Over the last week, I’ve had two meetings with local Ingram Micro in an attempt to help them better understand the needs of the SMB IT Reseller so that we might be able to do better business with them. These meetings came out of a phone call from John Walters – Ingrams’ Sales Director here in Australia. Yesterday, John had a team meeting with his state managers and I was invited to come along and spend some time with them to take the message from the coal face right back to these guys. Ryan Spillane – my business partner at Correct Solutions came along too and we both gave them what we saw from our perspective and from the issues we hear about out there in the community. When talking to Vendors and distributors I like to be able to give a balanced view of what they do and how we see them. I honestly struggled though with giving some positives about the relationships that SMB IT resellers have with them. That’s not to say it’s all bad, but just that I’ve not seen all that much good in it. During the meeting, Ingram Micros’ Vice President and Managing Director of Australia, Guy Freeland joined us.
To their credit, John and his team took lots of notes, asked lots of questions and I think really are trying to understand exactly what we need to do more / better business with them. We stressed to them that we think it’s a two way relationship and it’s not all about what we can get from them, but what we can do together. Communication was the number one issue that we felt was the cause of the bad reputation and issues that we had with Ingram. Funny though – it’s been something I have been thinking about for some time – in fact I wrote a guest column for CRN Magazine for it last month – it’s here if you want to take a read.
Coming out of these meetings, Ingram have committed to attending the SBS Groups around Australia in the first quarter of next year, not to present per se, but to listen directly to the needs of the SMB IT reseller and then not only that, but to return the following month with a plan of action based on the things that they have heard from us. If your not in an SBS User/Reseller group here in Australia then you might want to look at joining one – you can find your local group here.
One of the biggest passions of mine is the SBS / SMB IT Reseller community, not just here in Australia but also around the world. Ingram have committed to help us in Perth with facilities for starting an SBS/SMB IT Pro focused Usergroup – we hope to have the first meeting in February 2008. If you are interested in being part of the Perth SBS Group then please email me – [email protected] and I’ll ensure you get on the list for the invite to the first meeting.
It was great to see such high level support of the concerns that we were raising, and we obtained serious commitment from both John and Guy to seriously take action to improve the relationships with the SMB IT Resellers here in Australia.
I personally feel that they are serious about investing in the SMB IT Resellers and hope that you all will give them a fair go as they try to get into what it takes to be in our space. Time will tell and I hope that in 3 months we can do an update on where things are at with Ingram and the SMB IT Resellers here in Australia.
Thank you John for the chance to make a difference.