Embracing those and other next-generation opportunities requires market knowledge, sales skills, and technical capabilities most traditional VARs lack. Practice Builder is Tech Data’s biggest vehicle for guiding partners through that transition. At present, the company has 80 employees dedicated exclusively to Practice Builder engagements. Investments like that are bearing fruit though in the form of increased ordering activity, according to Marty Bauerlein, Tech Data’s senior vice president for North American sales.
“When you have that differentiated value, you capture more of the VAR’s share of wallet,” he says.
According to Bauerlein, Tech Data will ultimately create digital versions of all its Practice Builder programs. His hope is that most graduates of those online offerings will opt to seek further, more personalized guidance.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a contact sport,” Bauerlein says. “If you’re really serious about building a practice or a business, you’re going to need some hands-on video conferencing or speaking with some of our experts.”
Nethercoat agrees. “What we’re looking for is this being an opportunity for us to tell a story to a broader group of partners who then raise their hand for deeper engagement,” she says, citing Tech Data’s cloud summits and boot camps as potential venues for that additional contact.
Inclusive of Practice Builder, Bauerlein continues, Tech Data will spend some $10 million over three years on people and programs aimed at helping partners launch next-generation services.
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” he says. “It’s heavy lifting, but again at the end of the day the VARs are rewarding us with more spend.”