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

Episode · 3 months ago

The power of customized solutions and solution selling with Ingram Micro

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The time of blindly writing checks for pre-packaged finance solutions is coming to a close—customized solutions based on attentive listening are taking over, with better results for all parties. 

Solution selling unlocks your company's potential in a way that lasts. 

Devaughn Bittle and Patrick Cash speak with Melanie Delvalle, Director of Customer Finance, Anthony Mackle, SVP and CFE, US and John Bak, Executive Director of Financial Solutions, all of Ingram Micro, about: 

- Solution selling and the importance of listening

- Customized solutions and long-term impacts

- Advice for resellers being creative with end customers 

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 be two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, a place to learn about how to grow your business and stay ahead of the technological advances before they become mainstream. Welcome to our series, as the gears turned posted by two of Ingram Micro's SMB alliance council members, Devin biddle and Patrick Cash. Devin, it's been what a month and a half now since unplused, since we saw each other in uh, in Buffalo, New York. That's right, and you know I mean it's been almost as long since we've done a podcast. I've missed you, I gotta I gotta admit yes, likewise. Likewise. And we've got a couple of folks that join us today that we had the benefit of being able to see in person for the first time in a few years and uh enjoyed a a cigar or three, depending on when you got started and when you finished. The back alley, I believe exactly it was. You know, we carved out a corner and uh, you know, just kind of had some fun and got to catch up with with a lot of great people. We're gonna be chatting today with Melanie delvell, the director of customer finance, John Back, the executive director of financial solutions, and Anthony McKell, the CFO of America's with Ingram Micro. So, Anthony Mel John, thanks for joining us today. Thanks for having us. Thank you. Let's dive in. I'm gonna take your first question, Devon, because, Um, you know, there was a pause there. I'm just we're just gonna flip the script here. We had a pre call Um a couple of weeks back and you know, one of the first things that we talked about, Anthony, was, you know, as partners, how can we make more money, save more money, get more money? Let's talk about some intros into Ingram finance and what you guys bring to the table for us. Yeah, so what we were talking about was again, what's happening in the economy, you know, what we think is going to happen and what we do in certain cases. And again, the conversation really started around I was sharing that I've been in the industry over thirty years and when I first started in, I mean I was working for a company in Cleveland in the in the early nineties, and we were selling s four hundreds and we're making margins on it and we as we as we joked about, you're not making twenty five percent margins on any hardware today. And it was the same thing. I mean we were selling components, we were selling software and we were making double digit margins on it and it was you know, we've seen it decline over time and we've seen you know, I joined Ingram in and the first thing I saw was a bunch of our partners trying to make the pivot. How do we go from being hardware, software sales two into many services? And that was the first pivot. And then, as we talked about, I saw a second pivot which has happened recently and it's a it's with our cloud service providers, and it doesn't matter if you're born in a cloud or moving into the cloud. We've seen margin pressure on that business as well. And what we've talked about again is we're seeing a second pivot. Now. It is how do you transition from from being a traditional, you know, hardware software centric business to be in a MSP and we said in that world, that's where Ingram micael really stepped in and we haven't seen anybody, any of our competitors, up to the task. Where we've stepped in to facilitate and try and help that transition. And again, what we've seen is in the typical transition there's a significant drain on cash flow. And what we talked about it don't I don't really care if you're if you're trying to get into services or you're growing your business very fast. Both of these cause a cash flow constraint. And again it's how does Ingram micro and I'm...

