Are You Making the Most of Your Value-Added Distributor Partnership?

Tina Furlan

April 29, 2024

Are You Making the Most of Your Value-Added Distributor Partnership?

Many VARs/MSPs never realize the full value of a hardware distributor. Unlike wholesalers or broad-line distribution, distributor programs foster partnerships that transcend the transaction of goods. These programs make the distributor a  Value-Added Distributor (VAD).  These programs provide resources and services that help partners deploy products as well. Yet many partners never engage in these programs, likely due to a lack of awareness. So here are a few distributor programs worth exploring within your partnerships.

Certification Training

Many distributor programs offer certification training for partners. These training programs can help your team become experts in specific products or technologies, allowing you to provide better support and services to your customers. Certification training can also give your business a competitive edge by demonstrating your expertise to potential clients.  An example of this type of program is the TDL Gentek University, where certifications on Ubiquiti, TP-Link, and Grandstream are standard offerings for partners who are looking to level up their game. 

Blind Drop Shipping vs Personalized Shipping

Blind drop shipping allows you to send products directly to your customers without revealing the source. This is incredibly useful for maintaining your brand identity and customer relationships. By utilizing blind drop shipping, your customers receive their orders as if they came directly from you, enhancing the customer experience and simplifying logistics.

Personalized Shipping

Some IT businesses order products for hand-delivery to their customers. However, most distributors ship straight to the end-user’s door to eliminate such leg-work. With services like kitting (packaging inserts) and labeling, your customers receive the same level of personalization.

Likewise, distributors expedite drop-shipments, getting your products out faster. The shipping channels available through partner programs are vastly superior to those you might acquire externally. If you rely on your shipping strategies, you're missing out on substantial value.

Automatic Provisioning

With the right partner, your tech team no longer needs to pre-configure devices. Full-provisioning and custom firmware loading services reduce the time-to-deployment for your customers and save resources in-house. This gives the plug-and-play allure to new customers who are less tech-savvy—something particularly useful for hosted services.

Hassle Free RMA Process

Some distributors offer a hassle free return merchandise authorization (RMA) process. This means that if you need to return a product for any reason, you can do so without providing too much information. This can be especially valuable when a product is defective or not as expected, as it allows you to quickly and easily return the item for a refund or replacement.

IT Consulting and Troubleshooting

Distributors are hardware experts. Vendors license and train their distributors before allowing them to catalog a product. From product recommendations to technical support, make sure to pick your distributor’s brain from time-to-time. Interfacing with the staff is a major benefit over online-only e-commerce centers.

Many distributor programs also offer coaching and marketing services. These are perhaps the largest initiatives for empowering partners and their customers. For startups, especially, picking the right distribution partner can make or break the business.

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