When Meridian IT was exploring a big software deal with a customer in Melbourne, Ingram Micro sent one of its expert staff to the Victorian capital for a day to make sure the prospect could instantly access knowledge that was critical to the deal proceeding.
“It shows you stand beside the partner,” said Aidan Fitzgerald, Ingram Micro’s Commercial Sales and Marketing Director. “Being in the room matters. That’s where you win together.”
And win they did – both the deal and the respect of Stephen White, Meridian’s Managing Director.
“Paying for a resource to get on a plane go down to Melbourne, that's going above and beyond, in my view,” said White.
Ingram Micro has gone above and beyond in other ways, too. White says he can always reach senior Ingram Micro executives to discuss how to resolve difficult moments in deals or projects.
“Things can get fixed in a heartbeat,” he said.
Meridian IT didn’t always work as closely with distributors. The Australian presence of the global Meridian Group happily worked direct with some of its vendors for a number of years.
But since resuming a relationship with Ingram, White has come to appreciate the value-add Ingram Micro offers.
“We've had some really good wins working with distribution in the last 12 months,” White said. ““Do I think Ingram have been instrumental? Yes and no. The reseller is still instrumental in winning that deal.”
And because the customer is buying the combination of the product and its reseller, distributors aren’t on the customer’s mind.
“The customer attitude is ‘We don't deal with the distributor. We're dealing with the reseller’,” White said.
But the distributor can make the reseller look good.
“The responsiveness you get from the distributor, the ability to ensure that they're on the same page with pricing, delivering kit on time and successfully, when a distributor does that well they’re putting us in a stronger position to win.”
“I wouldn't say instrumental in us winning, but they do put us in a stronger position. We’ve still got to live or die ourselves by still winning the deal.”
But Ingram Micro has also helped Meridian to win deals, through its finance offerings.
“I don’t think it is immodest to say we helped to differentiate Meridian’s offerings to market,” said Ingram Micro’s Aidan Fitzgerald. “Customers appreciate getting the whole procurement package including finance, not just a me-too quote.”
“It gives our resellers another way to go into a customer.”
Ingram Micro’s finance offering can also see money go straight to resellers when a deal is done.
“From a cash flow perspective, that’s fantastic,” Meridian’s White said.
It’s also encouraged him to work with Ingram Micro on events, sourcing funds to do so from the distributor.
Fitzgerald knows it’ll be money well spent.
“We know if they invest funds, Meridian will show us growth and the return will be goods,” he said. “That’s the trust part of the relationship.”
Meridian is now exploring Ingram Micro’s services and putting them to work across products from IBM, VMware, Veeam, Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and others.
Which is not to say that the relationship is static.
White said he likes to review his relationship each year, “to ensure that we're getting the right level of service, and that my team are getting the right level of service.
“What I find with Ingram is the relationship that I have, and that my reps have, passes the litmus test of how they fix it when things inevitably go wrong.”
“Are they responsive? Do they take ownership? And do we move on. If our end-user’s happy, we're happy and we move on. That's really, that's really the guts of it, if that makes sense.
“To date, it's been quite a well-oiled machine.”
Stephen White presented this case study at Channel Academy, a new educational event series presented by CRN. Stephen spoke at the invitation of Channel Academy sponsor Ingram Micro.