Anatoly Kryukov is Head of Distributor Relations in the local and international markets. He has been working in the СHGroup company since its foundation in August 2017. Prior to СHGroup, he worked 13 years at the Representative Office of OKI Europe Ltd in Ukraine as a manager and general manager of distribution. In addition to Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Uzbekistan were also in the area of responsibility of the Representative Office.
Anatoly’s career in iT sphere began with the position of Xerox sales manager in a regional dealer company. After that he headed the sales department of IT-products, and after 11 years from the post of commercial director he moved to OKI.
Anatoly considers the key projects in his career to be those that brought the greatest profit and those that were hard, but opened up new opportunities and prospects. In particular, at the beginning of his work at OKI, it was the legendary OKI C3200 printers sales promotion project, which gained the 1st place on the laser color devices market in Ukraine for the first time.
Or a multi-year project in Moldova with the IREX foundation on the Novateca program (reforming public libraries), which led to brand awareness in every corner of the country. In Azerbaijan the most memorable was the acquiring of a new distributor in order to promote OKI products of the Graphic Arts series (powerful full-color A3 format printers), and after half a year this distributor became this segment country leader.
Anatoly Kryukov believes that in 5 years CHGroupwill represent several foreign companies from different IT market segments on Ukrainian market, and will work with a large number of distributors in different countries.
What is your personal secret of successful work with distributors in the local and international markets?
Oh, if the personal secret really existed, I wouldn’t definitely name it, we work in a competitive environment, you know =) But seriously, I think that success grows with experience. As I said, I was lucky to get good practice both in a local dealer company at different levels, and in a world-class international company. Therefore, I have a definite understanding of the needs and requirements on both sides.
And you should always remember that we work not with companies, but with people. Honest and transparent relationships with partners, personal approach, comprehensive support and a real interest in the positive results not only of partner companies, but also in each manager are our key to success. This creates trust, and trust is the main factor, without which it is impossible to build successful relationships neither in business nor in life. Not without reason, we have long-term friendly relations with many of our partners.
Why do you think the local Ukrainian market is attractive for foreign partners?
The Ukrainian market attractiveness factors for foreign companies are well known: “brains, hands and grains” as written by the Financial Times. To paraphrase, this is the central geographical position of the country with the largest reserves of black soil in the world, high intellectual and production potential and a quite low salary level .
The Ukrainian IT-market is one of the most attractive sectors, and it is, perhaps, most expected to grow further. It is on the IT market of Ukraine that the best “brains” are concentrated: Ukraine ranks first in Eastern and Central Europe in terms of the number of engineering graduates and is now one of the world’s IT development centers, and remains one of the most attractive countries for foreign investment in this area .
Unfortunately, our foreign partners quite often have to deal with corruption, bureaucracy, imperfect legal proceedings, incomprehensibility of the rules, including in matters of business registration when they start business in Ukraine. Our goal is to help foreign companies, first of all, at the stage of studying the local market and making decisions on their future activities in Ukraine. Opening a representative office or a local company is not always the best form of market presence. Therefore, for foreign companies that are exploring the possibility of entering the Ukrainian market, or seeking to maintain their presence on the market in the best way, for example, after closing their office (or branch) in Ukraine, CHGroup offers its services.
Olexii Degtyarev is the CHGroup Head of Partner relations with 12 years of IT experience. Career in OKI has played a significant role in the formation of Alexei as a real professional in his area. Having come to the company as a manager of the Business Development Regional Center , in a short time he grew up to the Dealer channel Top manager. According to Alexei, only after passing through all the steps starting from a junior specialist, gaining this invaluable experience and understanding how this direction works from within, it is possible to become a successful leader.
For the next five years, CHGroup plans to develop projects of existing customers and begin cooperation with new partners, as well as helping each member of its team to develop.
What are the key projects in your career?
If we are talking about the partners support in the projects implementation, it is difficult to emphasize any particular project. Each of them, regardless of size and degree of importance, be it a local or national scale project, was interesting in its own way. First of all, the fact that it required an individual approach, flexibility, creativity and speed of reaction. Thanks to the synergy of these actions and the professionalism of our partners, we managed to get effective results.
