MISSISSAUGA, ONT. – When Tech Data created the Canadian position of senior vice president of sales and marketing, the role Greg Myers was appointed to, it was a first for the distributor in many ways.
The company, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is tinkering with the idea of creating similar type positions in other regions of Europe. The move has also given Tech Data time to pause and reflect on its position in the marketplace. The broadline distributor is one of the best in logistics and is a major supplier to the channel throughout North America. But channel business is changing rapidly and Tech Data has realized the time is right to better distinguish itself with its volume business and its value business.
The newly promoted Myers told CDN in a sit down interview that distinguishing the two main areas of the business is one of his top priorities.
Myers discussed his new role with Tech Data Canada and the following is an edited transcript.
CDN Now: How did this new position come about?
Greg Myers: This is a newly created position and Rick Reid (Tech Data Canada President) and Frank Haid (Vice President of Sales – now retired) have worked closely for 14 years ever since the Globelle acquisition. We worked together on integrating sales and the marketing. After Frank retired we thought about what to do next. What was going to be our approach to the marketplace with all the changes that are impacting the channel? Business is going through a lot of dramatic change. There has never been so much change at one time as there is today. It’s a sign that the business has spent the past 25 years in Version 1.0 and now we are moving to 2.0. Tech Data needs to be in tune with that along with what the channel partners need in service and to address all these new business plans. We need to distinguish our value offering with our volume offerings. This is a significant focus for the partners and us because each side needs different things. We will be taking a more strategic view to our growth than ever before. If we rely on past performance; we might come up short. By managing sales and marketing as a single entity will allows us to articulate this view in the next three to five years. Our hope is to meet the needs of the channel partners from both a value and volume perspective and we are going to do that purposely from a single lens.
CDN Now: Why do you want this challenge in your life at this moment?
G.M.: This could not have come at a better time in my life. My wife and I have raised our family. I have more bandwidth available now than before. I also have more energy in my life right now too. The timing is perfect for this type of workload and I’m also very fortunate to have Rick with me as a strong, strategic leader. For the vendors and the customers it’s also a unique moment for them too as we recognize that we need to do things differently.
CDN Now: Does this new position mean, at all, that Tech Data is interested in adopting a North American regional strategy?
G.M.: No, but I would say we probably leverage our North American posture more than anyone else realizes. We just don’t promote it. We have leveraged a lot of the U.S. infrastructure, but I can tell you from day one when Steve Raymund (Tech Data founder) entered the Canadian market he wanted to serve the local market with local strategy, led by local leaders. We leverage where it makes sense and distinguish ourselves on a global basis. In North American markets it requires an intimate knowledge of the local markets and so this new position will not lead to a North Americanizing of the business.
CDN Now: What are your top priorities for this new job?
G.M.: Listen and inspect! That will be my immediate priorities as I need to understand from sales side and the customers what partners value from Tech Data today. What we they need now to meet those requirements. I plan to look around and listen before making any judgments or implementing any new ideas.
As I said earlier, Frank and I had an integrated sales and marketing approach in the last five years. We believed that by integrated sales and marketing it would lead to optimized results. I intend to build on that further. It’s important in my first 100 days to spent time with the organization, with customers and with the vendor partners to learn what is most valuable to them.
Distinguishing value and volume will also be a big priority. We intend to make more investments in both of those segments. The goal here is to be No. 1 or No. 2 in all the markets we play in Canada. If you look at the infrastructure with Intel servers we are No. 1 and I want to build upon that with storage, virtualization and unified communications. By driving further the distinction between value and volume I think it will optimize each.
CDN Now: What do you think will be the biggest challenges facing solution providers in the next few months and beyond?
G.M.: I believe the market is showing very clear signs of recovery. In the last four months, the market has strengthened across all product divisions such as servers. The client business is on fire with all the new devices. The grave-yarding of XP and the incoming Windows 8.1 will bring with it all kinds of dynamics that will drive the refresh market. The lights have come on and the challenge is not just to enjoy it but to successful navigate the growth in the marketplace. We plan to create an approach to drive more activity and engagement. In the first 25 years of my career it was about keeping up with the demand and in the last five it was about finding some demand. But, now there are clear indications that the demand for IT products in Canada is growing strong, once again.