D&H Arranged for Six Key Reseller Partners To Conduct a Virtual Q&A Panel with Scores of Manufacturers, Who Have Turned to the Distributor to Ascertain VAR Needs During the COVID-19 Crisis
D&H Distributing, a major provider of SMB and consumer technologies to the North American high-tech channel, announces it arranged for a group of key solution providers to speak to 280+ of D&H’s manufacturer partners during a virtual panel engagement, explaining their most urgent needs in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The April 14 Webex panel was entitled “Maintaining Viable Partnerships During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” D&H arranged this opportunity after many of its manufacturers began asking what services and solutions SMB partners need most to achieve recovery, both in the short-term and long-term. The session was moderated by Larry Walsh, CEO of channel analyst firm 2112, who worked with the panelists to present their topics and priorities.
“Our manufacturer partners are highly motivated to deliver whatever the channel requires to meet this challenge head-on. They want to make sure VARs and MSPs maintain their IT and business operations to help them sustain their end-customers. Those manufacturers have been coming to us for advice due to our broad channel expertise and access to partners,” said Michael Schwab, co-president at D&H Distributing. Michael and his fellow co-president Dan Schwab kicked-off the panel engagement with a welcome to attendees. “The SMB channel will need help across a range of verticals, and not just with hardware, software, security, and cloud solutions. They’ll require assistance by way of training, services, financing, and much more.”
For instance, partners must determine the best way to remotely provide amenities such as server solutions or IT infrastructure under the constraints of social distancing policies. And as they work to maintain stability, they’ll need to leverage marketing resources to assist them in delivering compelling messages to end-customers to reignite sales. Offerings such as D&H’s Partner Services marketing templates, the company’s extensive financing options, its hands-on staff of Solutions Specialists, and its extensive training offerings will all contribute to that goal.
D&H decided to quickly connect both its reseller and manufacturer partner communities, providing a live conduit by which a multitude of manufacturers were able to learn what SMB VARs are currently experiencing, and what resources will help them most quickly and efficiently fulfill these impending needs.
Supporting the Resilient SMB Partner
According to findings from channel research companies such as Techaisle, SMB resellers are typically agile and resilient enough to navigate economic challenges—more so than larger enterprise counterparts with downsides such as excessive payroll or limited organizational flexibility. Many larger corporate entities must reduce capital expenditures due to lower earnings and reduced market confidence in times of economic duress, whereas SMBs typically have optimized, lean staffing and operations from the get-go. SMB resellers may be able to pivot and take advantage of business opportunities if those less-nimble enterprises falter.
VARs who can diversify and provide a range of services, such as networking solutions, security, cloud-based services, collaborative products, ProAV, unified communications, and business continuity solutions may better weather the economic impact. This is especially true when these VARs and MSPs are able to leverage offerings from distribution and vendor partnerships.
“SMB solution providers are a robust breed. This sector constitutes more than 90 percent of the marketplace and has been a growth engine for the IT industry,” said Michael Schwab, co-president at D&H Distributing. “Many small businesses will adopt a renewed approach to enhancing their technologies and stabilizing their companies, generating a greater call for emerging virtual protocols like telemedicine, distance learning, and other collaborative formats. We want to make this top of mind for our SMB partners, so they understand there are still opportunities to be had, even in this environment.”
For example, as social distancing forces many companies to make long-avoided transitions to a digital workplace, IT services may be required to facilitate ongoing management of these new infrastructures. End-companies may look to realize sustained ROI from their mandated investments in telework, online learning, or telehealth, utilizing those solutions even after quarantines ease—a trend that could aid channel recovery.
“Difficult economic times force businesses to make sharper, more shrewd investment decisions. Although this can create initial spending reductions, companies are compelled to examine their mid- and long-term priorities. This has positive market implications, because smarter investments are typically long-term drivers of technology expenditures in different complementary areas,” added D&H Co-President Dan Schwab. “SMB resellers who leverage the benefits and resources of their partners will be empowered to capture new business based on these market dynamics. Our virtual panel will facilitate crucial communication between VARs and manufacturers, with a goal of helping partners realize these opportunities more quickly.”
VARs on the panel confirmed that technology will continue to play a considerable role in the evolving SMB marketplace. Partners are looking for support to help them improve the preparedness of their end-customers as they reopen. And as resellers deal with concerns such as inventory, forecasting, and security in relation to this crisis, they will look to manufacturers for accommodations such as new incentives and adjusted goals.
The key to achieving recovery will be to work collectively within the channel to build strategies that address those needs. The many manufacturers present during D&H’s panel were listening, and are now better positioned to devise those strategies. And although the climate won’t be quite the same as before, the new normal won’t diminish the fact that small businesses are the lifeblood of the North American economy.
“The disruptions of COVID-19 will extend into the typical office marketplace, and print/imaging is a big part of that segment,” said Sammy Kinlaw, vice president of worldwide channel sales and OEM at Lexmark, who attended the D&H event. “This means that the SMB community will take on greater priority for us, making support and market intelligence from partners like D&H even more critical. This panel provided terrific insights on how to pursue a strategy with partners, presenting us with new possibilities in other potential segments.”
“We’re looking for the best way to move forward despite all the uncertainties, and are thrilled to have partners like D&H delivering more ways to combine forces with the providers of these powerful technologies, to help us bring about the best outcome,” said Julia Stewart, vice president of sales at SCW, a Georgia-based reseller who participated in the engagement. “It was great to hear from others, to know we are all facing similar challenges, and to learn how peers are navigating this uncertain time. The more dedicated we are to pooling resources and creative strategies to drive recovery, the sooner we’ll be able to turn around the negative impact of this crisis.”
D&H has been working diligently with its channel partners to develop opportunities, training, solutions, services, and best practices to support customers during the crisis. This has included dedicated credit programs, including $50M extended in March of 2020 alone, plus extended 90-day terms; a new virtual THREADcast focusing on business continuity, collaboration, and the K-12 market; plus bundled solutions for home workers, students, and telehealth.
About D&H Distributing
D&H Distributing believes the most important element of doing business is developing relationships for mutual success, delivering superior engagement experiences to its community of partners and employee co-owners. The company continues to build upon its 100-year-old culture, providing a wealth of partner enablement resources, multi-market expertise, and consultative services. D&H maintains a focus on independent retailer and reseller partners, with a product assortment spanning consumer electronics, ProAV, digital displays, collaboration, mobility, home entertainment, smart home automation, small office/home office, video surveillance, digital imaging, PC gaming, cloud-based solutions, home and outdoor products, housewares, and sports and recreation.
The distributor is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, in the US; and in Brampton, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. For more information, visit www.dandh.com.