Powerware/Eaton expands channel program to Canada

Following its acquisition of Poweware Canada last year, diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corp. has announced the expansion of its channel marketing program for its products and services to the Canadian market.

Called the Power Alliance Program, it replaces the five-year-old Power Partner

Program that ended in June, about the time Eaton bought Powerware Canada, renaming it Eaton Power Quality Ltd.

The Power Alliance program launched in the U.S. in 2001.

“”(The Power Partner Program) had outlived its usefulness and we needed to revamp it and come up with something new,”” said Rob Woolner, vice-president of Eaton Power Quality. “”That was the scheduled closure of the program.””

Pina Fiorillo, national channel manager at Eaton Power Quality, will head up the new program here.

“”It follows suit with regards to what the U.S. is doing with their reseller program. And, (we are) really launch it as a North America-wide program,”” said Fiorillo. “”This is why we’ve decided to move forward with this reseller program in Canada.””

Eaton Power Quality, which focuses on the Powerware brand of uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), operates in parallel with its parent corporation in the U.S., with 75 employees in Canada. Powerware products include AC and DC power systems, power management software, remote monitoring, turnkey integration services and site support and data and voice-over-IP. Eaton Power Quality distributes its products to resellers through Tech Data Canada, Ingram Micro and Synnex Canada.

Electrical channel included

Unlike the Power Partner Program that targeted traditional computer resellers, the new program will also be rolled out to Eaton’s electrical channel, which represents more than 50 per cent of its business in Canada.

“”It’s going to allow us the opportunity to work with the reseller in the electrical channel who typically is the contractor,”” said Woolner. “”The program is much more reseller-friendly than the smaller programs that we’ve had in the past.””

Tiered structure

Power Alliance is divided into two tiers — Level A and Level B. National resellers including former Powerware partners Softchoice, NexInnovations, Compugen and Insight as well as top regional resellers are automatically placed on the “”A”” list.

Woolner said Eaton is looking for partner loyalty from these firms. “”Just because they’re bringing in millions doesn’t mean they’re going to stay on the a list if we’re one of 14 manufacturers that they’re going with an open code policy to,”” said Woolner.

Benefits include MDF funds

One of the main benefits to top partners are market development funds, which resellers can use to market Powerware-branded products to their customer base. Resellers can earn up to two per cent of sales of Powerware products and services over a six-month period.

“”It’s one thing to say you can sell our product and make more margin but what do you bring to them as a value-add in actually doing the job?”” said Fiorillo.

“”We’re providing funding to them but it’s based on their sales. They have to provide something and we will be providing something as well.””

Nick Foster, vice-president of marketing at Toronto-based Softchoice Corp., which has been working with Powerware in the U.S. for several years, said the new program helps resellers get the message to the customer better rather than rewarding them for something they sold already.

“”As a marketing department we’re always excited about working with vendors to increase the visibility of their products with our customers and visibility in the marketplace,”” said Foster.

“”The old program was designed to drive mind-share and awareness of the reseller like us but not of the customer.””

Other benefits of the program include access to all Eaton’s Powerware uninteruptable power soucres up to 300 kVA, sales support, lead generation programs, training and incentive programs.

The program also offers salesweb — a Web-based portal with sales tools such as literature, multimedia sales tools, customizable mailers, presentations, competitive analysis of UPS product features and updated product and service offerings.

Eaton, which has 55,000 employees worldwide and has customers in more than 100 countries, reported US$8.1 billion in sales in 2003.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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