B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 year ago

Sitting down with Kirk Robinson | President's Club Series

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Start getting comfortable being uncomfortable. 

In order to deliver real innovation to your industry in 2020, it’s going to take some risk. It’s also going to take the willingness to learn and try out unconventional solutions. 

In this episode of B2B Tech Talk live from the U.S. Sales Kickoff, guest host James Carbary of Sweet Fish Media catches up with Kirk Robinson, Chief Country Executive at Ingram Micro. 

James and Kirk discuss:  

  • How Ingram Micro is creatively helping partners run their businesses more effectively 
  • Why taking calculated risks is necessary for growth 
  • How Ingram Micro is helping partners better serve their customers  

Follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Sponsored by Ingram Micro President’s Club and Ingram Micro Financial Solutions. 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. You can also listen on our website.

You're listening to be tob tech talkwith Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances beforethey become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micros Presidents Club, wherewinners are made. All right, let's get into the show. Welcome backto Beb Tech Talk. Today we are Ingram Micros US sales kickoff and BuffaloNew York. Writing is James Carbery on one of the producers of the show, and I'm joined today by Kirk Robinson, the chief country executive and Ingram microus. Kirk, how you don't there? I'm good. Thanks forhaving me. I am I'm really, really excited to job with you,Kurk. People have been saying great things about these things that you've been sharingin your inter sessions. In your key note that you did, I thinkit's a few months ago, at the best of breed confidence, you saidthat in this industry you have to get...

...comfortable being uncomfortable. Can you talkto us about that? Yeah, absolutely. I think in our industry the rateof change happened so quickly from technology and the need to continue to progressthat you have to find a way to be comfortable even when you're uncomfortable,whether it's learning a new technology, taking on a new role, getting upon stage and speaking, whatever it is, you have to find a way tobe comfortable because that's how you grow up. And Susan did a fantastictough of yes, getting up on absolute absolutely full leather out. Yes,we talked very proud over we talked to her about that in another episode.Really, really cool to see folks from the team really embracing this idea ofgetting comfortable being comfortable. You've talked also about how innovation isn't just about technologyor software, but it's really about creatively trying to figure out how to helppartners run their business more effectively. What...

...are some of the ways that you'veseen this happened, seen a play out? Yeah, I would say for us, since channel financing, our finance team has done a phenomenal job ofbeing very creative, listening to our customers, to their needs, and then developingthe right financial programs to help them grow. So an example would bedirect express, where we're basing the credit worthiness off of the end user,because sometimes our partners may win a deal that's larger than their credit line andwe don't ever want them to say no to business. So by using analternative financing program Ingram is still in the background and allows our partners to winmore large deals and find ways to fund the deals. Can you talk tous, Kirk, about the thinking behind how you guys ended up developing aprogram like that? What led you guys to that? Well, I thinkwhen we were public we were always creating new programs, but when we wentprivate it gave us a little more flexibility in our approach to what the customersneeds were and how we could use our...

...position being private and using our balancesheet, etc. To go out there and develop these different programs, andit's been received very well here. He said in your session earlier today that, as it relates to either your career or selling specifically, you have toplay chess when everyone else is playing checkers. How is this played out in yourcareer? Yeah, I think. I think when it comes to careers, we talked about it these days, about the difference between the ladder andthe lattice and how do you reach your desired goal. For me, Iactually read an article years ago about the CEO of Nokia taking his top forpeople and rotating them through each other's positions and the feedback from those individuals onwhat they learned. I was blown away and at that point I'd been insales my whole life. I went to my boss and said I want tolearn more about Ingram put me in on...

...another department. I'll learn for ayear or so and come back. So I ended up going into marketing andended up being six years because there were so many opportunities. But that wasa big signal to me to take risks and go out and book at takinglateral moves and moves out of your comfort zone, and so far it's paidoff. Yeah, you. You also talked in your session about how there'sreally only two paths when it comes to your career. You can take thepath toward fear or the path toward courage, and it sounds like by playing chessit kind of forces you into taking that path forward. It really reallydoes. You're not going to play chess and be successful at it if you'refearful. Yep, you. You have to have that strategy and when youhave a strategy there needs to be built in risks that you recognize. It'slike everybody says when you build a business, plan, but all changes the dayyou start your business, right. So it's no different in a careerand you're always going to be faced with...

