Synnex eyes $100 million in incremental margins for Varnex

Bob Stegner

Synnex marketing SVP Bob Stenger

LAS VEGAS – After CEO Kevin Murai opened the Varnex fall conference here today by promising “more meat on the bone” for members of the community, Synnex North American marketing chief Bob Stegner followed up with details on exactly how much meat and how soon.

To be precise: $100 million worth of meat (or rather, incremental margins) for Varnex partners over the next 18 months.

That’s a big bet in a town built around big bets, and it got a strong response from the attendees. After all, Stegner noted, “I don’t know anybody in this room that doesn’t want to be part of that.”

But does that mean big price breaks for Varnex members? Well, no. Stegner dismissed that as the way distribution improved margins vive years. “But let’s be real, those days are gone,” he said. Still, there’s a lot the distributor can do to sweeten the pot for members.

It’s already shown the way it intends to go with its Varnex-wide deal for preferred rates with FedEx for members. Expect to see more of that kind of deal, as well as a variety of new services and offerings under the VAR umbrella.

Stegner laid out a roadmap of the kinds of services to expect under the broad categories of profit, performance and protection.

Under profit comes things like the FedEx deal – ways to reduce expenses or improve member VAR’s operating efficiency.

Performance includes training and education to make sales more effective, as well as introducing “high-priority” solutions. Stegner said that while the Varnex community includes a lot of the major vendors, his next goal is to bring in a number of “small but strategic” vendor partners that will help resellers build solutions that take more of their customers’ total IT spend.

Protection focuses on helping VARs adapt to the shift in the market and in business models that the ever-evolving technology game demands. It’s an area the channel already does very well – “Nobody shifts to market conditions faster than a VAR,” Stegner said – but it’s an area where more can still be done.

The extra dollars comes as Synnex looks to ramp up the number of members of the Varnex community. Already at 250-plus American members, Stegner said his goal is to get the group to about 350 members. “I don’t want to get people in here just to get people in here,” Stegner said. “We owe it to you to bring in good, quality VARs.”

And Canadian growth goals are even more explosive. Last year, when Varnex first hosted Canadian members at its fall event in Las Vegas, the Canadian ranks were about 16. A year on, that number has doubled to 32. And Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin said the goal is to reach 70 to 80 Canadian Varnex members by the end of 2012, or possibly sooner. That would give the Canadian contingent a present of about 20 per cent of the Varnex community, roughly on par with the percentage of the distributor’s North American business that’s done in Canada. To support that growth, Martin said, Synnex Canada has just added a full-time staffer devoted to Varnex recruitment.

Both the growth goals and the incremental money figures are moving target, and Stegner said that he plans to report in to the membership on progress made at the group’s spring event in Las Vegas.