Ingram Micro NZ managing director Jason Langley spotlighted the tools behind the distributor's partnership strategy at the company's global conference yesterday.
Backed by key members of his leadership team, Langley said the strategy was not just about "selling more stuff" but about partnering and providing more tools to help Ingram's customers grow their businesses.
Ingram Micro had designed and developed the tools to to "wrap around" or support complete, multi-vendor solution sales.
"We've also added more ways for you to improve your margin profile and to create more complete solutions for your customers," he said.
These included new finance initiatives, end user training and environmentally friendly ways to dispose of or repurpose old IT equipment, potentially with some cash coming back.
He also highlighted Agency Ingram Micro, or AIM, the company's marketing services team which in recent years has been expanded to help both vendor and reseller partners with marketing support and lead generation and development.
Barbara Kidd, general manager Ingram Micro Cloud NZ, said the focus for partners should be on how to provide the best value for customers. They needed to scale and Ingram Micro was helping them to do that and to "do more with more," she said.
Partners needed to simplify their cloud offerings by creating bundles and specialist bundles with their own services wrapped around.
Many partners struggled with digital marketing, she said, but this was essential for cloud sales. Ingram Micro had developed a go-to-market hub with ready-built sales and marketing assets.
Managing monthly subscriptions created additional workloads for partners, so Kidd urged them to integrate Ingram Micro's cloud technology with their billing systems through free APIs and automation.
Partners should also consider using Ingram's white label marketplace to allow their customers to self serve, she said. This reduced the partner's time and cost to serve.
Infrastructure as a service was one high-growth area where partners could shine, Kidd said, using Ingram Micro's infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) centre of excellence to help build their status as trusted advisors and protect their profitability.
Jamie Hall, advanced solutions general manager, said the priority to help customers succeed hot changed, but how this was being done had through the rapid shift to online, contactless, interactions.
Technology had been a key enabler of the way interactions had changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ingram Micro's partnership with Using Technology Better for instructor led or self-paced training could help customers get the most out of their investments, be more productive and efficient and to better serve customers in the new environment.
Jarrod Watson, general manager enterprise and commercial sales, emphasised the emerging opportunity of internet of things (IoT). Unfortunately, standards and interoperability were sometimes lacking.
An Ingram Micro centre of excellence in the US was established to showcase how IoT could add value to key verticals, he said.
Meanwhile, the local team had been working with a small number of channel partners who had shown an interest in creating an IoT practice. This had helped Ingram identify new vendors to represent in the local market.
More than ten specialty IoT vendors had been added to existing offerings from Ingram Micro's core networking vendor partners.
"Ingram Micro's plan is to make it easy for you to provision a mixed vendor, carrier agnostic IoT service for you to deliver to your customer, all served up on a single dashboard for easy digestion of data," Watson said.
Director of finance Craig Page explained how Ingram Micro was helping partners with finance and credit as credit in the market tightened. IT leasing and financing options were available, he said, and not just for new sales but for existing infrastructure on, for example, a sale and lease back arrangement.
For partners and their customers that freed up cash to allow IT equipment to be replaced every three years.
Education was also available, with finance teams working with go-to-market teams to educate them on the best use of working capital.
"Once deal evaluation is ingrained in the business you can then be sure that when deals are being completed both profit and working capital are being looked at together," Page said.
That could ensure that deals were put together in ways to ensure more profit for the business.