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Tech Data TechSelect: It’s All About the Business

Tech Data’s TechSelect conference is being held in New Orleans this week, and I’m glad to be here. Not just because we’re not in Las Vegas, but because this event exposes a side of the channel that I’m not often privy to—the actual business of being a reseller.

Charlene O'Hanlon

April 22, 2015

2 Min Read
Tech Data TechSelect: It’s All About the Business

Tech Data’s (TECD) TechSelect Partner Conference is being held in New Orleans this week, and I’m glad to be here. Not just because we’re not in Las Vegas, but because this event exposes a side of the channel that I’m not often privy to—the actual business of being a reseller.

Sure, I attend plenty of partner conferences where vendor execs talk about technology and total solutions and ways channel partners can increase their margins and yada, yada, yada. But it’s rare when I can walk into a room and hear a step-by-step guide to creating a stellar sales organization or ways resellers can effectively manage multiple business models—resale, managed services, professional services, etc. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

But it’s also enlightening. It reminds me that a good number of VARs weren’t business majors in college. They need information relevant to running their companies on a day-to-day basis. It’s something Tech Data is hoping it’s achieving through TechSelect and other programs.

“What attendees need is not always what they’re looking for,” said Marty Bauerlein, senior vice president of U.S. Sales at Tech Data. “The conversations happening here are ones VARs don’t think about but they come to the event and are glad Tech Data is thinking out of the box.”

One such conversation is the “prepping for retirement” discussion, Bauerlein noted—many VARs are trying to decide whether to invest more in their company to make it more attractive to potential buyers five-or-so years down the road, or stay status quo and hope for the best.

“The conundrum for them is, Do I want to put more chips in? Do I want to make an investment that will put me in a good position a few years from now?” he said. “I would say it’s 50/50—many have a great business model but they’re not into managed services. Others know they have to expand.

“They want guidance on what they need to do to increase their ROI,” he added. “A lot of smaller VARs are wearing many hats and can’t get as deep, so they’re glad we are having these conversations with them.”

Other conversations are more basic, such as the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees. “When our controller gave her presentation on accounting today, it turned into a discussion about labor laws,” Bauerlein said. “Her presentation was an hour, and 20 minutes of that time was about labor laws and compliance. It’s clear there is a need for that kind of information.”

Which is what strikes me the most about this event. Sure, there’s plenty of technology discussion happening. But there’s an underlying conversation about business. Which is really what it’s all about.

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