Collaborative Services Increase VAR Sales Opportunities
(Nashville, TN) — Partnering with other companies to improve business success is not a new proposition or exclusive to the channel, but has become a hot topic of interest in the last few years. For solutions providers, two distributor programs are centered on collaboration: Ingram Micro's VTN (VentureTech Network) and Tech Data's Tech Select. Each group has a large community of VAR members that meet several times a year to discuss topics that enhance their businesses and customer service. The latest meeting of the VTN group (March 14-16, 2007) highlighted the opportunities for VARs that partner with other channel partners to deliver nationwide services, from implementations to break/fix repair.
The IMSN (Ingram Micro Services Network) is a national network of VARs that join forces to implement solutions and provide continued support for customers. "Our VTN community was instrumental in the development of many of our initiatives, including the IMSN and the Seismic managed services program," said Kirk Robinson, VP of channel marketing for Ingram Micro.
Robinson says approximately 70% of the IMSN group are VTN members, demonstrating how these partners value collaboration. Ingram's solutions providers (not just IMSN members) can use the network when bidding on projects beyond their geographical reach, or when customers demand they offer local support in areas where a VAR has no offices. For example, if you sell a banking solution to a customer with offices throughout the United States, you can use the IMSN network to perform implementations and provide support services for locations where you have no resources. Collaboration also can help you expand your solution capabilities. For instance, the collaborative services group could be engaged when a customer wants a solutions provider to add digital signage to a POS (point of sale) system, and the VAR doesn't have that particular experience.
New Invention A Success With IMSN Support
Solution and service opportunities grow exponentially with collaboration. Many VARs are using new alliances to increase their revenue and lower their delivery and support costs. Others are leveraging the IMSN network to target new markets or larger customers or to help launch innovative new products or services. GenX Solutions relies on the IMSN to support its combination videoconferencing, robotics, and network autographing solution. LongPen allows authors and celebrities to sign books and memorabilia remotely, with live video interaction between the participants. "We are building 150 robots and expect to use them at least two times a week, which means we need the VTN/IMSN to service and set them up across the country," said Martin Warren, VP of sales for GenX.
GenX's reliance on its VAR partners is well-founded. When a customer's WAN went down prior to a planned event, GenX's IMSN partner stepped in to offer the use of its own office when replacement parts couldn't be obtained in time. Collaboration typically allows VARs to exceed the expectations of their customers and ensures additional product and services sales.