Through its Key Partner Programme, Olivetti is well placed to demonstrate its loyalty to authorised dealers and give something back to partners for their continued business.
“Dealers know that in a competitive marketplace their customers find it easy to switch from one supplier to another because their customers’ first priority, these days, is to find the best price,” said Dave Goswell, Managing Director of the newly established Olivetti Agency. “This has a knock-on effect for the dealer. We realise that a dealer needs a good price, too, but by providing our partners with more than that, we’re actually giving them a competitive edge.”
The Key Partner Programme was developed for Olivetti 12 years ago by its UK subsidiary and has formed the bedrock of the company’s dealer programmes throughout Europe ever since. It was initially designed to be a simple rebate programme, which allowed Olivetti dealers to earn a flat-rate rebate on Olivetti purchases.
“Most dealers at this time were very similar in terms of their levels of activity, so business remained fairly constant, but some would regularly perform well and they found the benefits of the programme really useful,” said Goswell.
As the company’s colour MFP business began to increase around 2005, so too did the number of larger dealers that wanted to work with Olivetti. At that point, Olivetti made the decision to create three simple Leagues: Platinum, for those with a potential to earn more; Key Partner, which covered the majority of Olivetti dealers; and Partner, for smaller or less active dealers.
This model introduced a level of competition among dealers and enabled Olivetti to offer greater and more farreaching benefits, such as regular monthly promotions on specific products, tailored marketing support and dedicated account management. There was also fierce competition to win a place on the annual dealer trip for the top performing dealers, regular sporting activities and hospitality events with places awarded to those who achieved set targets.
Today, Olivetti has a total of 120 dealers of differing size and capability, 80 of which are very active. The programme now consists of five Leagues with a wide range of annual targets and rebates that dealers sign up to every year. Membership of The Elite League, for dealers with very high potential for growth, is based on a dealer’s projected level of business and commitment to achieve high targets. The Platinum League is still for high achievers but for those that are not quite as big as some of the Elite companies. There is also now a Premier League above the Key Partner and Partner Leagues. All the Leagues have a sliding scale of rebate, so dealers can earn more as they achieve more.
Olivetti circulates a Monthly League Table for each League, with a certificate awarded to the dealer of the month. The League Tables show the movement of the dealers each month, so it’s possible to see who has moved up or down.
Dealers who sign up to the Key Partner Programme are able to use an official Authorised Partner logo in their marketing communications, demonstrating their status as an accredited partner.
“This was an initiative introduced to support authorised Olivetti dealers who were pitching against others claiming to be official authorised dealers but who actually weren’t,” explained Goswell. “Since launch we’ve reduced the number of instances of third parties trying to undercut on pricing and claiming to be able to sell new Olivetti products.”
He added: “We want our partners to feel valued and the Programme helps us to do that. Actions speak louder than words and the Key Partner Programme has always delivered excellent benefits for those who are part of it.”
Olivetti has confirmed that it is planning to introduce a new Support and Communications System that will be available exclusively to authorised dealers. The system will feature a knowledge base designed to provide authorised engineers with access to the information they need on their laptop, tablet or smartphone.
The new system will ensure that authorised engineers are only a few clicks away from accessing vital firmware, fixes and drivers while in the field. Through a powerful search engine, they will have instant access to Olivetti’s support forum and manuals and, via the Technical Hotline, to a dedicated team of people ready to take their call.
Once fully operational, Olivetti says that the site will become a focal point for dealers to place and keep an eye on the status of all orders.