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Scripting mid-market success

D-Link continues to consolidate on successful partner strategies in making inroads into a diverse SMB segment

Addressing the varied needs of a diverse mid-market segment is a challenge that needs a significant focus and closer to exactness in execution of go to market strategies. That’s a mammoth task for any company by itself and which is where partners come in as the extended arm to reach out deeper into the market. A vendor who complements an elaborate suite of product offerings with a well integrated go to market strategy and stays consistent in its commitments to the market is definitely well poised to have an impregnable foothold. It would be quite safe to say that D-Link in the Middle East region ticks all the boxes for what it takes to be successful, as it continues to consolidate and make inroads in addressing networking infrastructural needs of SMB customers.

The networking manufacturer boasts of an extensive product array which includes solutions for IP Surveillance, Wireless, Switching, Storage, Security, Cloud, VoIP, Print Servers, Structured Cabling, Digital Home, 3G/4G Routers, Power over Ethernet Kits, Powerline, KVM, Structured Cabling and Digital SMB offerings. The breadth of its offerings gives the company the leverage with SMB focused partners as a one-stop shop.

Sakkeer Hussain, Director - Sales & Marketing at D-Link Middle East & Africa says, “The SMB market is one of the strongest segments in this region and there are a lot small and medium sized companies spread throughout the region. The SMB is by far the strongest performing sector for D-Link and for this reason, we are encouraging partners that serve this market segment to help their customers upgrade to new IT infrastructure. D-Link has one of the broadest product range to cater to the SMB and mid-market sector. We have it all to support and provide our partners with the breadth of products that help them succeed in this vital market. “

The company has a team based in Dubai, which serves the entire Middle East and in addition its in-country teams in various countries across MEA provide support to the channel.

Sakkeer comments that despite the tough prevailing market conditions in the Middle East IT industry, the SMB networking segment remains one of the fast growing sectors. D-link has a strong partner program for the SMB segment, identifying and recruiting partners that want to strengthen their mid-market focus.

“We have not approached the SMB market by going after established VARs or systems integrators, but rather going after resellers we believe we can develop and share the same desire with us to succeed in this important market. This approach in the SMB has helped D-Link to work with a lot of partners that want to grow their share of the SMB business.”

Upbeat prospects

Sakkeer opines that  as infrastructure projects that were shelved over the few years are resuming, there are a lot of opportunities opening up for channel partners to provide tailored offerings to their SMB customers. According to him, partners that combine products and services have a better chance of earning higher recurring margins in the SMB space.

He adds, “Networking solutions play a critical role in helping SMBs to stay connected and focus on growing their businesses. Understanding each SMB’s requirements and developing some domain expertise will lead to partners offering the right solutions that help these small businesses to thrive and increase productivity. We do encourage SMBs to develop vertical domain expertise as doing so will establish them to be the trusted business advisors.”

As the SMB segment continue to offer more opportunities for solution providers to provide products and services to their clients, D-Link has continued to invest in training, certification, incentive, loyalty and other post-sales initiatives targeted at partners that serve the SMB space. The vendor has a partner program dedicated to the SMB segment and along with that, it also runs a lot of incentive programs and training schemes for partners that play in the SMB space.

While D-link remains partner focused in its GTM strategies, it also engages end users on a regular basis, in terms of driving awareness, generating leads offering training etc.

“Although we are 100% a channel-driven company, we work with end-users in terms of demand generation activities and helping them with their training needs if these are required. Every lead that is generated from the end user is passed on to partners to fulfill. Although majority of our training is offered at our training facility in Jabel Ali in Dubai, we also go to our partner or their end-user premises to conduct sales oriented training, which focuses on updating them on what new technology, products and how they can implement the D-Link solutions in their environments,”  says Sakkeer.

Brining in more value propositions

D-Link has announced a new warranty support program that will see the company provide its customers expedient support on select business products.

Dubbed “Next Business Day (NBD) replacement” program, the new initiative is part of D-Link’s enhanced warranty support program on selected business products starting in the UAE from April 10, 2017 with the scheme expected to be extended to other regions across the Middle East later.

The free D-Link NBD program is valid for a first three-years period from the product purchase/registration and extendable at a nominal cost after completion of the three-years warranty period. The products covered include the entire range of D-Link’s Smart and Managed switches.

The company has unveiled the NBD program as part of its extended support to channel partners and their end-user customers. The service is part of the value-added services D-Link is offering channel partners to help them grow and strengthen their customer relationships by providing them with the ability to differentiate themselves among other competitor brands. 

“We have deliberately kicked off this programme in the UAE with a view to expand the roll-out to other countries across the Middle East and Africa region,” he said. “We believe that the Next Business Day Hardware replacement with no cost to the end-user will benefit businesses and corporates to reduce the cost-of-ownership of networks that are critical to their day-to-day operations.

D-Link aims to strengthen its fundamental pillars of product reliability and end-customer service as a key for growth in the MEA region.”

He adds that end-user customers can now maintain their critical networks with minimum down-time without the added costs of purchasing extra NBD replacement support and can directly register themselves for the D-Link NBD programme for free.

To be eligible for the services offered under NBD, the end-user customers must register the applicable product with D-Link within 90 days after purchasing and can check the product warranty and apply for NBD anytime through the newly launched dedicated D-Link NDB portal. D-Link MEA plans to expand the NDB support to other regions and include more business products to the list later this year.

Bringing in the cloud focus

In catering to a market segment that is also historically constrained by budgetary considerations, the vendor sees itself favorably placed to offer solutions that have great ROI propositions. D-Link sees itself ideally positioned to offer robust network solutions that can enable SMB companies embarking on digital transformation initiatives.

Sakkeer says, “There is no doubt that the biggest challenge that SMBs face right now is limited IT budgets and the need to do more with less as they take their on this digital transformation journey. As the cloud has taken off with varying degrees of understanding of the what cloud really offers, most SMB customers are looking for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), managed security services, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) as the upgrade and enable their networks in the digital era. To be able to use any of these services, SMB customers need to have a robust network that enables their business to access these services.”

The Business Cloud – Nuclias Cloud Solutions that D-link has now rolled out in the region could be one of the elements that could enable the network management capabilities of SMB organizations. D-Link Nuclias Cloud Solution is a complete cloud-managed networking solution. Wi-Fi coverage and capacity are provided by high-performance APs deployed on site with Centralized Cloud-based Control and Management enabled by D-Link Nuclias Cloud Service Platform.

This solution allows any organization with any level of IT resources to quickly and easily Setup, Configure, Monitor, Troubleshoot and Manage a site or multi-site WLAN of any size remotely through web-based and iPad app based user interface.

As the vendor enhances its portfolio through new announcements, it will hope to bring more reasons for customers to prefer it over other contenders in the mid-market segment and further consolidate. The vendor has always deftly managed market challenges in the past few years and likewise last year, despite a tough and challenging market, D-Link claims to have hit its growth target. This was even though the overall market optimism seemed to have declined towards the end of the year. This year, the vendor hopes to do better and have a healthier rate of growth for itself and its partners. Its strong market fundamentals give it an ideal platform to achieve those goals.