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

Episode · 1 month ago

How UCC Resellers And Service Providers Are Moving Forward After The Pandemic

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Brought about by the recent pandemic, selling patterns of resellers and service providers have changed—focusing more on how to expand customer offerings rather than just new customer acquisition. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Barb Buchnowski, senior account executive at Ingram Micro, about: 

- How selling patterns are changing

- The PLANS framework

- Emerging tools from Ingram Micro 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, DOT INGRAM MICRO DOT com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Scare Hawk, and our guest today is Bar Buck Nowski, senior account executive for Ingram micro. Barb, welcome Nice Shelby. It's great to be here. Thanks. Yeah, well, today we are talking about how, you see, resellers and service providers are really moving forward after the pandemic. But first, Barb, let's talk about what's trending. So are you seeing selling patterns changing with Ingram micro partner community and especially with in UCC resellers? Yes, yes, we definitely are. So great question. I remember, you know, as we started the new year, that we got an email from our vp of security, racle, and he was looking like into two and kind of reviewing and talking about, you know, the customer segments that Ingram sells into. So when you look at it, is about, you know, twenty five thousand companies, resellers that we sell into, and they've got various titles. You've got of our evaluated reseller. We've got solution providers, nsps, cloud service providers, but one of the biggest segments is the MSPs, right, the managed service providers, and they really stand out because they had reached three hundred billion in sales, which had doubled in just four years, so really some incredible growth. And then if you go even deeper within these MSP...

...s, there's a segment in there that I think is growing in it's a telecommunications companies who traditionally weren't doing business with distribution, you know, with standard distribution, and I think their growth is coming from a couple of things. You know. First is, you know, telecommunications companies already understand the MSP financial model. Right, it's kind of a stretch for some of the traditional guys, but for a telecommunications company they're already selling to end users on a monthly, recurring contractual basis, right. They've been selling voice and data for many years, twenty years most of them. So you know, they understand that sales cycle. They understand how to compensate their salespeople. You know, we use the term pivot, you know, when a when a reseller has to learn a new way of doing business. But in the financial side of an MSP, telcos get it right. They've been doing it for a long time. But in the same veime, though, they have been doing it with just a couple of services, right, voice and data, and so the pivot they had to make was, how do I expand my offerings? How do I expand my you know, and get more sophisticated in my security practice and my firewalls, et Cetera, so that I can own more of that customer. So a lot of them really looked into that crystal ball, probably about, you know, five years ago, and recognize that there was an opportunity that they could capitalize because at that point, you know, the cloud was just coming on the scene and really burgeoning. So, you know, in that respect they did have to make a pivot and, you know, they made the investment. There was a lot of heavy lifting for them to vet out the vendors. Who am I going to align with? I need to get my vendor certifications, I have got to train my entire technical staff. So, you know, it's a lot of work, but I believe it's really paying off and we're witnessing these telecommunications companies with an expansive technology...

...stack now offering cybersecurity and manage dusty whin and managed endpoints. So it's smart, you know, it's it's a killer way to expand their business and sell additional services to their existing customer base. And so, with all that in within this MSP market, some of those telecommunications companies are really rise into the top and are some of the top MSPs that Ingram's working with. Well, yeah, so I mean speaking of of pivot. You know, the entire market has has pivoted and, uh, it's been interesting to see the people that have really come out on the other side, uh successfully, the ones that kind of set themselves up well for success. So I wonder if you can share kind of a recent win or or an example of a partner's success story. Sure, sure, Yep. So again one I'm closest to, one of my one of my customers, but we had a recent win that again I think back to, you know, their end user coming to them right and thinking they're just gonna get some network services. So I'm talking to my end user and Oh, you know, I want to do some savings on my network costs. Can you help me? You know. But now that conversations changed and the salesperson can say and Oh, by the way, Mr End user, we've got an entire suite of services that we can offer you and you know, let's do a deep dive and on what your need there. So on this solution that we had, it was a it's a pretty well known retailer, hundreds of locations across the US and Canada, and the final solution that came up was a, you know, multi vendor solution that replaced the MPLS that the end user had with managed s d whan into all locations. You're talking about a voice platform with integrated Microsoft teams manage firewall, managed standpoints and then network fail over to a five g network. So...

