It’s often hard to see the big picture in the midst of the day-to-day responsibilities of running a business. But that clear view is a critical component of taking VAR sales to the next level. By taking a step back, solution providers can see ways to sell current customers more complete solutions, rather than one-off products and projects. They can discover how to market their skills and services in other vertical markets. And, they can identify ways to close more sales with more customers more quickly, thus accumulating more pro?ts sooner.
Ingram Micro offers a wealth of services and support to help. “We’re more than a distributor. We are a business partner,” says Jennifer Anaya, vice president, Agency Ingram Micro. “We can show solution providers how what they are doing today can be parlayed into more business, and how to extend what they are already doing into adjacent market opportunities.”
Over the last three years, Ingram Micro has spent more than $1 billion to acquire companies to round out its offerings across the entire technology life cycle. Ingram Micro now offers products from components to consumer electronics to advanced data centers. It has the capability to refurbish and resell equipment, as well as to tear down and recycle the materials responsibly. And, Ingram Micro offers return, repair and logistics services to customers.
Ingram Micro’s support can be grouped into three categories—learn, grow and innovate—that address challenges at each stage of the sales cycle.
Learning isn’t only about training and certi?cation—it’s also about staying on top of change and understanding the forces that drive the marketplace. Nowhere is this more evident than in the DC/POS market, where advances in technology, shifts in customer buying habits, and the upcoming switch to the global EMV payment standard (also known as chip-and-pin) are combining to create new opportunities while requiring old ways of doing business to evolve. Ingram Micro is at the vanguard of this change, helping both new and established solution providers understand the changes and challenges surrounding DC/ POS technology and requirements through solution clinics, webcasts and educational opportunities at partner events.
Business intelligence capabilities can also help solution providers learn to target the right opportunities with the right products and services. Ingram Micro’s Business Intelligence Center collects and analyzes millions of pieces of data to identify juicy sales leads. This intelligence into prospective buyers is focused, rather than broad brush. Everyone knows that network security is hot, for example, but Ingram Micro’s staff can identify what types of customers are buying what types of network security products and services from which vendors.
“Business intelligence gives partners insight into how that business is really working, and so helps them go to market in a more targeted way,” says Anaya.
Sometimes, research and learning uncover growth opportunities that small resellers don’t have the staff, expertise or geographic reach to tackle. Ingram Micro can help by matching up solution providers with complementary skills. It can provide engineers, badged as the reseller’s staff, to perform assessments of a client’s site for wireless LANs, virtualization and voice and video. Or the team can perform network penetration testing and check for web vulnerabilities to help partners keep their customers secure. And, through Ingram Micro, resellers can tap into a consistent source of high-quality staff for large-scale projects throughout the entire country, such as installing new DC/ POS systems in a nationwide retail chain.
“Typically, a single partner can’t do this, because it doesn’t have all the contractual agreements in place,” says Anaya. Now, with Ingram Micro’s services, it can.
In addition, Ingram Micro is making new investments to help partners accelerate their success in key vertical markets. In March, the company hired Anthony Vottima as executive director and general manager of vertical markets. Vottima, who has more than 26 years of channel and vertical market experience, plans to launch a new series of education tracks and enablement resources to help channel partners build expertise and accelerate time-to-market.
Another initiative is to expand the health-care community for Ingram Micro partners. Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of Florida-based LAN Infotech, serves on the community’s advisory panel. Through his participation, he has gained insight into the healthcare market and increased knowledge of various products and services. “Two years ago we had a very small percent-age of healthcare customers,” he explains. “Now that number has increased by 20 percent and our ?rm has become more con?dent in the healthcare space.”
Seven years ago, Ingram Micro established the ?rst cloud practice for distribution. Today, the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace offers a smorgasbord of cloud services and removes the complexity too often associated with cloud technologies by allowing solution providers to manage a complete end-user subscription cycle from a single automated platform. Solution providers can go to Cloud Marketplace to identify, procure and con?gure whatever type of cloud solution their client needs, and Ingram Micro coordinates the back of?ce work, including billing end customers.
Most recently, Ingram Micro announced a capability to buy, sell, provision, bill and manage Microsoft Of?ce 365 through Cloud Marketplace.
“Ingram Micro is the ?rst master cloud service provider to offer a true, online consumption model for Of?ce 365 that is backed by a suite of migration services and a dedicated service desk,” says Renée Bergeron, vice president, Cloud, Ingram Micro. “This allows our resellers to have a more direct relationship with their customers while maintaining the ?exibility to bundle their offering with solutions from Ingram Micro or other leading cloud service providers.”
In addition to cloud, Ingram Micro has teams of sales and tech support staff to help with large or particularly sophisticated technology implementations, such as a complete HP data center or a complex IBM software deployment. This added expertise enables solution providers to move up-market and sell high-end, advanced solutions with greater margins.
Solution providers should take the time to think strategically about their business, and take advantage of the Ingram Micro services that can help them reach their goals. “Our services, people and tools can help partners learn, grow and innovate to become the best companies they can possibly be,” says Anaya.
For more information on shortening your sales cycle, engage with one of Ingram Micro’s partner communities or call your sales representative.