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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


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October 8, 2021 | Colleen Frye and Rich Freeman

News Bytes from the ChannelPro SMB Forum Mid-Atlantic

Here’s a look at what’s coming soon from Armor, Mindmatrix, Nfina, and TD SYNNEX.

An expo hall full of exhibitors at ChannelPro’s recent SMB Forum event in Raleigh, N.C., offered our team a chance to catch up with leading vendors on recent milestones and future plans. Here’s a look at some of what they revealed.

TD SYNNEX Planning New Cloud Programs
Now that Tech Data and SYNNEX have officially merged to form TD SYNNEX, partners can expect the two distributors’ cloud offerings to begin merging as well, along with some new programs around the first of the year “that are really going to help to accelerate [partners’] growth and their adoption of the cloud in an innovative and fun new way that the channel hasn’t really seen before,” says Dakota Fitzgerald, SYNNEX Stellr cloud and platform strategist.

Partners should envision “an acceleration ramp for cloud technologies” that focuses on solution selling over a vendor-specific approach, she adds. “Maybe you’re looking at security and networking as a whole instead of a specific-vendor solution. We’re going to be able to create an atmosphere in which you can go in and gain all of these different valuable resources and tools to help you be successful within that particular cloud category set.”

An emphasis on ecosystems will also be coming, Fitzgerald says. “There are so many third-party solutions that we have available to our resellers. We want to start incentivizing them to sell not only cloud service provider solutions and cloud native solutions but also third-party ecosystem vendor solutions that are going to add additional value to their environments and to their end users.”

Look out as well for virtual reality/augmented reality tools, she notes, “where you can go in and explore and experience different technologies within this augmented reality. It’s extremely innovative. It’s very cool to see the technology deployed in real time and … see firsthand how these technologies work and how you can interact with them and how your end users could benefit from them as well.”

Armor Relaunching Partner Program Targeted for MSPs
Armor, a global cloud security company with a turnkey platform, is relaunching its partner program within the next 60 days specifically to meet the needs of managed service providers, according to Christine Gassman, director of global channel engagement. The company, founded in 2009, recently shifted to a channel-focused model.

MSPs can take advantage of the existing channel partner program, which includes a portal, co-branded marketing materials, and MDF, “but we’re developing a new program specifically for managed service providers with benefits that will help support them in growing,” says Gassman. The new program will include additional product training as well as cybersecurity training, plus not-for-retail licenses. “We want to make it as easy as possible for MSPs to use our technology internally, as well as to be able to get to know it in the early stages to really make sure that they’re comfortable with it, they like what they see, and can manage it for their clients.” Armor also recently formed an MSP feedback group, Gassman adds, and is considering peer groups as well. 

The partner program relaunch will closely follow the hiring of channel-experienced Bryan Hauptman as chief revenue officer in July. “Armor knew that there was a lot of opportunity in the MSP space and really wanted to go after it,” Gassman says, “so they were looking for someone that had that experience selling to MSPs, nurturing MSPs, helping them grow.”

Mindmatrix to Broaden MSP Advantage Subscription Options
Mindmatrix plans to add new subscription options to its MSP Advantage program.
Under a new scheme still being finalized but set to roll out within the next two months, newcomers will have the option of joining marketing-only and sales-only “quick start” versions of the vendor’s flagship sales enablement and marketing automation service for managed service providers.

“We basically took our MSP Advantage program and sort of split it into two, and now we have three offerings,” says Eric Weber, director of MSP sales at Mindmatrix. “We want to make sure that we’re offering choice.”

Like the current MSP Advantage program, the marketing automation quick start will offer marketing automation functionality and pre-packaged content for email and print campaigns, social media sites, videos, webinars, and more. Unlike the more inclusive program, however, the new one won’t include personalized concierge services.

“You can just kind of set it, forget it, and have it run in the background to kind of start to build up until you’re ready to move into one of the other programs,” Weber says.

The sales enablement quick start, too, won’t come with concierge assistance but will provide click-to-call functionality via third-party voice platforms and mobile apps, like today’s MSP Advantage.

Both quick starts will be less expensive than full-blown MSP Advantage membership and require less upfront commitment. While a complete MSP Advantage subscription costs $499 a month with a one-year commitment, the quick starts are expected to cost $299 per month, for a six-month term in the case of the marketing program and a three-month term in the case of the sales enablement program. 

“If it’s working, you’re going to keep it and if it’s not then you’re not locked in for a year,” Weber notes. “It kind of gives you that easier way to get in.” Quick start users can either renew their present subscription at the end of a term, he adds, or upgrade to the original MSP Advantage.

In another difference between the new and existing programs, the comprehensive MSP Advantage supports up to six users while the marketing-only service will come with two logins and the sales-only service will provide a single click-to-call module.

All three subscription options require a one-time setup fee. MSP Advantage members currently pay either $350 or $1,000, depending on how much user training they require. Marketing quick start subscribers, by contrast, will all pay $350 and sales enablement subscribers will all pay $1,000. 

“The reason that setup is a bit more is that we create a custom playbook with the click-to-call technology built into it,” Weber explains. The playbook provides access to all of the material salespeople need when interacting with prospects.

Though it was appreciated by users with limited sales and marketing experience before, according to Weber, MSP Advantage has grown even more useful since the coronavirus pandemic made keeping in regular contact with potential customers both more important and more difficult. 

“You need to be in tune much more today because people are more spread out,” he says.

In June, Mindmatrix introduced a new edition of MSP Advantage with a modernized user interface, new reports and dashboards, and support for integrated digital, voice, and print marketing efforts.

Nfina to Roll Out Pre-Configured Bundles
Before the end of the year, Nfina Technologies will have pre-configured bundles of its Hybrid Edge-Cloud, a fully managed solution launched earlier this year that includes compute, storage, backup and DR, a unified management control pane, and the option for add-on managed services, according to Gene Everette, Nfina marketing director.

Channel partners will be able to choose bundles based on the number of VMs required for their customer, he explains. “Instead of having to go to our online configurator and have to actually build out that device on their own, you’re using our expertise to do that. It’s a solution in a box and it takes the guesswork out for a reseller,” says Everette, who adds that partners will still be able to customize their solution as well.

Looking ahead to 2022, Everette says “growing our reseller channel is definitely our main focus.”

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