**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
Omnitracs is hoping to work with partners to capitalize on a mandate that all long-haul trucks must have electronic logging devices (ELDs) installed as of this week. The rule was put in place back in 2015 by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, with implementation delayed for two years for smaller trucking firms. The ELDs replace paper logs for recording how many hours a commercial vehicle has been on the road. Drivers could be sidelined for 10 hours if they do not have an ELD in place.
Omnitracs offer these ELDs, as well as a full suite of fleet management solutions, including integrated software, SaaS applications, and analytics platforms designed for commercial drivers.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Eric Braswell: Omnitracs, with its origins at Qualcomm, pioneered the fleet telematics industry. Customers love that our business and our products have a solid foundation, backed by tremendous industry expertise. Our solutions are the most reliable in the space.
CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?
EB: We have three partner program levels — gold, silver, and bronze. All of our partners receive extensive training, including the opportunity to participate in a no-cost, three-day boot camp at Omnitracs’ headquarters. At the conclusion of the boot camp, our partners participate in an afternoon of live sales calls where they are joined, and coached, by a senior Omnitracs sales leader.
While Omnitracs is selective about admitting new partners into the channel program, we do offer a referral program to support companies that do not fit the requirements of the reseller organization. For our VARs operating in the long-haul fleet market, we provide a significant number of leads, which are generated and qualified by the Omnitracs marketing organization.
CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.
EB: Twenty-five percent of sales comes through the channel, 43 partners (domestically), 30 percent hardware margin/20 percent recurring revenue from software.
CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?
EB: Anyone who wants to build a business and focus on IoT for fleet management is a competitor; for example, PeopleNet. Omnitracs pioneered the fleet telematics industry 30 years ago and has the most subject-matter expertise of any competitor. Our experience, scale and ability to innovate has kept us in the leading position in the market.
CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?
EB: Omnitracs will increase its focus on the short-haul, private fleet market to complement our leading position within the long-haul fleet space. New hardware platforms, combined with additional software offerings and improved reporting capabilities will be key areas of change and growth for our partners.
CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that time frame?
EB: I expect our partners to move into a more “trusted adviser” role with their customers, leading with new mission-critical capabilities from the Omnitracs product suite. As Omnitracs’ products support additional integrations, our partners will be able to move further up the value chain of their customers’ needs — offering customizations, integration support and consulting.
CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?
EB: Partners that want to grow their business in the transportation industry, and who can benefit from recurring revenue models, should take a look at what Omnitracs has to offer. The level of support we offer to partners is unprecedented in the industry. Beyond the training resources, we have technical support personnel dedicated to the channel and a culture within the company that is heavily invested in the success of the channel.