One of the biggest challenges of selling UC solutions is that customers and prospects don’t always “get it” by viewing a pamphlet or hearing a presentation. They need to see and experience it for themselves. The problem for IT solution providers is that providing and setting up UC demos at customers’ facilities is time-consuming and costly. “Plus, people are often distracted at work as they’re trying to manage competing priorities,” adds Wilson.
For prospects located near its Rochester headquarters, SMP was able to use its demo center to highlight UC and other business solutions. However, as the company looked to expand into new regions, the idea of outfitting each branch with thousands of dollars of demo equipment was cost prohibitive. Fortunately, SMP is an Ingram Micro partner and was able to find a viable solution to its challenge: the Ingram Micro Experience Center.
One of the advantages of Ingram Micro’s Experience Center is that it helps Ingram Micro partners provide prospects with a tangible experience—especially to things that otherwise aren’t easily demonstrated. Located in Buffalo, N.Y., and sponsored by Cisco, the Experience Center is available to all Ingram Micro partners and serves as a Cisco-exclusive technology showroom equipped with all of Cisco’s latest products and solutions. Partners can use the Experience Center’s resources in many ways, including:
- Demonstration pods/proofs of concept—Ingram Micro’s Cisco experts can recreate your proposed Cisco solution and show firsthand how Cisco products and offerings can benefit you and your clients.
- A fully functioning Cisco data center—Complete with Cisco UCS B- and C-series servers, Nexus switching, APC cooling and more, it exists only to support Experience Center activities for hands-on engagement or remote access by your team.
- Cisco collaboration and video—Get hands-on with the latest Cisco phones, Business Edition products and Cisco video endpoints, or use Ingram Micro’s remote meeting and demo capabilities supported by Cisco.
- Switching, wireless and security—Whether it’s the latest Catalyst or Nexus switching products, Meraki or Cisco security, the Experience Center has it and is ready to showcase the advantages to you and your clients.
- Sales and technical training—Ingram Micro’s engineers will provide training and support in person or remotely (via WebEx or video) to ensure that your business stands out from competitors and your team is knowledgeable and comfortable with Cisco technology.
“The Ingram Micro Experience Center is a big reason we don’t need an office in the Buffalo area, and it’s no coincidence that our company’s largest clients are in this area too,” says Wilson. “The Experience Center provides our customers and prospects with a place to get out of their office and to focus on the latest UC, data center, networking and audiovisual (AV) technologies.”
SMP uses the Experience Center across all technology categories, and it also uses the facility to host lunch-and-learn events. “Last year, we hosted a 3-hour event at the Experience Center, which included an educational presentation and Cisco collaboration demo to an audience of nearly 100 C-level execs and other IT decision makers,” says Wilson. “Several clients stuck around and talked with our sales team along with three Cisco reps and four Cisco technicians from Ingram Micro. Several Ingram Micro technicians were involved in the presentations and demos and showed attendees everything from traditional phones to softphones, Cisco video endpoints, meeting space designs and more. Shortly after that event, we landed a 250-conference room upgrade with a financial institution and a universitywide WebEx conferencing Enterprise agreement. Millions of dollars in new business came from that event over the past 10 months.”
“Ingram Micro has all the latest technologies along with professional and technical support, which enables our salespeople to bring clients there without requiring SMP pre-sales support. They augment our staff very well, and they play an invaluable role in our company’s success.”
Contact the Ingram Micro Experience Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a customized training program for your sales and technical staff, or a product demo for your clients or prospects.