Ingram Micro Inc. has added new self-serve sales, marketing, and support features to its cloud computing marketplace, as well as a new tool for integrating with third-party CRM, billing, and PSA solutions including ConnectWise Manage.
The Irvine, Calif.-based distributor made the announcements today at its tenth annual Cloud Summit event in San Diego.
The expanded sales and marketing resources are delivered through a hub that officially entered general availability today in the U.S. The new site, which draws on capabilities in the Partner Connect demand generation program that Ingram introduced last October, provides free white-label collateral and proposal generation tools, as well as systems that partners can use to plan and execute digital marketing campaigns.
“The sales and marketing hub helps partners increase brand awareness and drive more leads,” said Renee Bergeron, Ingram’s senior vice president of global cloud, during a keynote this morning at the Cloud Summit.
Ken Bock, owner of Leading Edge Solutions, a provider of helpdesk services, computer support, and consulting in Northbrook, Ill., likes what he knows about the hub so far. “I’m looking for all the [marketing] help I possibly can get,” he says. “I do bits and bytes, not flash and bling.”
Also new to the cloud marketplace is a self-serve support portal that lets resellers check the status of previously submitted help requests. “In the past, they might have had to call back later that afternoon,” said Bergeron in an interview with ChannelPro. “They’re avoiding having to make an extra call by getting all that information at their fingertips.”
To streamline integration with the tools resellers use to run their businesses, Ingram has introduced a new Marketplace API that directly links its own cloud ordering, provisioning, and invoicing systems with external CRM, accounting, and PSA solutions. Managed services software vendor ConnectWise will be the first vendor to use the new tool, which will allow MSPs to buy, deploy, and bill for cloud subscriptions directly from within the ConnectWise Manage PSA solution.
“It simplifies everyone’s life,” said recently appointed ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee during a brief appearance in Bergeron’s keynote this morning. Imagine, he told ConnectWise users, going into the Ingram cloud marketplace and placing an order. “Next thing you know it’s already flowed down to your instance of ConnectWise Manage, has updated your customer agreements, and the invoices are being sent out without having to have human interaction.”
Bock, whose company uses ConnectWise Manage, is looking forward to the easier invoicing the new API promises to enable. At present, he notes, billing customers for cloud services is a largely manual process that his team begins almost a week before the month ends. “The more efficient we can be at that, the more it frees them up for other avenues that could be more revenue driven,” he says.