June 17, 2019

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INTERVIEW: Erling Hoff Petersen, Sandberg

by Stuart Wilson, Monday 31 December 2018

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The Sandberg brand has become synonymous with high quality accessories. Distributors and retailers appreciate the availability, range, simple procedures and the exceptionally low failure rate. Channel EMEA interviewed Erling Hoff Petersen, director of sales at Sandberg, about the company’s plans for 2019 and its upcoming participation at regional consumer tech channel hosted buyer event DISTREE EMEA, which takes place in Monaco from February 19-22nd.

Channel EMEA (CE): What does Sandberg want to achieve at DISTREE EMEA 2019? What are your key goals for the event? Will you make any specific company announcements at the event?

Erling Hoff Petersen (EHP): We are so excited to present our revamped product line up within gaming, outdoor, gadgets, and home and office. Lots of new products, a new packaging style, updated in-store displays and dealer programmes. Our goals are to obtain a wider geographical spread, and a deeper contact to markets where we are already represented. But also to re-meet with existing customers to follow up and make sure they are all into all the new stuff.

CE: What products and solutions will you be showcasing at DISTREE EMEA 2019? What do you want distributors to know about your portfolio?

EHP: Across all series and categories, the important thing to know about Sandberg is that we care about giving consumers great experiences. When opening a box with a brand new Sandberg product, the customer shall be able to easily find out how to use the product, and the product has to work properly. Not only on the day of opening the box, but at least for further five years, as this is the warranty we put on all products. Our work with quality circles and per-item quality control ensures that it is no risk to sell a product with such an extensive warranty. In more than 99% of the cases, nobody will ever need the warranty anyway.

CE: Describe how your channel business has developed in the past 12 months? What trends have you seen and what have been the highlights for your business?

EHP: We are in a month-by-month market expansion phase. Our philosophy is so well received, and we are very thankful for this. In many countries, we see that consumers are willing to pay a bit more to get some really good products. Sandberg products are not cheap but good. When we prioritise the value-for-money balance, our focus is on value. It is more important for us to present a product that will serve the user for many years to come, than coming up with a cheap bargain. During the past 12 months, consumers are rewarding this approach more and more. An increasing wealth throughout the EMEA region compared to the situation few years ago, means that the values we have fought for in many years get more and more appreciated. Instead of going for the cheapest product on the shelves, consumers start thinking about ease of use, design and durability. This is where the Sandberg products win the bid.

B2B potential

CE: Which geographic areas and channels represent the greatest opportunity for growth for your company in EMEA and globally?

EHP: It is really hard to point out a few, as we have options for growth in all channels and geographic areas. If you force me to pick one channel out, I would say B2B. Sandberg is known for years as a great choice to private consumers. But there is no doubt that a lot of companies, schools and authorities will benefit from the advantages of Sandberg products, such as ease of use and high quality. This is why we have increased our focus on SMB users.

CE: Why should distributors and retailers focus on your products? What makes your channel proposition better than competitors in the market?

EHP: We know that distributors and not least their product managers are busy people. Compared to some of our competitors, we are a small vendor, meaning we will focus more on each customer. We can be flexible and adapt to the needs of every distributor. We make quick decisions on special bids, marketing support and terms. We support distributors in their sales work, and do our utmost to ease product listing and ordering. For instance, we work with a ‘one-contact’ policy, which means that every distributor will get only one main contact person to call for all types of cases: purchase, marketing, finances, RMA or logistics. No need to swap around and explain from scratch to a complete stranger – the contact person is always the same, and the distributor product manager can move on quickly.

CE: Do you have a structured channel programme? Do you offer a strong margin proposition to your partners?

EHP: Mid 2018 we launched a completely new channel programme set-up, targeting B2C stores, B2B resellers and B2A webshops. The earnings on Sandberg products are strong. Not only do distributors and resellers get a strong gross margin from dealing in Sandberg products, but we also help keeping costs low, for instance with easy RMA handling, direct consumer tech support and great availability of product data and images.

Flexible support

CE: What sort of support do you offer distributors in terms of marketing, promotions and channel development activities?

EHP: It is not what we want to do for the channel partners – but what the channel partners want us to do for them. Basically we support by whatever makes sense. We are not locked to our own promotions and activities, but are open towards all types of inputs we receive. If an activity makes sense from an ROI point of view, we are happy to be in.

CE: How quickly is your business growing in the EMEA region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your business segment?

EHP: Our sales growth in the EMEA region is a two-digit percentage annually. These years the trend is an increasing demand for better rather than cheaper products, which has a positive impact on the Sandberg market shares.

CE: Is Sandberg channel friendly? How would you describe your overall go-to-market approach in the EMEA market? What are your overall channel goals and aims for 2019 in EMEA?

EHP: Sandberg support the channel fully, and we depend on the channel. All our sales from top to bottom are via the channel. Distributors and dealers are key partners in our approach to the consumers, and we have no intentions of changing that business way.

CE: What else should distributors and channel partners attending DISTREE EMEA 2019 know about Sandberg?

EHP: We have been in business since 1985, so there must be something we are doing right. We are looking for distributors with a value in the market different from price dumping. Companies with strong values, daring to focus on more parameters than just price. Distributors knowing that great value for money is a balance. That long term business has to be based on great experiences all through the channel. Distributors ready for a real partnership. Distributors known by their customers as reliable partners. We look forward to meeting them in Monaco [at DISTREE EMEA 2019].

DISTREE EMEA 2019

To request a hosted buyer invite for DISTREE EMEA 2019 - CLICK HERE

Distributors, retailers and e-tailers confirmed to attend DISTREE EMEA 2019 will have the ability to pre-request one-on-one meetings with the Sandberg executive team at next year’s event.

For further information on exhibiting at DISTREE EMEA 2019 to meet channel partners from across the region - CLICK HERE

Exhibitors at DISTREE EMEA hold pre-scheduled meetings with a carefully selected audience of senior executives from the region’s top consumer tech and consumer electronics channel partners. Channel EMEA is an official Media Partner for DISTREE EMEA 2019.

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