Zebra unveils first vertical specialization for healthcare technology providers

Zebra sells its solutions predominantly to major verticals like retail and manufacturing, where most of their partners play, but for the first time they have announced a specialization for what will be a fairly small minority of partners with a deep focus in an area.

Bill Cate, Zebra’s Vice President of Global Channel Strategy

Zebra Technologies, which makes a wide range of labelling, tracking and printing technologies, has announced their first vertical specialization, around health care. It will be available to partners in North America, Latin America, and parts of Asia Pacific like Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea and Southeast Asia.

“This is the first specialization we have created for a specific vertical,” said Bill Cate, Zebra’s Vice President of Global Channel Strategy. “Most of our partners sell into verticals like retail and manufacturing. It is because most of our channel sells there that establishing a specialization in either would be difficult.”

On the other hand, while health care is Zebra’s fastest growing vertical, especially in North America, far fewer partners are involved in it.

“It is a subset of partners who are quite defined,” Cate said. “It’s also a target rich environment for us to focus on. Zebra was important in the health care space before we acquired Motorola’s Enterprise division, but when we came together with them, as they were also important in health care, it created new synergies which extended beyond what either of us had before. We have a comprehensive set of technologies that we have SKUd up, which makes it much easier to specialize in.”

The specialization has multiple tiers, which are organized on a different basis than the revenue-focused tiers in Zebra’ s PartnerConnect Channel Program, of which the specialization is a part.

“The program tiers are designed for different business models,” Cate said. “It’s a different model than the metallic levels in the partner program, because it is focused on identifying partners with health care expertise. You can be a Registered partner in the PartnerConnect program, and still fit into the top tier of this one, if you have the specific health care focus.”

The top tier of the specialization is for Health Care Solution Specialists.

“They are dedicated to healthcare, and it is pretty much all they do,” Cate said. “There are a handful of significant influencers in this category.” Cerner would be an example of this type of partner.

GPO Provider Specialists provide a different type of service entirely but are critical in hardware and service sales for GPOs [Group Purchasing Organizations]. These include organizations like CDW and Insight.

“The Advanced Specialist tier is for VARs who have a significant specialization in business selling to health care accounts,” Cate stated. “They may not have their own IP related to healthcare, but work closely with those that do. Dimension Data would be an example of this type of partner.

The Specialist tier reflects the broader VAR community within Zebra’s partner network who have a health care practice.

“They do less of a percentage in health care than the others, but can play a key role in specific geos,” Cate said.

The key benefit under the specialization is greater discounts on health-related Zebra products than the partners would receive under PartnerConnect.

“The most significant benefit is the preferred pricing, on our health care product line, which includes patient wristbands, barcode scanners and label supplies, printers and mobile computers which are purpose-built SKUs for health care,” Cate said. “We have built preferred pricing for health care specialists into them. Partners who don’t have the vertical specialization don’t have access to those discounts.”

The special prices themselves do not stack with the Partner Tier discounts, although Cate stressed they will be better than those discounts, but he said that performance benefits under the specialization are stackable with broader PartnerConnect performance ones.

“They also receive other benefits,” he said. “There is deal registration for all partners in the partner program, but there is also separate registration in this to further protect them. They also get access to more demo equipment, and there are go-to-market benefits. We will pull them into key events and go-to-market campaigns.” Partners in the specialization also get to use a customizable logo they can use in their branding to impress customers and prospects.

Cate indicates as well that Zebra is looking for the new specialization to attract new partners.

“We are looking to it to get strong new healthcare-focused partners to start working with us, both ISVs and solution providers,” he said.