...gonna hand off to the experts in this that are on this call with me, but the point we were trying to make and the point we were discussing was, you know, what are we seeing in the industry as well? How do you move if we do see a downturn in the business? What would you do? All the actions you would take, and we'll get into, you know, a lot more of that, but one of the discussions was, you know, particularly in in and I've been in the industry and we've seen kind of kind of compared it to a sine graph. You see a peak and then you see a trough in the business. So what do you do to pull projects forward? And we really got an example of this when we hit covid in early and what we saw was we saw businesses, and this is an absolute statistic, which is business as they use financing and grow faster than those who don't. And we actually saw a specific example of and tested that concept within Ingram, because in when we hit the pandemic, most of our business went down double digit. But what we saw, and we pulled the numbers and we saw that anybody who used financing, don't care whether it was managed service, contract financing leasing, are some of our in house programs like direct express, they actually grew double digit. So we had a live tests on how do you use financing to actually grow your business faster than everybody else, and you and I got into a conversation particularly about one of our customers who came to us and said I want to double my business, and we actually helped, and Melanie was part of this, teach them, teach their sales team how do you sell financing? So what we've seen is that we can, you know, dig deeper into this. What we've seen is if you offer financing to your own customer, it's not that they always use it, but you clearly differentiate yourself from your competition because you're offering something that they are not. So it's just another reason for you to win business. That makes a lot of sense. So I also want to throw out there. I mean we're in challenging times today with inflation, reduced margins, labor shortages is a big issue across the board with, I think, everybody. Can you kind of talk a little bit more to that? Anthony, a great, great question. So one of the things that we've been really talking a lot to our partners about this automation. Ai. How do you? How do you? Because again, the labor market, Labor is going to increase. We know this. So what should you be focused on? Okay, most of the you know me as a CFO, most of my peers that I know about would tell you we're looking at how do you take costs out of our business, whether it's automation, whether it's moving business to the cloud, with and you can show us where, over the length of the project, is actually gonna end up saving us. So with a with a keen eye on savings, how do you bring forward projects that, over the long run, will actually save the company money or automated processes? That again, I mean Labor is in short supply. So you know, give alternatives, you know to the earlier conversation. You know, I said, you know in finance and gives you options. You need to also bring options in in the course of I mean, if labors want to be more expensive, what alternatives do they have overall project? If if you've got a CAPEX project versus apex, how do you bring that conversation, particularly to a CFOE? And I think we've we've proven this again and again. The conversation. It used to be you went to the C I o and you said,...

...you know, we'll sell you this piece of hard will sell you this piece of software and you go ahead and implement that. In the conversation today includes a much broader group and I will almost bet every time it includes the CFO or somebody who's going to be deep into does this give us the right return for our business? So it's it's the acumen and the conversation has to change. It's no longer just a pitch, an I t pitch. It now includes a lot broader base in the company. You've got to bring that overall value proposition. So I think that one of the things that I've said earlier on is it's become solutions selling versus you know, here's a piece of hardware, here is a piece of software. It is you have to sell. What's the outcome? Right, you're you're getting to a finished product versus just, you know, the odds and ends to make it work. And so, John Melanie, I want to back up just a second and let's talk about some of those financing options because you know, to Anthony's point, being able to be creative in how you're presenting, you know, how we're presenting as resellers to our customers. It's a great add and yeah, they may not use it, they may have their own vehicles, they may look at it and go, I'm willing to right a check for it. That's great, but the alternatives do exist and you know so let's talk about some of those real real briefly and how we can apply them. So I'll jump in and Patrick, I love your point of saying okay, well, write a check. Well, for you as a partner, what a great way to have a conversation with your customer to find out is that the best way for them to spend a hundred thousand dollars? Yes, they can write a check for it to be able to pay for it today, but is that the best way they should be spending it, or does it make more sense to be able to finance their technology? Take the hundred thousand dollars, invest in a marketing person, invest in a business development person where they can then cash follow the payments where they're financing the technology. And I think that's such a misnomer in our marketplace where people say, Hey, I've got the cash. My end users strong, they've got the cash, but I'm going to say, is that the best way to spend the cash? So that's where really you have that strategic conversation to understand what are they looking to drive in their business and how do we create different financing offerings that can actually help them be more successful than writing a check? And now I would jump in just you know, around financing the deal. Right. We see deals all the time and trying to wrap the proper financing making those solutions available. We're finding ourselves more and more engaged with the CFOs of companies where we're not necessarily trying to find a way to finance a deal in the final hours, but how do we help the finance organizations within our partners find creative ways to finance or overall business. Right, your balance sheet, if you look at some of the traditional finance vehicles that have existed for a long, long time in our channel, means as finance organizations, look at their business, you see traditional working capital lines of credit which provide um financing to the business to kind of run the day to day and many of our traditional lenders focus on receivables inventory, and that's really it. When you think about where the market has gone and where, you know, the transformation, the transition from, you know, from a traditional bar selling product to now selling managed service contracts. One of the most valuable assets that our partners have are those contracts, right, and the value. But when you look at the collateral that they would provide to an asset based lender, it might be one thirty six of a three year contract, right, only that receivable. What we've been able to do kind of creatively is figure out ways to lend against the total contract value of that that Managed Service Contra raft that they may hold. And that's really the...

