Beal too calls Ingram’s partner investments differentiating. “From what I’ve seen in the industry, they’re the first distributor that’s made a purposeful and huge investment in customer/partner success,” he says. “They’re building out multiple centers of excellence around the world and adding hundreds of head count in order to help partners with the expansion of their managed services business.”
Many of those recently added employees work in the customer success organization that Ingram began building last February. Specialists in that team offer partners one-to-one counseling on strategies for driving client retention by ensuring that end users benefit from the cloud subscriptions they buy.
“Churn is super costly,” Bay noted during his keynote. “That’s one reason why our customer success programs that we have work with all of you and your partners to make sure those business outcomes are actually being realized.”
Those programs fill a gap that Beal says has long existed in the channel. “Partners are great at new logo acquisition. They drive a ton of customer acquisition and sell an initial set of services,” he says. They’re less skilled, however, at cross-selling and customer retention.
“They just don’t have that know-how,” Beal says. “They don’t have in-house expertise to really drive a customer success methodology.”
Ingram’s efforts to provide that expertise are having a measurable impact on AvePoint’s sales. “Our metric for the number of services sold per partner is increasing and the number of seats through Ingram partners is growing at a higher rate than with our other distributors,” Beal says.
Other elements of Ingram’s partner success campaign include its decision last year to discontinue outsourced customer support.
“We knew that insourcing support, owning support, would make us more humble through your direct feedback, but also give us the best opportunity to learn what’s truly happening in our returning business,” said Baez this morning. In the months since that change, he added, customer satisfaction has risen 40% and support-related cancellations have “practically disappeared.”
Last but far from least among Ingram’s investments in its channel are its financing programs, which according to Bay are helping channel pros with newborn cloud service practices “make sure that cash flow doesn’t disrupt their business, so they can pivot much more quickly than they have in the past.”
This year’s Cloud Summit event is the first to be held face to face since 2019. It concludes tomorrow, and will return a year from now in Las Vegas.