The hard resell: dealers, distributors and Skyline

The hard resell: dealers, distributors and Skyline
Large service providers are relying on smaller dealers and distributors to do the heavy lifting of product or service sales. How does a subscription billing system like Cerillion Skyline create a unified sales repository for these various resellers?

For service providers looking to quickly expand their market reach and grow their revenues, adopting a channel or reseller model is a common route to take. More than a standard B2B or B2C offer, with a B2B2X proposition, your product can reach a much broader set of customers via a mutually beneficial arrangement with a reseller network, made up of dealers and distributors.

A distributor has a contract with a service provider to sell or rent their products on to a network of dealers, plus added fees; a dealer buys goods or services from distributors, or the service provider directly, at their own margins, to sell on directly to customers.

Put simply, a distributor is akin to a wholesaler, while a dealer is more like a retailer.

The customer’s contract is with the reseller, and they are responsible for the distribution and implementation of goods or services. They also provide after-sale services to customers, such as technical support and additional upgrades.

Working with dealers and distributors can, however, place strain on a service provider’s CRM and billing systems; a single system for managing products, customers and billing, with the ability to segregate data within a multi-tenant channel model is vital to running a smooth reseller operation. Anyone logging in shouldn’t be able to see other users’ customers and inventories, so how can you set criteria such as who owns what customer, and what the reseller’s users see when they log in?

With a subscription billing platform like Cerillion Skyline, a service provider has total control over what each reseller sees and can manage within the system. Using role-based access, Skyline provides four distinct levels of control for both internal and external users:
  • Product Level: Configure access to specific segments of your product catalogue, allowing different sales channels to sell different product sets.
  • Customer Level: Configure access to specific segments of your customer base for different customer service teams or resellers.
  • Page Level: Define and select specific pages or fields of the application to restrict or allow access for each role.
  • Action Level: Granular permission configuration to control the actions which can be performed by each user.
Furthermore, each user’s experience can be uniquely adjusted by adding their own company logo to the application and granting access to product catalogue sections, customer segments or administrative functions on a needs basis through configuration only. An example customer level segmentation can be seen below:

By maintaining a hierarchy of customers and accounts, the service provider can see their resellers, and the customers of the resellers, along with their full payment details, including how they’re paying, what they’ve paid, and when they are paying. And depending on the structure modelled within the system, Skyline can be used by the service provider to bill:
  • the reseller for the subscriptions / usage of each of their customers; or
  • the end customer on behalf of each reseller (white label billing).
One such customer using this model is ResMed, a manufacturer of healthcare devices such as CPAP masks and ventilators for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnoea and other respiratory conditions. ResMed sells their products and services through a network of pharmacies, who act as the resellers of their devices, with segmented access to the product catalogue and customer base. Check out our ResMed case study for further details.

By adopting a reseller model utilising Skyline, your business can scale its customer base quickly and efficiently, letting Skyline take care of the heavy lifting.

Contact us now for a personalised demo to see how Skyline can support your channel business model.