...uniqueness of our financing that we look at and say, yeah, traditional working capital lines of credits still work and they still, you know, are able to provide some liquidity to a business to run the day to day, but if you're looking to really collaterally use some of your most valuable assets as collateral, we're able to do that to our man service financing and allow you to tap into some additional financing. That goes kind of hand in hand. It doesn't compete with the traditional lenders, but it opens up additional doors for you to Finance Your Business. I think. I think, I just want to jump in for a quick second. I think also one of the critical things, at least for Ingram, and this is where we've tried to differentiate ourselves from just about everybody else, is the traditional financing companies look to finance the end user. They want that relationship with the end user. We don't. We actually look to you, our partner, as who are going to finance and we try to work aggressively to actually never show up to the end user. We don't want to be the face. That's your job, that's your customer, that's your client. We actually don't want that relationship. Refer not to and just about every financing program that we've put together we keep that in mind and that is absolutely unique. Well, and and Devon is going to ask a question about it, but I'm gonna lead into it for you, Devin Um. You know, subscription, individual subscriptions. You know, you think about Amazon prime or Netflix. You know, kind of got everybody, from a consumer standpoint, used to paying less over a longer period of time. And then, you know, Microsoft came along and rolled out office and so there became another model where it was just a lower recurring monthly charge and as individually, we've gotten more accustomed to just, you know, paying incrementally, but paying every month. That translates to exactly what we're talking about here, you know, in conjunction of, you know, a hardware solution and software solution, a services solution. And to Anthony's point in the beginning, you know, it's not there's three individual components, but it's what that does at the end. Yeah, thank you, Patrick. That was a great lead into this question that I'm getting ready to answer or ask. But so how do you move to an Opex of SASS SOLUTIONS FOR OUR BUSINESSES? So we're constantly I mean many of us have already moved in this direction with managed services and a lot of us are doing sass solutions and cloud services. But how do we do that? And how does how does Ingram financing fit into that? That play I love where all of us for you know, even though it's a podcast that no one can see us, I think we keep this part in because it's always fun to see everyone's eyes looking around, saying like, do you got this? Do you got this? So let me tick it off and then we can share a little bit of our perspectives. Everybody's so excited to answer that everybody's just waiting for the other person. That's what's happening here. So you guys just hit us with the great questions. What do you expect? But you know, I think to the point of the business is changing and it is transforming, so the days of writing a check are starting to disappear and more and more clients care less about the name on a hardware. They care about the solution that it does for their business right and I think that's where our biggest ask is is to have all of you talk to us to understand the different financing solutions that Ingram micro has, because there's different levers that we can pull. So, whether it's looking at John's team of financing the business and helping you make that pivot, or my team helping you to finance some of that hardware that needs to be funded up front. We come together, to Anthony's point, in a very unique way to make sure you have the ability to provide those solutions to meet your end customers needs as they look to just write a check monthly. But let me turn it over to the team to get the rest of their feedback. I'M gonna jump in Lee John, and then I'll hand over to you. You...

