Channel Post speaks with Ahmed Qassem, Channel Sales Manager, Epson Middle East about his achievements in the IT industry and the role he plays in managing the channel.
What is your career history to date and key career achievements?
I come from a technical background and moved to sales in 1998. Before joining Epson Middle East in February 2010 as Channel Sales Manager, I was working with one of the large regional distributors as General Manager.
During these years I have been able to accomplish several achievements and key among them include building a loyal channel base, and planning and launching of Epson’s channel program in the region. I was instrumental in successfully introducing and developing the market for Eco tank printers in the retail segment, and also expanded the retail market for our Home Cinema projectors.
What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a channel influencer?
My role involves evaluating and appointing new channel partners and overseeing their on-boarding process. Besides being responsible for both first and second tier partners, I also take care of channel marketing, oversee channel training programs, develop the retail market as well as tracking sales and revenue targets. After-sales support also falls under my preview and if there are any issues, I make sure that they are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
What qualities should a channel influencer possess to lead the channel?
In my view a channel influencer must posses good relationship building skills, ability to achieve targets and should have comprehensive knowledge and a diverse network.
What is your advice on finding success in the channel?
A well-oiled channel can only be developed if you listen to your partners, and understand their requirements and challenges. Equipping channel with adequate training and supporting them in marketing will enable to keep the entire channel eco-system profitable, thereby creating a win-win situation for all.
What are the challenges facing the IT channel in this region?
As we operate in a big region, currency fluctuations in certain countries plays a big role in maintaining profitability in the business and at times it makes the initial pricing seem unrealistic. On other hand, credit facilities are no longer secured through insurance providers and the limits have been reduced to a minimal level thus resulting in credit squeeze in the market making sales difficult.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
I would urge channel partners to increase their level of communication within the channel community and also increase interaction with each other.
How can partners work effectively to generate growth in the channel?
Partners must ensure high quality customer engagement and after sales service for a sustainable business model that will help them grow. Trained and skilled manpower is the key for survival in technology business and investing in marketing always helps to expand your business. Last but not least, partners also need to invest in adopting latest technology to beef up their operations.