Focused exclusively on network security, this boutique distributor attributes its strong growth to choosing vendor partners that will best serve channel pros targeting the SMB.By Rich Freeman and Colleen Frye
Boutique distributor Fine Tec has been growing quickly the past few years, and Jessica Taylor, Northeast regional account manager, chocks up a lot of that success to good service for all-size customers. “People come to us when they’re not getting the service they need from other distributors,” she says, “and a lot of times it’s because they’re small businesses.”
The 17-year-old distributor focuses on network security, mostly in the enterprise and managed services spaces, and carries seven product lines. Vendor partners are Fortinet, Awareness Technologies, Algosec, BAE Systems, Bradford Networks, IBM, and Rackmount.IT. Those choices, Taylor says, are very deliberate to serve the specific markets the company targets, primarily the managed security space and the SMB. Fortinet and Awareness Technologies in particular have an SMB focus.
She says there is no product overlap because “we don’t want anybody competing with anybody else. We’re not like a typical distributor where they carry a vast amount of products. We’re very focused on network security and the opportunity in that space.”
Taylor notes that if partners ask for something in particular she will consult with the engineering team. “We’re always on the lookout for something that will complement the brand, but a lot of times the manufacturers [we’re working with] already have a solution for that.”
Fine Tec also has a “long list of criteria” when it chooses a vendor partner. “Quality has to be one, and channel support has to be another,” she says. “We’re exclusively channel focused.” She says Fine Tec’s customer base needs engineering and tech support, and NFR training for engineers.
While she acknowledges there can be pros and cons working with a boutique distributor, for SMBs in particular, with a big distributor “you have a [email protected] alias that you send your request to; there’s no one person accountable. Whereas I’m always accountable. [Customers] have my cell phone number, my home office number. I’m one person who will take responsibility for resolving the problem … It’s good customer service, it’s good follow-through, and it’s being professional.”