...know, when we first started doing this type of financing, it was we were learning as well, and I mean we started us about five years ago where we really started to see the pivots pick up speed. Before that it was it was individual transactions that we would finance or we would look to do this, and then what we found out afterwards is we could build a program at the very next day somebody would ask for something different. So what we started to learn over time was, you know, we come up with the slogan. We said, well, first of all, I mean within our group, we have a thing and it's get to yes, and that is how do you come up with yes? How do you figure out either transaction financing partner financing? What is it? What is it that we say is get to yes. So what we learned was you need to listen and then come up with the solution. You might have to create something that wasn't already in existence. I mean, when the pivot really started, we started to see where it depended on our partner. If you decrease your hardware software sales too fast, you really didn't have the financing, the finance you're growing as a monaged service provider. However, if you focus too much on it, then you weren't growing your services business. So it was there was not one size fits all. So what we had to start doing was basically creating on the fly, is the way I would say this. So it's IT'S A it's a tough question to answer because every partner's unique. We need to sit down, we need to understand what you're trying to accomplish and, other words, what what you're facing. We've seen a lot of our partners who got into brake fix and they said, okay, we're now a managed service provider. Well, the problem was that could be taken away from you very, very quickly. You needed to move more up the sack to a hybrid environment and basically get into a and get into analytics, where you were providing a bigger value to the partner, or security, where you couldn't be taken out and you couldn't be challenged. So it is. It's a difficult question to answer because, again, it's the uniqueness of each partner, but that's what we're trying to adapt to. So, John, sorry if I know that's that's all right. That's a great point, Anthony, because you're right. I mean we have evolved right as a finance credit organization in terms of trying to bring solutions that solve problems. Right, at the end of the day, that's what we're trying to do. We do have some can programs, but we've been very flexible. We want to sit down and understand what you're trying to solve and then be creative and create solutions that solve those specific needs that you have. You know, one example, you know whether you're looking at traditional credit support, you know, by expanding credit lines and being more flexible with payment terms for specific end users that you may have to pay you a little bit slower, or some of our more sophisticated solutions right, like we talked about, and its service financing which is really unique and helps with that, you know, that pivot as you look to grow that business. One example of where we wanted to sit down and understand some specific needs is we had a partner that was that was leveraging our managed service financing and had asked the question about using it and leveraging it to go make acquisitions, whether that would be something that they could do. We did not have that in our playbook, you know, at the time. But after we listened and understood how that partner was trying to, you know, grow through acquisition and established that bigger managed service footprint right by acquisition versus organically growing it. And if the contracts were there, that they were, you know, they were acquiring a company that had managed service contracts in a portfolio. It made all the sense in the world. So, you know, eventually we we evolved our offering, you know, to allow partners to make acquisitions use our funds to do that. So we found ourselves in the space that was offering acquisition...

...financing, which we had never originally started to go down in that path. So again it's understanding what partners trying to accomplish and then customizing solutions that solve those specific needs and we continue to do that. We continue to evolve. We know the solutions that we have today are not going to be you know, are not going to solve every deal that needs to be solved. Right. So we're we still have that appetite sit down and customized solutions as needed. So so the biggest takeaway I have from the answers from this question and and one thing I want to say, is like the solutions that Ingram brings from a financing perspective is far broader than what I ever expected it to be, and all three of you mentioned you know, we really need to find out. Each person is different, each company is different. We need to find out how that's going to fit with what you do. So my follow up to that is how do we first engage with you guys as partners, as Ingram customers? How do we first engage with your team to be go through our partner, our rep our account rep and and talk to them and then get engaged with you guys to have that business conversation of this is how we do things and where do we fit in? How can you guys help us? So I think you have a couple different options I would always keep your sales up engaged in the conversations that they know what's important to your business and what you're looking to drive. So we also have our credit and financial solutions team and some dedicated resources around supporting the SMB alliance. So we've got some people on John's team who are the credit analysts and then heather cop on my team who's on financial solutions. All of us work very closely together. So I would say reach out to your account rep and they'll get you connected, or reach out to financial solutions and we'll get you connected. But I would always make sure you include sales in the conversation just so they really understand what's strategically happening in your business. Great, hopefully the floodgates will open and you're gonna have lots of appointments. Now, well, they're going to call you for a reference. So perfect. Well, and I think John must have snuck a peek at our at our show notes Devon, because I mean it just kind of really took the next question before we even got to ask it. And just as normal with Ingram finance and this crew, Um, you know they're coming with they're coming with solutions before we even present the problem. So I'm going to skip ahead a little bit. Melanie. I understand at least a little that there's some like super secret velvet rope portion of the MSP, one hundred, and that maybe there's some special financing for for some of those members. Let's talk about that a little bit. Yeah, so we're really trying to help our managed service partners go after and grow their business. So there is the super secret velvet rope. Well, at a couple of people sneak under it, no more than a hundred. So we're really looking to work with the target group of customers to really partner together in our businesses collectively. That's where we're going to make sure that you have the dedicated support to be successful and what we're gonna do is give you some additional financial solutions, love and support. So we're gonna look at doing some things around waiving fees for our programs. We're gonna look at doing some things where you have the ability to have strategic conversations, so getting on the phone with somebody and having a business consultation to understand where are you looking to go and grow in Your Business. We're gonna do some things where where you're going to give you a hardware as a service leasing line, so as you need to buy product that you're going to be delivering as a service to your end customers, you'll have that dedicated line to be able to buy that product and pay for it over time. So it's really cool. If you're interested in being part of the Super Secret Msp one hundred, let me know and we're going to make sure that we get everybody vetted out. But it's really with US trying to partner together to give you differentiated solutions so that you could be more success...

