Ingram Trims the Fat for SMB VARs

By John Hazard  |  Print this article Print


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Ingram Micro is rededicating its SMB Alliance community of small business VARs with fuller support, but for 1,500 fewer partners.

Distributor Ingram Micro recast its SMB Alliance community for small and midsize business market VARs with fuller support, but for 1,500 fewer partners.

The distributor cut the group to 3,500 VARs from a peak of 5,000, but stuffed the program with more benefits and support including financing programs, SMB targeted marketing, customized vendor programs and peer-to-peer networking that have become a hallmark of Ingram's VAR communities.

The program is refocusing on enabling SMB VARs to drive sales through the community, said Justin Crotty, Ingram's vice president of channel marketing. Part of that includes strengthening the group base, he said.

"The program used to be a self-service value menu," Crotty said. "You could dial a value or not. We're re-energizing the organization around updated sales goals to drive those benefits to partners."

"We want to be a better partner to those in the program," he added. "Previously it was a larger scale, but there were partners who didn't even realize they were in the program."

Ingram has had success with partners in its other partner communities, GovEd Alliance, Ingram Micro Service Network and VentureTech Network, based largely on enthusiastic member support, Crotty said.

"One of the most valuable benefits solution providers gain from joining SMB Alliance is the peer-to-peer networking," said Peter DiMarco, Ingram's vice president and general manager of VAR sales.

"In addition to sharing best practices, the community empowers solution providers to openly discuss business models and use one another's expertise to complement their own technical or service capabilities."

Partners in Ingram's other communities have used the peer-to-peer network to partner on projects, extending their reach and capabilities.

The organization gives manufacturers an opportunity to reach an interested audience and target marketing dollars to a particular customer set and see real traction in the numbers, Crotty said.

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He expects manufacturers to develop specific programs for the organization.

Further benefits include:

  • Face-to-face business skills and training

  • Training tools on business processes, operations and profitability

  • SMB-specific financing programs with net-45-day terms on all purchases made through financing partner Textron

  • SMB-specific leasing program offers members a $50 credit memo for every deal made after initial deal is completed

  • Free shipping on Ingram Micro Outlet transactions

  • Discounted Ingram Micro help desk offerings

  • Access to Ingram's TAP (Technology Assessment Profile) application to audit and assess new SMB clients

  • CompTIA membership, discounts on Dunn & Bradstreet membership and reports, business insurance and discounts on OfficeMax purchases, FedEx shipping and Sprint long distance

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