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54 SMT Magazine • March 2016 on offer, or where in the world it is, the chain can be broken down into four steps: • Marketing • Lead Generation • Lead Conversion • Operations When it comes to marketing, it tends to be OEMs that set the direction. The target cli- ent group will be dictated by the nature of the equipment, its capability and price point (or in case of materials makers, the type and applica- tion). What a channel partner needs to show is a systematic and consistent means of lead- generating among those target clients. Larger OEMs may also be concerned with areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) so channel partners will need to prove their credentials in terms of environmental and em- ployment policies. For partnerships to work, both sides must have faith that what is promised is what will be delivered. Channel partners need confidence in the security of supply and pricing structures and OEMs need to value channel partners' lo- cally established personal customer relation- ships. A workable sales strategy and timely tar- gets are essential for a mutually beneficial and professional relationship to develop and thrive. A means of sharing KPIs and project details via a CRM or some other form of integrated da- tabase and sales ordering platform helps pro- vide consistent, accurate communication. Performance is the watchword at a technical level: OEMs must provide the technical, logistical and administrative support for channel partners to physically deliver, commission and train op- erators, deliver customer service, and handle war- ranty events. The product needs to do what has been promised, and to do it on time, every time. Finally, ignore the respective legal responsi- bilities of a partnership at your peril. You should fully understand: • The legal structure of the entity you are engaging with and its creditworthiness • The fail-over plans in the case of business interruption • Any necessary product or public insurances or licenses required to trade legally and that might be affected by any regulatory standards or approvals (i.e., CE or WEEE compliance) • The need to observe non-disclosure agreements (NDA) and data protection requirements Transparency is essential in a successful partnership. There's much to be said for know- ing who does what and when, for whom and for what return. As ever, the key to success lies in the detail! SmT Terry morgan is CEo of Voxvia consultancy with 30 years of experience, spe- cialising in European sales and dis- tribution networks of equipment and materials within the electron- ics manufacturing industry. For more information click here. fIndIng thE PErfECt PartnEr

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