...full in your business. That's great. So with the creativity you guys are bringing into financing, which for me, financing was always very cut and dry. You know, I want to borrow this, it's gonna cost me this much. So, guys, how can we as resellers, be more creative with our end customers like you are with us? You know, what advice can you give us on that? On that side, for being created with our customers using some of these services, I think it really starts in that business conversation, right. So just when you're in there and you're talking to your end customer and your understanding what their technology needs are. What are their grander business needs right what are they looking to do with their business? To Anthony's earlier point, is it something where you can recommend automation because you know they're going through a hyper growth and you know that it's going to be imperative for them to save costs? So, as a partner, when you're having that conversation with your clients, you know trying to stay outside of that technology piece but really understand where are they going in their business and or do they want to grow to your technology solutions are going to compliment and then we can come in with the financing to be able to help them. So, for example, right now we're coming into end of year, there's customers who may have budget to spend in customers who may have budget they need to push. If you know your customer has a critical deployment or they need to get an order in for a technology based on some of the supply chain constraints, but they're not ready to make payments until q one because of budget or cash flow, that's where we can come in and get creative. So my biggest recommendation is talk to your customers and understand what they're greater business objectives are so that we can marry together the technology and financing to help you be successful. Then the other thing, I mean a great answer, but the other thing I would add to this is the last place you want to bring in financing is after you've already quoted, and I've said this repeatedly, it's it's too late in the process to really get creative. So we partner who wanted to grow, and I mentioned this earlier on. We had a partner who wanted to grow and came to us and said do I want to do this is through financing. So I had US teach their sales team and how to sell financing and what we typically what we did is we give rate sheets for all different types of financing. But we said, back to Melanie's point, listen to what they're trying to do and then, even after something it bring us in as early in the process as you possibly can. And I'll give you an example that one customer went from a fifty million dollar business to a hundred million dollar business, was using financing. Came to me and we actually had him present at our our national sales event. What he said to the entire sales team of Ingram was. I go in and I offer financial solutions. Nine Times I'd attend. They do not use them, but I typically win over the competition because I'm offering something that they're not offer ring. And let me give you a just one example of this. So we were having, he was having a conversation. We're on a early, big engagement and what we said was we gave him the recommendation why not offer a consumption model, and it was a one consumption idea, something we've never offered before, but we came up based upon the facts that were laid out in front of us, and we both saw this as a huge win. If we could do this and pull it off, it was a huge win for us, for our partner and for the end user and would prove out something that we've tried to deliver from many, many years. So the point I'm trying to make on this is pull us in early into the conversation. So, to Melanie's point, feel out what is it, what is the partner trying to do? Then pull us in early as a partner into this and let us come up with a solution. Anthony, I would I would add that that's not only...

