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TD Synnex’s Sammy Kinlaw On Major Partner Communities Reorganization

Joseph F. Kovar

‘Communities are so big and so meaningful to TD Synnex. They’re an audience of partners who were dedicated. And for that dedication, they get favors. They gain other things perhaps that one of our resellers might not get if they don’t consider the community. There’s just a lot of extras’, says Sammy Kinlaw, TD Synnex’s senior vice president of sales communities for North America.

As you look at CommunitySolv as we near the end of 2021 and move into 2022, what are some initiatives that you’re planning?

I have five. Expanding membership and expanding sponsorship is important. So from a vendor perspective, all the major players are involved, as you would expect: Lenovo HP Inc., HPE, Intel, AMD, Dell. They’re all participating with me in the [CommunitySolv]. But at the same time, I also want to make sure we provided opportunities for upcoming vendors with double-digit CAGR (cumulative annual growth rate) based on changing technologies, whether that be in security or 5G or mobility. I think it’s important to consider incubation and what’s changing in the technology group, and then be able to introduce those technologies into the wider and bigger practices. And most of those vendors I’m speaking of are working conjunction with the larger vendors. ...

Number two is, I do want to grow the membership. I mentioned there are 850 members now. I would say 15 percent growth in number of members in the communities is appropriate for the next 12 months. Closing our next fiscal year with more than a thousand members is a goal. And then over the 12 months after that, growing the community to 1,500-plus members is in my two-year plan. Why is that? The scale that’s needed. The benefit statements that members get are so large, both in the intangible and the tangible areas, that we want partners there because we have more opportunities to speak to them, to wrap our arms around them, to train them, to educate them. There’s more dedicated community communication. There’s monthly speaks. There are multiple regional events. I have twice-a-year main-tent events that’ll happen in major cities. And in the Fall, I’ll have one large event with more than a thousand partners where all communities will be invited.

What else?

I also want to evolve industry highlights. And whether we’re talking about insights from [CRN parent company] The Channel Company or from IDC or Gartner, I think it’s important, because we’re a big name and a big player and we spend a lot of money for those insights, we communicate what those insights are to the partners. An average partner within our communities may have 40 employees. They don’t buy insights through third-parties because they’re incredibly expensive.

So how are we communicating what is the outlook is for growth, and what is recoveries for supplies? The net-net, is evolving industry insights and putting those on a silver platter in front of our members is important to me. So I will do that.

The third thing is improving collaboration. [Our members] want to be back in front of us, and they want to be in breakouts and trainings and certifications. And that made me think of ways in which we can collaborate more. And so I am going to purchase and put in place a peer-to-peer collaboration tool where partners can sell their goods and wares amongst themselves. They’ll be able to network their own services. Let’s say you’re a Cisco partner in the Midwest and you’ve sold a deal in the Southeast. What if you don’t have technicians or engineers in that city? Well, perhaps peer-to-peer collaboration would either allow TD Synnex to do that service on their behalf, or maybe there’s a neighboring partner that they have an association with that’s within the community that they could work with on picking up that deal because they’re trusted and they’re both within Varnex or TechSelect.

The fourth thing is making sure we’re aligned on events. Partners told me very clearly in our survey, they want to see us more often. They want regional events. So that idea is front of mind for me.

And the fifth?

The most important thing is making sure that my finger is on the pulse of every benefit statement that a member gets. Financial fuel is imperative for these partners. And if they’re in a community, they get consideration for unique terms and benefits. They get unique considerations for reduced costs on freight and the amount of credit that’s extended. And so intangible benefits are also important. ... My team has been working extremely hard to make sure the vendors have the right level of benefits, because if you’re a vendor and you’re joining our community, you want to grow not just at a premium to market. You want to grow at a premium to TD Synnex growth.

So all those are very relevant and important things for me and for the vendors that are going to sponsor these programs. I understand that. I’ve been in their shoes, I can speak their language. I know they need KPIs (key performance indicators). I know they need ROI. And I have to give them that on a quarterly track and show them that their investments are paying off. And conversely, for members, I understand their needs. They’re joining this community because they need a way to elevate their game. They need insights. So my approach is going to be fresh. It’s going to be convicted. It’s planned. It’s well-organized. I’ve met with every senior leader in this business to make sure they support me on the TD Synnex side. So we’re going to come at them with arms wide.


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Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at

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