'The eCRM implementation has increased our pre-sales productivity by 30-40 percent.'

DQC Bureau
New Update

At 32, Sanjay Parnandiwar, must be one of the youngest CEOs around. A commerce graduate from the Pune University, he went on to do his diploma in marketing management and began his career in the service industry by joining Trident Express Courier. He joined Datapro in 1989 as a marketing executive to sell UPSs. His aggressive sales record took him quickly up the career ladder and the recent promotion as CEO has come as the crowning glory. He talks to DQCI on Datapro's channel initiatives.


Almost half of Datapro's channels are from non-metro cities and towns. How did you build up this network?

We always had a mixed channel network spread across different classes of cities. Our strategy has not changed much. Today we have channel presence spread over 85+ cities and towns, B as well as C class, besides the metros.

How do you handle the training and service requirements of channel partners from these regions?


Training partners about the technology and ensuring efficient supply chain management is an ongoing activity for our company. It is not something we do on a periodic basis. These are some of the value-adds that we offer our channel partners to help them in their business. We have over 300 training centers all over the country and these are put into use for training partners. In addition, our regional offices are also used for this purpose. 

What percentage of your business comes from B and C class cities?

At the present these regions contribute around 25 to 30 percent of our overall business, while the rest comes from metros and A class cities. 


What is the percentage of business that comes from product distribution and software training?

Actually both are important business areas and their contribution is equal to our overall turnover. 

Many companies are shifting focus from volume-based business to value-based business because of higher margins. Does Datapro plan to trudge this path?


This trend might be new to the industry but value-based business has always been Datapro’s strength. We were pioneers in bringing unique and new technologies to India. Some examples of this are the server-based computing from Citrix and bandwidth management from Packeteer. In recent times, there is our tie-up with abcMultiactive for their


All these technologies were introduced when the market was hardly aware of them. But we managed to penetrate the market through aggressive channel development, training and marketing tools. In fact, I think, I can proudly say that Datapro is the only value-added distributor in India, as we move beyond pushing boxes.

What kind of channel schemes are you planning for the OND quarter?


Every year Datapro conducts channel meets for our top 100 channel partners. This time we plan to conduct this meet in one of the tourist locations abroad. The event will be full of fun along with lots of bumper offer schemes. We have also formulated various incentive schemes that will be introduced soon. In addition, we will be conducting a lot of end-user seminars generating leads for our resellers. 

We have also decided to strengthen our services arm to train channel partners for products like CRM, server-based computing, network security and bandwidth management. 

How big is your channel network in India?


We operate from nine locations in India, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Baroda and Cochin. These offices cater to a strong network of 2,000 channel partners. 

Since you sell both hardware as well as software products, do you have separate channels for both?

Typically, when we appoint a new channel partner, we let him start business with box products. Then slowly he is allowed to move on to value or solutions oriented products. These could be either hardware or software. 


Most of our channel, almost 60 percent is into software sales and another 15 to 20 percent sell both hardware and software. The rest percentage consists of systems integrators who sell the entire set of solutions.

What will be your focus area this year?

This year we are going to concentrate on adding more products on the value side of our business. Besides, we will also try to extend our reach and penetration in newer markets.

You had plans to tie up with over a dozen vendors this fiscal. Who are the ones who will come on board soon?

ISS, Bio-ID, Infoweb and abc Multiactive are already on board. Soon a lot of the leading enterprise network security products will be added to our portfolio. We are into discussion with top vendors in this arena and certain announcements will be made soon.

What progress have you made with your plans to open a chain of exclusive retail outlets for Corel?

There have been lots of efforts going in terms of adding retail outlets to sell these products. In fact, we have been quite successful in appointing over 50 such outlets across the country.

Is your web-based logistic system for the channel ready?

Yes. Currently, it is undergoing rigorous testing with field trials. We have deployed an eCRM tool for our internal use and it has increased our pre-sales productivity by 30-40 percent. With supply chain management and financial accounting to be integrated soon with eCRM, we expect overall business to improve by another 30-40 percent in the six months.

The online order entry mechanism and e-store would soon be open to all channel partners.