...just true for financing the deal right, but financing the business. We've had partners that have come to us and they didn't necessarily need the financing around managed service find manage service financing today, but they knew they were going to be going through, you know, a transition of their business and they might possibly need it down the road. When we underwrite the financing, we can provide commitments you know that you will have in your back pocket as you're out there signing managed service contracts and onboarding new end users, so that as one of those contracts is presented and you need financing, you have that commitment with Ingram. You can present it to Ingram, we do our due diligence and then we can fund against that contract. So at least you have that groundwork in place where if you need it, as you need it, as you continue to transform your business, it's going to be there and you can tap into it. So it's not exactly you know, it doesn't have to be a scenario where you know you're looking to pull the trigger out managed service financing today. You can get the structure in place, we can work with you and then you can use that your sales teams can use that to go hunt deals as you transform your business. I mean to you to your point, John. How many times have we come into a conversation where we thought it was about a and ended up at Z? It is based upon the conversation. So we we've had conversations with partners whore. It started out about I need to get off of my flooring line and it ended up that we ended up financing the company for for a employee buyout. It has gone, as I said, from A to Z. So the conversation just totally changed. The point I was trying to make is this is typically the conversation starts out with US listening, which is in a lot of cases it's hard to do. It's listening for what are you trying to accomplish versus? What are you asking for? And I think that's the best part about the SMB alliance community. Right. I think all of you share ideas and best practices, but I think it's critical to lean on us as well, because we have conversations with partners who are in various journeys of their managed services transitions. They're working with different verticals and different end user types. So the biggest thing I want the audience to really understand is don't ever feel like you're alone on an island, that you're the one, only one who's facing these challenges either in your business or your client's business, because you have resources that have a pretty deep perspective of the channel and can help guide you through those conversations well. And it's a ton of great info that we're really covered up to this point. And you guys probably all remember it started like in the early two thousand's. There was a character on Saturday night live played by Rachel dratch, Debbie Downer, I think was her name, and so Devin left this one for me and so I get to be Debbie Downer. Let's talk about the elephant in the room a little bit, because everybody is a little on edge. If you've got inflation, shrink inflation, supply chain, fuel chip shortages, I mean, I could go on, but I won't. How is this going? You guys are looking at this and kind of, you know, down the road, probably a little bit more than we are. What are your anticipatory moves or thoughts around if and when things do start to slow down a bit? Working with us as partners and thereby, as a partner to our customer, to get ahead of these things. You know, I'm gonna I want to take that first half of this and we've had a many example of this when covid hit. So in covid hit, I mean I've been very, very transparent. We were sitting there going what is coming? Okay. So internally we put together an action plan. So, to give you an example, we looked at travel and we said, okay, cut the travel budget. You know, we looked at things like, for example, hirings.

We go, okay, put a hiring freeze in place. We did not reduce headcount, but we put a hiring freeze in place. We did things like we looked at projects. What projects do we have that we can put on whold? So again, remember earlier I said there are projects that cost money and there are projects to save money. When we try to continue on projects that save money and double down in those areas. Now, we did something that the rest of the industry did not do. We actually increased our credit lines, and you know, smb knows this full well that we increased the credit lines. So we went in the complete opposite direction. Two, the overall business and why did we do that? Because we said there's still business to be done. So the biggest problem that you have is and and the other recommendation we said is don't use your own balance sheet. And I would say this again, the cash is king. So I was asked to actually give advice to partners on what should you do for covid when it hit, and I gave those exact examples. I said don't use your own cash. Either use hours or use some other financing company. You need to maintain your own cash flow for the duration of this. And again, earlier on I said this is a sign assigned graph. We've seen waves come through, so we have a history of what do you need to do to weather it and whether it's storm. And I would say to you, for for example, for services, can you utilize the services of either Ingram or the vendor partners? Do you need to actually, you know, like, for example, using it, just a very basic example, and testing? Do you need to have your own person to go out and do this analysis, or could you utilize the resources of your distinct so it is it is. You have within your own control a lot of these levers and we would make recommendations on which levers to pull. But for financing is absolutely king. You've got to be able to cover your own expenses, your day to day expenses, and take care of your customers. That's number one, period. But it is look at the expenses that are, as I would call them, or classify them, soft expenses. Look to and, by the way, get a plan in place now. I mean we absolutely do that. We come up with a plan internally inside Ingram. What are we going to do that does not impact our customer base? So sorry, Mel John, I was just gonna add. I think there's no question that we're going through some challenging times right between covid and some of the current pressures that we're facing. But this channel is built for innovation, right, and if you think about a lot of the great innovation, it's born through some of the challenges that we're facing today. So I when I look at the MSP channel, there's a little bit of installation because you're providing critical functions to your customers business. But I challenge all the listeners to think about where you can be innovative based on some of these pressures. Yeah, the only thing I would add to is I think drawing some comparisons to covid. You know that that stretch of time where we went through, we supported our partners. I think that should give all of our partners some reassurance that we're going to be there right, we're gonna be there with terms, we're gonna be there with credit. One of the programs that we we heavily relied on during that stretch was our direct express program so, which is a user based program so if you're not familiar with direct express, I would suggest that you reach out learn a little bit more about that program which really allows us to supplement the credit support that we can provide you. As you have big deals, you win big opportunity, especially if maybe there's some longer payment terms that are needed. So it's a great program. Many partners leverage that during the covid stretch and you know, we...

