Ingram Micro South Africa is sending a signal to smaller resellers in the channel that it is prepared to go out of its way to help them grow their businesses.
"Many smaller resellers are forced to trade with distributors under extremely onerous conditions that place them at a huge disadvantage against much larger competitors. This is because large resellers are able to offer distributors important benefits such as volume deals and insured credit terms," says Hansie Fourie, CEO of Ingram Micro South Africa.
"We believe there is huge value to be derived from doing business with smaller resellers, and we are prepared to go the extra mile to earn their support and loyalty. We obviously want to build long-term relationships with all resellers throughout the channel, but we have a particular affinity for the smaller guys."
The distributor is prepared to back up these statements with actions and has positioned its operations to make it easier for smaller resellers to do business with it.
"There are many ways to structure a deal, and I have instructed my staff to find a way to do business with these resellers. For example even the finance department must want to do a deal as much as the sales person involved," says Fourie.
He is aware that smaller resellers are often held over a barrel by large distributors who withdraw credit facilities if a reseller does not achieve a certain level of purchases in a month or over a particular period.
However, Ingram Micro's commitment to resellers goes beyond the basics of credit terms or pricing.
"We want to establish true partnerships by adding value in other areas. We realise the smaller resellers may not have the technical expertise across all product lines. For this reason we make our technical and product experts available to them to help ensure that they are able to close the deal with their end-user customers," says Fourie.
"We are even prepared to take that level of support a step further by assisting them in responding to tenders or other large enquiries to ensure that their action is based on the best technical advice as well as sound business principles, rather than simply chasing an order that may ruin them. The long-term viability of our customers is very important to us."
Ingram Micro will go so far as providing sales, technical and even managerial training to the small retailers so that they can optimise their businesses.
"I'm not aware that any other distributors offer this kind of service at the levels we are committed to among small resellers, but we realise that the stability and success of our customers is good for the long-term survival of our business, so we are more than happy to assist wherever we can," Fourie says.