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New Ingram Micro Tool Gives Partners A Picture Of Where Their Business Is Today -- And Where It Can Be Tomorrow

Ingram Micro is taking all the data it has gathered over its decades of working with the channel and is creating a business intelligence tool that will give solution providers insight into their company, their customers, and new ways of boosting their business.

Ingram Micro has gathered a vast trove of data over its decades of working in the channel. Now the distributor is using that data to develop a business intelligence tool that it says will allow solution providers to gain insight into their company, their customers, and new ways of boosting their business.

“We’re creating a dashboard that shows their data and all the customers that they’re doing business with,” said Jennifer Anaya, vice president of marketing at Ingram Micro. “What we do is we layer in the intelligence we have on those end businesses so that partners can have a really clear picture of where their business is today, and then some gaps in terms of where they could take their business and where they could grow.”

Kirk Robinson, Ingram Micro Chief Country Executive for the U.S., said business intelligence is key to effective decision-making not only for the distributor, but for its partners as well.

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“The more we capture that information, the better conversations we are having,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that the better you know your customer, the better you can help them and support their end user, and it helps us better understand how we should be investing. … We’re excited about what the future holds and what we can do with business intelligence and with our partners.”

The business intelligence tool is still in the development stage, but it is designed to give partners a clear picture of where their business is now, the areas where they can improve, and how they can get there, Anaya said. “They don’t have to spend a lot of ‘what- if’ time,” she said.

“They can really zero in on the kinds of businesses they know that they can grow with.”

Scott Johnson, owner and chief operating officer of KLH IT Solutions, an Ingram Micro partner in Minnetonka, Minn., said marketing is a weak spot for many solution providers as they tend to be better engineers than salesmen. And this is an area when Ingram Micro can step in and help.

“My opinion is a small business like ourself cannot survive without marketing,” he said. “Marketing is the first step in the sales process. If you are not selling and adding new clients, we all know existing clients go away. Whether they go out of business, they’re acquired, they downsize— eventually clients will go away. You need to make sure you have new clients coming in the door to replace those.”

The Ingram Micro marketing team works with solution providers to wrap their story around what they are offering to the marketplace, according to Anaya. In addition, the marketing team can help solution providers connect with the nontechnical line-of-business executives who are now making technology decisions.

“We have a formal branding process that we use to get there in terms of asking [solution providers] a lot of questions. ‘Who am I? What am I about? What strengths do I have? What people do I have on staff? What expertise do I hold? What markets do I understand?’ So we can dive really deep. And I think that that’s unique because a lot of partners stop with their technology capability. To really connect with their customers on a deeper level, they need to start and actually stop with ‘OK, what do we know about the way you use technology?’”

Another critical part is helping solution providers enhance their digital marketing through online tools that position their story so that the right people see it at the right time, according to Anaya.

To that end, Ingram Micro can help partners with “branding, landing and expanding,” she said.

“We help them with a tool that gets them online, gets their story in front of the right people—whether they’re trying to brand themselves or land net-new logos,” Anaya said.

KLH IT Solutions’ Johnson said Ingram Micro’s marketing resources have been invaluable, but every solution provider has to take the first step and ask for help.

“Ingram Micro is out there ready, willing and able to help partners like us grow their business,” he said. “We just have to be willing to raise our hand and say, ‘How do we do this with you?’”

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