Zebra Boosts Partner Incentives With New Health Care Specialization

Zebra Technologies, a maker of enterprise mobile hardware and software products, is looking to deepen its reach in the health care space by introducing new incentives to solution providers that target health care customers.

Lincolnshire, Illinois-based Zebra offers products including patient wristbands, mobile computers, barcode scanners and printers that are aimed at health care facilities such as hospitals.

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The company's PartnerConnect Program, which has 10,000 partners globally, is now adding its first vertical specialization—the Healthcare Specialization Program—to accelerate the company's push for bringing mobile solutions to health care.

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"The opportunity for us in health care represents the fastest growth opportunity—health care is becoming a richer part of our mix every year," said Bill Cate, vice president of global channel strategy at Zebra Technologies, in an interview with CRN.

"What we realized is that our health care partners were kind of hidden in the mix of all the other partners," Cate said. "They were performing some very specialized services for our customers, so we had to make sure we recognized those partners that are dedicated to health care—so we could build the right value proposition to support them."

Areas that Zebra is targeting within health care include patient ID management, health care mobility devices (for collaboration and communication among staff) and real-time locating and tracking of people and assets, such as equipment.

Partners that might be interested in the health care specialization program range from large health care solutions specialists to resellers and systems integrators in a range of sizes, Cate said.

The biggest benefit of adopting the health care specialization is that Zebra is offering a "strong" preferred pricing model, he said.

"As opposed to partners having to come to us and ask for special pricing on large deals, or deal register everything, we're identifying them in the program and providing them with upfront preferred pricing on health care technologies," Cate said.

While Zebra isn't providing specifics on the pricing, the model represents a "material differentiation" from the pricing offered to partners that aren't part of the health care specialization, he said.

While sales reps at solution providers will appreciate the preferred pricing, solution provider companies should like that Zebra is also offering a new performance rebate as part of the health care specialization, according to Cate.

Other facets of the health care specialization program include deal registration, assigned channel account management, leads from Zebra marketing campaigns, go-to-market support and deeper discounts on demo equipment.

Along with providing greater incentives for existing partners, Zebra is also looking to attract additional partners that are dedicated to health care, Cate said. "We're not looking for thousands of partners in this program," he added. "We're really going to be selective."

Mike Shields, CEO of Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based solution provider Identisys, said his company has been working to grow its health care business with the help of Zebra's products. Key technologies from Zebra that underlie solutions from Identisys include badge printers that produce staff IDs, LaserBand products that produce patient IDs and barcode printers for test sample labels, Shields said.

"Each of these products fills a critical need," he said in an email to CRN. "Zebra's Healthcare Specialization program gives us the framework to help grow our business in this critical vertical."

In particular, Shields said he appreciates how the program "makes it easier to work with Zebra and streamlines pricing."

"We have a distributed sales force, and keeping track of the latest promotions can be challenging, so we're glad Zebra has simplified things," he said.

Ultimately, the new Zebra program "helps us differentiate ourselves while giving us discounts and rebates to better compete -- not only in the areas where we are strongest like printing -- but it also gives us an advantage in other areas like scanning and mobile computing," Shields said. "As we grow our solution, the new program gives us an expanded pathway to grow our product line."