...fear and courage, and I thinkit's more exciting to take the courage route. Yep, I totally agree. Thisoccurred. To truly help partners run their business more effectively, you've gota proactively ask the right questions. Can you talk about some of the questionsthat Ingram asks their partners in an effort to better serve them? Sure,I think it. At the very base you have to know the business ofthat customer and the way to do that is to ask and to have aconversation around it. What we're finding is there's no one definition of a customer. Very few people respond to us and say I'm of our and that's it. And when they say I'm an MSP, we've built in our system the abilityto go further down and say what percent of Your Business? Some mightsay three percent, some might say ninety three. Those are two different businessmodels, so we need two different conversations. Then it's about what type of servicesbreak fixed professional man edge to cloud. So it's really the continued journey oflearning more about your customer where they're...

...going and how you can help themget the something you said their current that I really like is you're proactively askingthose questions, but you're also building systems and structure around making sure absolutely,as are asking absolutely over and over and over again. I think that's reallydefinitely so I want to shift into into our fast five. So I'm goingto ask you five a rapid fire questions, cat and I'm excited to hear wouldyou have to say about it. The first one is, what doesone ingram mean to one ingram to me means bringing the collective forces of Ingrammicro to our partners to show them everything we can do for them to helpthem grow their business and solve their customers needs. What's coming up in twothousand and twenty with Ingram that you're really excited about? Oh, a wholelot. I think it's the continuous change of technology and when you just goout there and research what's coming down the...

...pipe and technology, you know AiFive, G R PA, robots, all the different things that can applyto so many different verticals. I think it's all very exciting. It's specificallyaround technology. What are elaborate on some of those new and exciting things intechnology that you're really excited I think for me it's Iot and a few yearsago it was very nebulous right the Internet of things. It was like theearly days of cloud. Trying to put your finger on it could be difficultat times. Now I think we're seeing solutions and multiple verticals that are justshowing everybody that potential of what could technology can do and how it can helpcustomers and in uses be more efficient, cost efficient and be more profitable.Any specific going to use cases of ID that, if that have popped outfor you? Yeah, we hired somebody who had a solution for Disneyland andthey solved as you know, their garbage...

...men go around Disneyland and they havea route. Will. What they do is they put censors on the canso instead of just doing the usual route, they now know which cans are overflowing. So instead of having overflowing trash at your park, they now havesmart on IPAD and they can instead of doing the usual route, now theygo to where the garbage needs to be cleaned up. So something that mayseem mundane meets the means the world to Disneyland. Right, happiest place onearth can't be dirty. Yep, so totally agree. What were some accomplimentsin two thousand and nineteen current that you and your team are really proud of? I think it was really getting the buy in from the team to takethat deeper dive in with our customers and what we saw come out of that. The before this event I asked for some success stories and I was completelyoverwhelmed with stories of how we went back to one ingram and pulled different peoplefrom different departments that then help solve our customers need. So I would saythe primary was US starting to better understand...

...the customer and we have a waysto go to really completely separate ourselves, but but that's the goal. Andtechnology grew and multiples there and multiple areas are cloud business. We invested earlyon and we invested heavily and we're starting to see that come to fruition.Our cloud sales are booming. All right. I want to close with with afinal question, something that I've got a sneaking suspicion that you're really passionateabout this topic, based on how a lot of this conversation is gone.But what can partners do to create an incredible customer experience. With theirs,I think it just rolls downhill. They need to understand the needs of theircustomers and how technology can solve their needs, and that's when they lean on apartner like Ingram micro and all the resources that we have. So it'sthe same game going downstream. They have to know their customers at the intimatelevel if they're going to be that trusted...

...advisor. Can you can you elaboratea little bit currigon? You guys have obviously had to do this at amuch larger scale than, I would imagine a lot of your partners. Butyou guys have figured out a way to SYS systematically understand your your partners better. And how can your partners then go about doing that for their customers?Well, some of it comes back to knowing what Ingram micro has to offeroffer you. It goes back to we don't ever want a customer saying noto a deal and in order for that to happen, and it can beoftentimes, the hardest job we have is letting our partners know everything we cando, whether it's professional services, where they win a deal but it's thethousand store rollout and they don't have the bench ward. That's where Ingram comesin. It could be any type of financial solution that may seem daunting.That's when you bringing your micro. You...

...may need a bench of field technicalengineer who certified in the Pur sort of bender. That's ring microcause it reallystarts with knowledge and knowing what's available to you absolutely and with that knowledge,get to know your customer needs and get to know all the solutions and servicesthat you can bring to you correct thank you so much for your time.This is an incredible really appreciate you've been listening to be tob tech talk withIngram micro. This episode is sponsored by Ingram Micros President's club. Be Tobtech talk is a joint production by sweetish media and Ingram micro. Ingram microproduction handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To make sure you never miss anepisode, subscribe today in your favorite podcast player.

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