Having taken over as Head of UKI Market at Promethean not long before lockdown hit, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the easiest start in a new role. But with the latest Futuresource Consulting figures confirming that Promethean has maintained its position as market leaders for IFPDs in K-12, AV News asks Jim Wallis to share the secrets behind the company’s continued success, and explain how the business goes from strength to strength against the backdrop of an apparently declining market.
It goes without saying that the whole team deserves huge thanks, having worked incredibly hard all year, supporting customers and maintaining continuity. The expansion of our ActivPanel demonstration programme to include virtual and remote sessions has probably been one of our biggest successes during lockdown, with our teams remaining fully operational to develop and deliver these.
While we are obviously proud of our achievements over the past six months, these are not what define us as a business. Becoming market leader has been achieved by delivering against a carefully thought-out go-to-market strategy, with channel at the centre – and we are committed to building on this with continuous innovation and improvement.
So yes, I agree, it hasn’t been the simplest start to a new role. However, the foundations established over the past five years have given me a solid platform from which to lead the UKI business and empowered our channel partners to keep moving forward at a time when much of the market has stood still or gone into decline.
Secrets of success
We don’t believe that there are really any secrets to our success. As a business we pride ourselves that we operate with absolute honesty and transparency. These values form the very backbone of our Partner Accreditation Programme, which Simon Port, Head of Channel Operations UKI and Asia Pacific, has been instrumental in developing and driving forward. His in depth knowledge and experience of the channel have been paramount in building the programme and executing on this.
This approach has enabled us to create a culture where partners trust us as a manufacturer. And by trusting us, our partners are able to confidently make decisions in their own businesses as they know they can rely on us to act fairly and provide support when they need it.
Clearly there are more practical initiatives that we have put in place that have proven invaluable in helping us to grow our market share. As a manufacturer with a two-tier distribution model, we have built a strategy that plays to our own strengths as well as those of our distributors and partners.
This strategy was developed by listening to what our partners needed and responding with solutions that addressed these. Importantly, this was not a one-off exercise. We maintain open dialogues with partners to ensure we continue to improve and move forward.
That said, the move to a dual distribution model a few years ago has proven instrumental in our growth. As well as increasing stock availability, dual distribution gave our partners greater flexibility and choice – something which they asked for.
It also enabled us to create a model whereby we work more closely with our partners, providing support that is best delivered by the manufacturer. Afterall, with 20 years’ pedigree in the education technology space, we’re well equipped to guide them with developing this market and to deliver the tools they need to succeed. In doing so, our distributors can focus on providing the essential warehousing, logistics and finance services which keep the wheels of industry turning.
Bucking the market trend
While the numbers are obviously rewarding to see, for us it’s not just about the market figures. We’ll continue to build on what we believe it takes to be a market leader, and that’s delivering the very best products with the very best customer experience.
I think our agility as a business, and staying fully operational over the past six months, have enabled us to rapidly respond to evolving customer needs – both schools and channel partners. It’s been an uncertain time for all, so I am proud that we’ve been able to deliver on all of our promises and maintain continuity of service.
That’s why we were able to launch the ‘Experience the Elements’ expanded demonstration programme. Mobilised in time for the key summer buying period, this enhanced programme gives schools the choice between three different types of ActivPanel demonstration:
- Virtual – live online video session.
- Remote – live online video session followed by two-week on-site ActivPanel road test.
- On-site – traditional face to face demonstration with two-week ActivPanel road test
We’ve seen excellent results from this initiative, with our partners especially positive as they’ve still been able to benefit from deal registration – a key part of the Partner Accreditation Programme.
As I said before, being market leader means more than numbers to us. We believe that we have a duty to keep driving innovation and quality forward for our partners while at the same time ensuring that they can build a financially successful business with us.
I’m really excited about the imminent launch of Promethean Connect. We launched Atlas, our partner app, three years ago, and this has been a tremendous success with the aim to make it easier and faster to do business with us. Promethean Connect is our new communication programme that will provide partners with access to a regular stream of current content that will help them to achieve a competitive edge.
A manufacturer to rely on
In a world of constant change, we want to be the IFPD manufacturer that the channel can rely on. And not just when it comes to product. With our education technology pedigree, the design and manufacture of solutions that meet the needs of schools today is a given.
Our partners can rely on us to always deliver the very best service and support. Our partners can rely on us to be honest and transparent in our communications. Our partners can rely on us to be open for business. Our partners can rely on us to help them build financially sound businesses. And most of all, our partners can rely on us to be progressive in driving forward the market and helping them navigate whatever challenges may appear on the way.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of becoming a Promethean partner, or enquire about joining the Partner Accreditation Programme, please visit: https://www.prometheanworld.com/gb/about-us/become-a-channel-partner/