to its channel program for the Americas, with the objectives both of increasing partner profitability and increasing the amount of business done through the channel.
“The channel is a priority for us, and the key to our growth,” said Sally Craig, senior director channel, Americas for Epicor. “We spent last year putting new programs in place that would help partners with development, and this year we are focused on enabling that execution.”
The amount of Epicor’s business done through the channel varies dramatically depending on the region. In Canada and Latin America, almost everything is sold through channel partners. In the U.S., its almost exactly the reverse, with the channel business being a little more than 10 per cent – and that’s up from last year.
Several of the changes are the culmination of initiatives that have been underway for many months
“We have been working on multiple initiatives to support the channel, and added more resources for channel development, to work with the channel at the field level, boost channel marketing efforts, and improve training,” Craig said.
Training changes include measures to improve delivery, with more scheduling options available online. They also include an expansion of channel certification of Epicor’s Prophet 21 wholesale distribution solution in Canada and Latin America.
“We are working through the final stages of the Prophet 21 certification now,” Craig said. “The goal is to have the same training as the direct team. Prophet 21 has been sold direct but we are looking to make the product more broadly available, and so we are enabling channel partners on it to expand our recruitment efforts. It’s a product that lends itself very well to the channel. Many of our partners are proficient with distribution, and sell competitive products in the mid-market space now.”
Another long-term initiative that is close to rolling out is a new global support program designed to Improve support delivery to both customers and partners.
“This new global support program will provide a more cohesive experience to both customers and the channel,” Craig said. “It has been underway five or six months, is now in the final stages of the rollout, and should be complete in the next 60-90 days. We have had a number of acquisitions, so moving to a common platform is important operationally. It will provide more commonality globally, and better handle case logs, and escalation if needed.”
Changes have also been made to improve alignment with Epicor Professional Services.
“We are working to better co-ordinate, and align the channel more closely with that organization,” Craig stated. “The idea is to deal with issues by communicating with each other, to see if the prospect would rather work with the channel or work with Epicor direct. We will make sure we have the right resource to provide the best delivery possible.”
Craig said that Epicor had engaged in some minor restructuring with its sales teams to make them a little more consolidated this year.
“They are working hand in hand with the channel to develop business plans together,” she stated.
Epicor is also planning to better publicize its Partner Advisory Council, which it launched last July to improve communication and collaboration with partners.
“A lot of the community may not know about it,” Craig said. “We met with the council last summer with a focus on the program changes we wanted to make, and made changes based on the feedback. We will meet again in April. It’s an important initiative for us.”
Finally, greater collaboration with Epicor’s marketing group is a priority this year.
“Part of our marketing group is dedicated to supporting the channel, and we work together at the field level to help them with various marketing activities,” Craig said. “Last year, we made some simplification and changes that made it easier to use MDF funds. That helps us to work closely with the channel to make sure marketing activities can be fully executed. It’s very much a team effort.”
Craig said that the company will be able to deliver on its commitment to the channel this year.
“We are excited about the year ahead,” she said. “We are committed to help partners grow their businesses, not just in the Americas, but globally.”