Small Business IT Distribution Specialist Reports Sales Growth

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Netbooks, notebooks, mobile devices and the wireless solutions that keep them all connected drove sales higher by 6 percent at D&H Distributing in the first quarter, the privately held IT distributor reports.

Strength in netbooks, notebooks and overall mobility solutions has driven D&H Distributing to a 6 percent growth in sales during the calendar first quarter of 2009—a time when other IT distributors have reported double-digit declines in sales.

D&H announced the results the week of May 4. But it's important to note that D&H is not a publicly held company and is not bound by the same strict reporting requirements that publicly held companies must follow.

The following technological categories that have seen double-digit year-over-year growth rates for the quarter, according to D&H:

  • Notebooks/netbooks:              54 percent
  • Mobile devices:                       41 percent
  • Processors/components:          39 percent
  • Server products:                      35 percent      
  • Storage/security:                      28 percent
  • Networking:                            17 percent

Co-president Dan Schwab attributes D&H's sales strength to the company's model, which he says focuses on demand generation and providing every partner with a dedicated sales rep. Schwab says D&H's moves to add more sales reps, increase credit offers to partners, and "double down" on training and education have added to the success.

Also, D&H focuses on small businesses and consumer businesses rather than the enterprise, which has been much harder hit during the current recession, says Schwab.

But other trends follow what you might expect in a recession. For example, IT vendors have offered more aggressive programs to their partners, Schwab says, such as increased incentives, rebates and discounts.

However, Schwab says he hasn't seen a relative increase in refurbished equipment sales over new equipment sales. Instead, he says, D&H's most successful partners have focused on selling solutions rather than single products. For example, a mobile solution could include a notebook, wireless services and security, he says.

Schwab also points out that the technology industry layoffs have created a greater interest in startup businesses.

"You can draw analogies to 2001 and 2002," he says. "A lot of the layoffs occurred in the technology industry then, but we saw a huge growth in new reseller interest [in] the market."

However, those new resellers don't contribute significantly to revenue right away. Rather, they are healthy seeds for future business, says Schwab.
Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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