Ingram updates its SMB Alliance program

TorontoIngram Micro Canada (NYSE: IM) is pushing for more peer-to-peer relationships within its SMB Alliance program.

Launched eight years ago, the SMB Alliance had gone through many changes and 2011 will be no different, according to Rita Baiana, senior manager of the SMB Alliance at Ingram Canada.

“Our primary focus is to fully integrate peer-to-peer relationships and we’ve been working on this for the past six to nine months with the vendor partners and reseller customers to get them more integrated into the program,” Baiana said.

Ingram Canada has seen some success with exclusive promos from Symantec Canada (Nasdaq: SYMC) and Lenovo Canada that were geared towards creating better relationships in the channel.

The SMB Alliance, similar to the Venture Tech Network, now has a working council and Baiana and her team at Ingram is trying to get them to be vocal about the needs of the smaller reseller.

“Vendor programs right now do not fit the niches for these smaller resellers and they need to know how to make money from them,” she added.

The program currently has 23 vendor partners and it included APC this year.

The program also has a re-built Web site with social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. “The new site has a 2011 look and feel with live feeds, demos, and videos which will be available for both vendors and members,” Baiana said.

Gone form the program is The Zone. Baiana said The Zone was an old system and it didn’t work well with Facebook and Twitter.

“Social media is where it’s at. You need to be transparent and if you don’t provide that forum they will go ahead without you. We do have ethics and the relationships where we can share information and it’s becoming more natural and it’s a great way to connect with vendors. If we aren’t there then we would be missing out on the action,” she added.

Also new to the Ingram Canada team is senior director of marketing Jennifer Johnson.

Johnson said that another wrinkle will be using business intelligence tools to perform smart marketing at the distributor.

“I am excited about using BI. This is an up and coming approach to marketing that can bring more influences and targeted approach for vendors. They can customize campaigns to isolated smaller groups, bigger groups and be specific not broad based. If they are looking for specific geography or vertical we can focus on it and we did not have this in the past,” Johnson said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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