Vertical markets such as healthcare, finance, retail, government and education offer enormous potential for channel partners looking to grow their businesses and differentiate themselves from the competition. Fact is, when they can demonstrate a clear understanding of the challenges that are unique to their current and/or prospective clients’ vertical market(s), have a proven track record for success, and are up to speed on any applicable regulatory standards, channel partners will be well on their way to attaining trusted advisor status.
At this week’s 2016 Trust X Alliance Invitational in Los Angeles, building a successful vertical markets practice was the topic of several breakout sessions, and experts from Ingram Micro were on hand to share their insights and perspectives with Trust X Alliance members attending the annual event.
During a session on Tuesday, May 17, Eric Kenyon, senior sales executive, and Daryl Schuster, senior channel account executive, talked about opportunities for channel partners to leverage specialty technologies such as unified communications and Collaboration (UCC), data capture/point of sale (DC/POS), pro A/V and digital signage, and physical security solutions to take their businesses to the next level.
Schuster shared with attendees how Ingram Micro is unique in its ability to provide complete solutions backed by professional services, as well as a team of experts who specialize in specific manufacturers and vertical markets and are available to help channel partners win new business.
He went on to talk about how Ingram Micro and its partners are experiencing success in the retail space, citing opportunities for growth as retailers roll out new EMV and mobile wallet payment systems, integrate digital signage, look to improve inventory management with more advanced barcoding solutions, and protect their businesses with state-of-the-art access control and physical security solutions.
Later that afternoon, a panel discussion titled “How to Build Your Vertical Markets Practice with Ingram Micro” provided an overview of resources currently available through Ingram Micro to support the vertical market sales cycle, and provided market-specific advice for channel partners looking to capitalize on opportunities in healthcare, government, education, legal and financial services.
Some of the key takeaways from the panel discussion included:
- Education: The federally funded E-Rate program can be highly complex and there are many rules and regulations to be aware of. Patricia O’Leary, education program manager, Ingram Micro, cautioned channel partners against going it alone, and encouraged them to specialize with a manufacturer that sells into the E-Rate program and to take advantage of the resources available through Ingram Micro, including peer-to-peer mentoring.
- Federal: Charles Graf, federal program manager, Ingram Micro, advised channel partners to take this very large market and make it small by focusing on a specific niche within the market. He also said that where partners often need the most help is in contract negotiation and financing. Ingram Micro offers a program called NOWaccount that eliminates the risk of default and ensures channel partners serving federal government agencies get paid on time.
- Healthcare: There are several key areas that channel partners should focus on when it comes to growing their healthcare businesses and these include data analytics, telemedicine and pharmaceuticals, said Dr. Keith Nelson, senior business development manager, healthcare, Ingram Micro.
- Legal/Finance. Rene Pantling, legal/finance manager, Ingram Micro, said that vertically focused case studies are a great way to communicate success and generate leads from potential clients. She encouraged channel partners to consider creating a short version for sales, and longer versions for the website or follow-up calls with prospects.
Throughout the event, it was clear that Ingram Micro has a deep bench of talent and expertise ready and is willing to assist channel partners in unlocking the secrets to building a successful vertical markets practice. If channel partners left with one outstanding piece of advice, it was this: If you have an opportunity outside of your vertical expertise, don’t turn it down until you talk to Ingram Micro.