...you know, not only is this TELECO company a more valued partner to the end user, but let's look at the monetary side of that, you know. I mean five years ago, had it just been a voice in data maybe it's three to five thousand and a monthly recurring right to the partner. And now with all these additional services, you've got get closer to a sixty thous dollar a month customer for this telecommunications partner. So it's a smart way to do business and you're just, you know, owning more of the customer and that's where it's at. And it's helpful for the customer too, because you know, they we've seen a lot of shift to consumption models and to all of these things that you know, companies adjusting to how their end users are, their customers, want to consume their technology, service and products. So that example that you're giving to me, it sounds a pretty complex sale. Are there certain components that really comprise a typical you SEC solution for for end users? Yeah, yeah, there really is, and I think a lot of times people look at you see see that it's it's not complex, but it really can quickly turn into quite a complex sale if you really look at all aspects of it. And what we find is a lot of partners leave some of those things on the table because they're not capable or they don't feel they're capable, they don't reach out to someone to really try to help them. So we did put together an acronym that we things helps partners to identify and check the list, if you will, on on all the components of a typical sale. So it's called plans, P, L A N S, and I can go through like each one. It is kind of high level of what each one of the components are within that, you know. So P is for the platform. So typically what this means, I mean everybody, every business has a communications platform. Right, it's either a old on premise phone system and or it's in the cloud acronym. So you...

...know, when you're looking at the at the platform or the voice platform that somebody is working with, you're gonna think of vendors like, you know, eight by eight Microsoft teams, Ring Central, intermedia, Cisco. But everybody's got one that either they want to change and move away from or when that you're going to need to work with. So that's the P of where we start with with all solutions. Next you go into location, right, so where's everybody working from? And used to be an easy answer. Right, everybody's in the office. Now we're in post covid don't I'm anywhere in the world. So but you still need to understand where they're working from and how many users are in each one, because you've got to right size the bandwidth in order to have a good voice quality. So a little more to that these days, but you still have to understand that that equation on it. Next we go to the accessories, right, so the A and here is like the tangible piece of hardware, the actual device that's going to help you communicate. So this is, you know, your office phone, your cell phone, your soft phone, your headset, your laptop, and then, if you're going beyond maybe just an office, if you're in like a warehouse setting, as well, paging system, door alarm, the fax machines, camera surveillance, which is becoming very big. So again, you don't want to leave any of these for someone else to do. Ask The questions so that we can really fulfill the entire solution. Next we're going too ads, and we go to the network side of it. So this is essentially internet connectivity, right. Everybody needs it into their home and or business. And what I think, what most people don't realize, most of our partners are realized, is that Ingram Micro has a third party relationship with a provider that can provide any type of network that's needed, whether it's on Pls, whether it's cable, whether it's Tjan's D I a s. So we've got that relationship and then we can and the partner gets paid again what everybody wants, on a monthly recurring revenue on those sale else so that's on the network side.

And then lastly is the services, and this is where I think Ingram has really got our secret sauce right, because this is, you know, you're doing all this design and I'm quoting, and then at the at the very end, I consider kind of a pain in the butt right logistics, and it gets overlooked at the last minute, like, Oh boy, I've got to go do an install and I can't get to that geography. What do I do? Ingram, Michael, can help you with something like that. I need some temporary warehouse space so I can keep all this stuff and keep the same unit in stock for a project that I'm doing. We can help you with that. Configuration services. It doesn't make sense to bring it all the way into my warehouse if my guys do it and ship it back out right. Ingram can help you with those types of services. Staging and kidding of bundles, which are becoming very popular. We can do all that for you. And last let financing. So I think this is kind of the red ribbon that on any kind of project, if someone can take some of that off your plate, you're going to have a good experience for you and for the end user. Yeah, well, it's nice to have a partner that can do some of the heavy lifting. So, you know, we we've talked about this, uh, this overview of kind of how Ingram looks at the big picture when designing these UCC solutions, kind of this plan plans acronym. But, like you mentioned, you know there's this can also mean higher mmr sales for Ingram Micro partners because you're really incorporating this multi vendor solution into it. So are there any other tools that are coming out from Ingram that can help partners? Yes, so, do you like? That's a soft boss, sharby shelby. So thank you, but we are super excited about it's just coming on the market and our partners are going to be hearing more and more about it. But all these companies right, we're all going through this transformation and Ingram in and of itself is going through kind of...

