Varnex partners need to better brand the community to move the needle

SYNNEX and its Varnex Council President opened the distributor’s event by suggesting things the community needs to do to better build its brand and its collective business.

Bob-Stegner SYNNEX

Bob Stegner, SYNNEX’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, North America

ATLANTA — SYNNEX kicked off its Varnex event here today with Bob Stegner, Senior Vice President of Marketing, North America, taking the stage in the opening keynote to set the tone for the gathering of the distributor’s elite SMB-focused event.

Stegner drew an analogy to Coca-Cola, also located in Atlanta, and stated his aspiration to be able to leverage the Varnex brand the same way that Coke is able to leverage its.

“The Varnex Council has talked with us about moving the needle with the Varnex brand, the same way as Coke,” Stegner said. “There are things we can do as a group to leverage the Varnex brand to grow our business. The more that we brand our community, the more we can leverage customers, vendors and others.”

Stegner then went through the data on the Varnex site from the profiles of the 418 members. He indicated that of the 263 who identified their primary verticals, 121 were in education, 108 commercial, 100 government (state) 98 healthcare, 75 financial services, and 74 federal government.

He noted the weighting towards smaller companies among the 298 who responded, with 80 having between 1-10 employees, 86 between 11 and 25, 65 between 26 and 50, 21 between 51 and 100, and 46 having more than 100 employees.

In terms of business segment, of the 162 who responded, 62 per cent identified themselves as hardware-focused, 31 per cent services, and 17 per cent software.

“All this is valuable information as we continue to brand VARNEX,” Stegner said, although he also reminded partners of the need for everybody to complete their profiles to provide fuller data points to analyze opportunities and gaps.

Stegner indicated that the Varnex community today has a customer spend of $1.2 billion, and indicated their goal was to get to two billion dollars. So how does the community get there?

“In the old days, the way you saved money was to call your SYNNEX rep and beat him up on price,” Stegner said, with a wink to his audience. Today however, shrinking margins limit the return that can be done by that.

“Today, you need to leverage our programs,” he stressed. He briefly reviewed some that everyone should be using, such as their FedEx/UPS service, 45 day terms, and the VAR Insider publication.”

“The FedEx/UPS program saved members $6.5 million over 12 months,” he said. Those numbers are American. He indicated that Fedex works differently in Canada, but they are looking forward to doing things with FedEx in Canada.

Stegner also emphasized that they need to talk with SYNNEX’s vendor partners and find how to best leverage them to grow their business.

“We have a lot of our vendors here [at the event],” Stegner said. “If you don’t take the time to talk with them, I don’t understand that.”

Bruce Enright, CEO of Kansas-based Tallgrass Technologies, the Varnex Council President, followed up with his take on how Varnex partners can move the needle to that two billion dollar goal.

“We have some things to improve, but we believe we are ready,” Enright said. “With 400 plus members, we have it blanketed pretty well, with a vast amount of technical expertise and leadership. We are able to represent ourselves effectively as a billion dollar entity with a local touch point.”

Enright said partners need to start by building a great sales engine. While many partners wish they had ‘just one more great sales guy,’ he pointed out that billion dollar companies don’t think like that.

“Billion dollar companies don’t need ‘one more guy’ – they build sales engines,” he said. Partners need to better leverage the resources they have as a group, improve their selling culture and their selling process.

“Building a better sales engine is at the top of our list to move the needle,” Enright said.

Bruce Enright 500

Varnex Council President Bruce Enright

Secondly, Enright said that better leveraging manufacturer relationships was a key way to improve speed to sales.

“We need, by being looked at collectively, to leverage manufacturer announcements and programs, to get to market faster,” he said.

Improving knowledge of the SYNNEX Solvs was another key, Enright stressed.

“Your sales teams may not know the depth of the Solvs,” he said.

Finally, Enright said that Varnex as a group must leverage vendor ideas to increase sales volume.

“We need to collaborate, and package them, and leverage them together as a billion dollar company,” he said. “Let’s build this as if we were all a branch of the best billion dollar company in North America.”