The distributor outlines the ways it can help its SMB partners on the first full day of the Fall SMB Invitational.
By Cecilia Galvin
September 25, 2013
After a half-day of vendor previews and CompTIA breakout sessions on social media, vertical markets, and deal making for IT providers, Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor Ingram Micro Inc. jump started the first full day of its 2013 Fall SMB Invitational this morning at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel in Glendale, Ariz., with manufacturer’s breakouts and breakfasts and the general session for all attendees.
The general session kicked off with Kirk Robinson, Ingram Micro’s senior vice president, commercial markets and global accounts, and Jamie Ferullo, director of SMB sales, talking about the opportunities the distributor presents to its SMB partners. As Robinson noted, “We’re just scratching the surface of what we can do together.” Ferullo echoed that sentiment, saying “When our customers win, we win as well.”
Robinson also highlighted key business trends—not surprisingly, they include mobility, Big Data, virtualization, and security/networking, of which he said, “Don’t hesitate to talk to us about how we can help you [in this area].”
Ferullo also explained that the trends and opportunities the distributor sees are not easy for some SMB partners to seize. “It takes scale, reach, and partnership. We need to bring together the right customers and vendors … When we can identify the right partners, we can help [our SMB partners] win in the marketplace.”
Next, Larry Walsh, president and CEO of channel research firm The 2112 Group, took to the stage with Robinson , who explained how the SMB 500—Ingram’s top 500 high-performance U.S. SMB partners in size, growth, and innovation—was created, and why. “We talked about creating it by looking at research and working with Larry. We want to be able to communicate to you the areas that help partners grow,” said Robinson.
Determining the top companies is still a work in progress, the executives concede. To help them, though, Walsh’s group created a growth calculator that’s available for any partner to use that answers at least the basic part of the question, “What does it mean to grow?”
Next, VMWare discussed how SMB partners could leverage its Hybrid Cloud Initiative, comprised of both services and programs. Then Brian O’Connell of IT consultancy Service Leadership explained how IT providers can maximize the future value of their businesses. His explanation was eye-opening, but the takeaway was simple: You have to start planning your exit strategy now.
Also on tap this morning was a presentation of market strategies and success factors by Ingram Micro’s Renee Bergeron, vice president of managed services and cloud computing. “But where do you start?” asked Bergeron. “Look at your portfolio and classify it,” she said.
If you are already delivering non-cloud solutions that are profitable and growing, explains Bergeron, stay the course. If you’re delivering services but struggling to maintain the in-house skill set to continue providing quality services, or your close rate is not high, or you do not have a repeatable process for acquiring new customers, consider cloud solutions.
Finally, said Bergeron, look at the solutions you are not offering today. If you want to offer them to clients but don’t have the resources, partner with Ingram Micro. “If you realize you can’t do it all, create partnerships to do so.”