At the same time, if we take OKI client as an example, I would like to highlight several strategic projects that I particularly remember. One of them is the launch of the Shinrai pan-European partnership program. The challenge was that the program required adaptation to the market rules of the countries we were responsible for. In the shortest possible time it was necessary to make changes, while retaining all the advantages and strategic objectives of the original program, as well as to convey this information to the partner channel. In less than a month, we were able to solve the tasks and flexibly restructure the work of an authorized partner channel, increasing the loyalty and profitability of the business, thereby increasing the turnover in the channel as a whole.
What are the main problems you encounter in collaboration with partners?
The specifics of the goods sold by our partners require increased attention for a successful sale. Partners need to professionally own a certain set of competencies in order to properly present the product and constantly increase sales. The task we face is to help our partner gain the necessary level of knowledge, create the right motivation and contribute to the professional growth of a company that will represent brand products in our area of responsibility. I can say with confidence that all companies that have received the status of an authorized partner are high-level professionals, thanks to our joint well-coordinated work.
What kind of partnership programs exist?
For each of our partners we form a flexible affiliate program or optimize the existing international brand-customer program to better match their business objectives. Speaking in general terms, we form a partner distribution channel through partner authorization, broadcast and adapt marketing materials and promotional programs, provide access to exclusive content and provide comprehensive consulting support to dealers (technical and product).
What are the basic partnership programs principles you follow when adapting to the local market?
We believe that the success of any brand depends on the success of its partners. Therefore, the basic principles of any partnership program are inherent in trust, reliability and loyalty.
What is your Partnership Department working algorithm?
Working with dealers depends on the client’s business model, level of integration, etc. Depending on this, we form and offer various authorized statuses, support levels and rewards.
We believe that close cooperation with dealers plays an important role in creating partnerships, because only by working together you can create a mutually beneficial business. We try to be as helpful as possible to partners who promote our customers’ products, providing them with comprehensive support at all levels.
Anna Goncharenko is a CHGroup marketing manager. She has more than 8 years of experience in advertising and marketing. She started her career in an advertising holding, and after a while, gradually moved to the client side. Right now in the company Anna manages both the CHGroup’s corporate marketing direction and the CHGroup’s brand presence on the markets of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
Anna considers all projects in her career to be crucial, because every single one has its specific importance. She is currently working on introducing the CHGroup brand to the market, which is one of the top priority projects. The team has already managed to declare the company, form a development strategy and position itself on the market. Partners in Ukraine and Europe already know and trust CHGroup. This was the first and quite complicated task.
Anna considers working with different markets, regions and people at the same time to be the best advantage of working at CHGroup. This inspires and motivates Anna. She sees her career development plan within company as to grow together with the CHGroup. “It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to build everything from scratch and gain invaluable experience,” notes Anna.
What are the marketing features for foreign companies?
Creating an optimal marketing strategy in a particular region is not an easy task. Constant adaptation to changes, competition with low-level products, emergence of new products, services and upgrades, constant rethinking of customer needs are key trends in all areas. These trends contribute to the emergence of ambitious goals and new business schemes based on partnership and trust. Companies that are less flexible in their management approaches and ignore global trends are leaving the markets, closing offices and gradually ceasing to exist entirely. After all, the “yesterday’s” strategy and plan is no longer working today. It is necessary to act proactively, to think out actions two or three steps ahead. With foreign companies, I try to combine global trends with the realities of the local market, proactively approach any task and create new opportunities for development.
How do you start working with a new partner in terms of a marketing strategy?
First of all, I compile numbers and dive deep in the effectiveness of what I create. There are many analytical agencies that allow you to determine the market share of a particular brand, benchmark, trends and predict further development. Market analytics is the first thing we do when we start working. Based on the data obtained, we form the client’s path and relate the brand content / strategy to the consumers’ needs.
What is the marketing highlight in CHGroup?
An integrated approach and focus on results are key CHGroup identifiers. In addition, for the successful implementation of any project marketing must work closely with Sales, otherwise nothing will work. In CHGroup, this approach works 100%.
What can you say about your marketing team?
I am convinced that absolutely every employee of CHGroup is involved in marketing. Sales does marketing while talking face-to-face with customers, the director – at the communication level with customers, creating the image and personalization of the brand from another point. The marketer, who leads all these processes and directs them in the right direction, organizing the whole process, structures and prepares the tools to perform all the mentioned above tasks.
In addition, the atmosphere in the office and the overall attitude towards success is also a kind of marketing that helps to search for creative solutions and introduce “crazy and breakthrough” ideas.