Ingram Micro has named a customer experience chief for its U.S. partners and launched a new partner organization aimed at nurturing up-and-coming vendors.
The distributor announced both moves on the opening day of its ONE conference, which is taking place online this week.
Tyler Coughlan, who has been in charge of Ingram’s National Solution Providers Business Unit since 2015, is now officially vice president of U.S. Customer Experience as well. His duties include ensuring that every sales, marketing, support, financing, or other interaction that either a reseller or vendor has with Ingram enhances their satisfaction with the distributor.
“We believe when we deliver the better experience we win,” said Kirk Robinson, Ingram’s senior vice president and chief country executive for the U.S., in a conversation this week with ChannelPro.
Coughlan’s appointment is one manifestation of a larger, ongoing effort by Ingram to make partner experience a source of strong relationships and incremental revenue. The company highlighted that effort a year ago at its 2019 ONE conference.
“We’re investing in automation and digital experience to lower the cost of transaction, speed responses, and open transparency into the supply chain,” said Paul Bay, executive vice president and president of Global Technology Solutions at Ingram, in a ONE keynote presentation this morning.
In his new role, Coughlan will be in charge of adding and updating systems that seek to enhance partner satisfaction by streamlining labor-intensive tasks. Ingram’s Cisco Partner Go portal, for example, lets resellers create quotes, convert them to orders, arrange special pricing, get status updates, and share all of that information with their Cisco account manager, all on a self-serve basis. A similar tool for IBM resellers debuted more recently.
“As our IBM software business continues to grow, we’ve built out API connectivity with IBM and are making the whole ordering and tracking much more efficient for those partners,” Robinson says.
Coughlan’s team has also added net promoter score functionality to Ingram’s CRM system that periodically runs automated satisfaction surveys. The new tool is designed to ensure that partner account managers learn about unhappy partners more quickly.
“The old method was to go out once a year, survey our customers and our vendors, pull all that data in, put it in the right format, and then get it out to our folks.” Robinson says, adding that account reps now know when one of their partners is unsatisfied within days or weeks.
“That’s allowing us to turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer because of the way we’re jumping right on it,” says Robinson, who highlighted CRM enhancements more broadly as an example of Ingram’s focus on partner experience during a keynote this morning.
“We’re getting to know you better,” he said. “We want to know every aspect of your business so we can have more intelligent conversations with you around the solutions you need to bring to your customer.”
The new partner organization, called the Emerging Business Group, combines Ingram’s emerging vendor team with resources from Ingram’s Promark unit, a U.S. value-added distributor focused on data storage and virtualization. Independently, both organizations have helped Arctic Wolf, Bitdefender, Blancco, ENET, Nutanix, Proofpoint, and Scale Computing, and others build robust channel sales programs.