...a transformation that we think is really going to alter how we do business with our partners and our vendors, you know, in the future. So you know it's an initiative that we're calling and naming expantage, and essentially it's it's our digital transformation. But more broadly, it's like personalization for our partners. Right, so all those terms you hear, the artificial intelligence and the machine learning, but it's going to be used to create that individualized experience based on the partners activities. So yes, is it going to be that Amazon aws experience? That and then a whole, you know, a whole lot more behind it. So Send Soa. Who saying that? Right, he's there. He's a chief digital officer, but he did make this quote and I thought it was a good way to to explain it. He describes it as it's like having like a fifty four billion dollar company backing up our partner community to advance their business, making them better profitable and create and capture value. An expantage is not just a website or any Commons platform. It's a platform for our partners, for our vendors, for our employees, making it really into an ecosystem. So there's a ton of excitement within Ingram. I can tell you that we've recruited a lot of top talent within Ingram that are now part of this initiative. So, frankly, for all of us, we think it's going to be a game changer within distribution. I'm just curious what's the timeline for expantage? So Beta started June six with some of our partners that it started it and I would say, you know, the New Year is when we're really going to be seeing it. Partners will be able to touch and feel it on a more broad basis. Well, you know, I think we'll we'll definitely be talking more about expantage on the podcast here, but as we start to head into the second half of what UCC trends are...

...using in this post covid world? Yeah, super, super question and I'm always talking right to some of our strategic vendors were already, you know, working with our partners on different projects that they have. So you know, what we're seeing and what I'm seeing from them and hearing from them is that, you know, one is videos here to stay right? It's kind of crazy to think of it, but voices no longer than number one way which people communicate and you know, maybe that's been going on for a while. But text messaging isn't it either, these new mobile messaging APPS. They've got like two billion users, and so the appeal and what people are looking for is that, you know, it's going to meet the customer where they already are, it has the ability to incorporate features like e commerce and then it improves that customer experience. So that's one of the first ones that I'm really recognizing. That's taking hold, you know. Secondly, I think, is for offices and conference rooms. You know, around the world they're changing right there, morphing and everybody's trying to right size the workspace. And if you think about it now, if you go into your office and even if you have a meeting, of the people on it meeting are going to be virtual, and so our conference rooms are really taking up lessed real estate. So here again, you know, I called our partners to work with us. We get asked all the time, right, help me put together a design of the future, and I want a good, better, best design, right. So I needed at this price point, this price point and this price point, and I want the technology to get better with each and so we really spend our time we're very thoughtful every customer's difference. So this is truly a customized design. And then for the people that are staying home, and I think now people are getting word from their employers, like you,...

...are permanently staying home now. They want the good stuff, right, they want to they want the good technologies to be in their home. And so, you know, webcams are getting much more sophisticated and your headsets are, you know, noise canceling and you can't hear anything. So that's where it's at for the home user, really getting just more sophisticated technology because they know that's where they're going to stay. And then we'll act. Say, I think it's just again a focus on customer needs, right. We seem to keep hearing that right, their customer experience. And you know you've got IOT, the Internet of things, you've got five G. those are all kind of newer technologies coming out and you know, the consumers a conscientious consumer and they're driving more nuanced approach to their engagement. And so that's what that's what they're looking for and that's what they're demanding from their partners. And and again we've got the team that can help you address any of those items as you put together those kinds of solutions for you, for your end users. Well, and you're right, the consumer is very sophisticated. We're hearing US some themes kind of emerge on the podcast here, and one of them is that, you know, it's not the reseller that's approaching their end user that's, you know, looking for this solution, it's the end user asking for the solution. What do you have that you can do this not having to really pitch these these concepts to end users. So it's it's it's important to have all of these tools kind of vine your your arsenal right, right, right, and a lot of partners don't and that's why I keep, you know, our our SDNS, right, a sale solution design team. That's what they're there to do. I think people think, Oh, I'm just going to call them because I'm just looking for a partnerber, but you can talk to them and, you know, you can spend an hour on the phone really diving deep and then they'll talk to the end user and and ask you know, once I talk about the UTC, do we talk about, you know, the paging? Did we talk about the you know the displays that...

...we talked about, the kiosk, because if you really go into a full again, going back to the plans, there's a lot to it and a lot of our partners may not know and understand. So they shy away. Don't shy away, come to us. We're going to help you design those solutions. That's really going to be, again, a good experience. So, yeah, the customer knows what they want. They've got a concept of I wanted to look and feel like this, and now help me get there, MR partner. Well, for listeners who want to find out any more about what we talked about today, um, happy. Specific questions about anything, we're just got us. How can they reach out? Yeah, so there's always your your ingram sales rep to start our technical team, the SDNS team. Again, they've got pockets, and our UCC team, again is doing these types of designs all day long, and so I would start there and if they don't have anybody else, and certainly they can come to me, Barbaknowski, senior a e at Ingram, I'm more than happy to help them and direct them to the right persons within our organization. Excellent. Well, Barbara, really appreciate all of the time and the insight. Thank you so much for joining me. It was my pleasure, shelby. I really enjoyed it. Thank you, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two be tech talk with Ingram micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby Scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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