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Seismic partners need to market better: Ingram Micro

How partners can improve their managed services brand and what Ingram Micro is doing to help

DENVER – Value-added resellers (VARs) in the managed services business need to improve their branding and marketing efforts and Ingram Micro Inc. is here to help said Justin Crotty, vice-president of services sales for Ingram Micro.

Crotty said there are currently 1,200 North American partners involved in Seismic, Ingram’s integrated platform for managed services. Of those, there are about 250 Canadian partners and growing, he added. Ingram’s Seismic managed services portfolio enables partners to deliver high quality, infrastructure-intensive solutions to their customers, without having to make any significant upfront investments in infrastructure or technology, Crotty explained.

He said that one of the biggest challenges partners face is being able to talk to their end-user customers and figuring out how to sell and add more value to the services they offer.

“It’s less to do with the technology and technical skills, which our partners have, and it’s more about their marketing capabilities,” he explained. “It’s a question of how our partners can differentiate themselves, and to do this, they must ask what they’re the best at doing technology-wise and also knowing why customers want to do business with them.”

Once partners answer these questions, they can articulate these messages and better position their brand in the market. To further differentiate themselves, Crotty suggests that partners have a dedicated marketing effort devoted to promoting the services and value that the partner offers.

Jason Beal, director of services sales at Ingram Micro, says the distributor is devoted to helping the channel understand where the current market opportunities are, as well as helping them understand upcoming opportunities such as cloud computing solutions.

“We have tracks for a number of technologies which include boot camp sessions, marketing, training, webinars and so on,” Beal said.

He also referred to the newly announced educational track in VTN Connect, as something that partners can take advantage of to help improve their business.

Crotty said VTN partners can also leverage Ingram’s global Seismic NOC (network operations control) promotion, going on this week only, which offers a one-month free trial with the first two months of service free and 90 day no-risk, no-obligation.

Next week, Crotty said this promotion will be made available to all of the distributor’s partners up until Nov. 30, 2009.

Seismic NOC is a managed service offering where partners securely monitor and maintain their customers’ servers, network devices and applications. The benefit to using this service is that customers don’t require any infrastructure or a dedicated team of employees to manage this.

“In the marketplace, there’s often a hesitation from the business-side to turn over control to a third party,” Crotty said. “We’re providing this promotion to organizations so they can try this out with zero risk and zero cost. This is just one of the ways that we’re helping our partners grow their services business.”