...are raising for some rough waters here. That would be a program that would would would be an outstanding way to supplement the credit supports you give from a sell. Okay, great, that's all excellent advice and uh, I'm definitely gonna get a call going with my rep and engage with you guys as well. Yeah, Anthony, just have something else to add. Yeah, I was just gonna add to this. So the only thing, and I hit it earlier on, is, again, as a CFO, I would sit and, going through my analysis, I'll be looking at what projects can I put on hold or postpone. Okay, again, financing, and particularly if you can come up with a capex model or a consumption model and you can show where the outcome of that project will actually save you money over the long run versus what you have today, will absolutely pull projects forward. And again we have Sir offic is within I mean I'm thinking of cloud logic, a company we recently acquired. They actually go in and do an analysis to figure out how much savings could you have moving your platform from the data center into the cloud, or or does it actually benefit you? And I mean can you take a look at the current spend that you have in the cloud at the moment and are you spending too much? Are Your is your utilization actually matching what you're paying? So it is how do you come back with projects that would actually end up saving the company or saving your client? Again, providing a solution that ends up actually saving the money will absolutely pull the project forward on you. And we saw that in spades during covid when we started financing some of these projects, ones that were being postponed got pulled forward. Again. I give the example earlier on. We saw partners who you financing during covid actually increase our business double digit, while the overall business declined double digit for all of the partners. So proof in spades. I think that's a very telling UH statistic. Definitely. The last question I've got for you guys, and one of my favorite is Patrick, will always remind me of where do you guys see technology going in the next year? And we can start with you, Melanie, if you want, and then we can go around. Yeah, I think we're going to see a lot of innovation. Right to that earlier comment of how technology is going to shift, I think there's a lot of technology today that's very hardware oriented. I think that's going to be focused more towards solution oriented. So how do you deliver more as a service? How do you make sure you're meeting the customer's business needs as opposed to selling a widget to sell a widget? So I think the way technology is going to continue to evolve is really maximizing the technology. We have to be more innovative so that we can offer more as a service. And last hard were oriented. Anthony, you want to take this too? Yes, let me jump in. So again, you've seen some press releases out of Ingram about our upcoming what we call expantage and what is on the horizon for Ingram. I've been as I said earlier on, I've been in the business thirty years. What we are delivering is game changing and back to Melanie's point, it is a solution based so we are going from we are transforming ourselves from a legacy technology company to a Solutions Company and the investment that we're putting into this, I mean is I've never seen it in my thirty odd years in the industry. So you will see further coming out. We are already in Beta testing within the US. You will start to see as we roll expantage out. But I would absolutely courage to the state stay tuned to...

...the news coming around this because Ingram is going to transform itself. Absolutely so. John, the question was where do you see technology going in the next year? Yeah, so technologies, I mean obviously continue to evolve in in all the things that we're seeing today, more around how partners are you know, wanting to consume that technology is probably where our focuses, you know, and you know to Mel's points, she touched on it earlier today, is just, you know, finding those creative ways to finance those deals, to provide monthly payment subscriptions, you know, more cloud based technologies, is really where we're focused, trying to develop those solutions that help those partners finance their business. So so definitely that, you know, the days of the traditional upfront sales, which we still see that right. I mean obviously that's a big part of our business, but the creative side, the cloud based subscriptions, is really where that technology is where we're trying to wrap solutions around. Well, John, Melanie Anthony Um, on behalf of Devon. Thank you guys so much. I think when people start talking about finance like sometimes their eyes gloss over a little bit, and what we found today is there's a lot going on here and there's a lot of different ways us as resellers can impact our customers, but the way that Ingram micro can impact us as resellers. So where can folks find out more about Ingram's financial solutions in general? Yeah, I imagine next site has a lot of great resources, so not only collateral for you to learn more about the programs, but also content, including videos and podcasts. So I imagine next site is going to be the best resource for everybody to connect to. All right, thank you, guys, and thanks to our listeners for tuning in to another episode of B Two B tech talks, as the gears turned edition. Thank you so much, guys, for the invite. Really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. You've been listening to as the gears turn, a series brought to you by B Two B two talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's SMB alliance. B Two B tech talk is a joint production between sweet fish media and Ingram micro.

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