The Scansource Event 2023

I drove over to the Scansource event in Orlando yesterday. There was some hope that Scansource would announce a replacement for JD, but no. They may be taking their time or candidates are interested. It will be a hard job trying to teach Greenville HQ that partners may seem like Customers but that calling them that doesn’t produce the correct sentiment.

The term Partner congers up one image, meaning, definition; Customer quite another. This may be the disconnect that can’t be fixed.

As I walked the expo floor, I saw many Distro vendors like Zebra. This demonstrates the other disconnect at Scansource: the varying business models of partners. VARs, MSP, Agents, SIs, ISVs – all have different business models. They are not going to change them for you.

This is like the period when AT&T was handing out APEX memberships to Agents. Agents don’t want to hold the paper, bill, collect and do back office as a rebiller. That is a different business model.

Agents don’t want to bill for hardware – laptops, barcode readers, phones or whatever. It also requires a different business license in many states. Now the partner has to collect taxes; fill out forms; and cut a check quarterly for taxes to the city, county and state revenue offices. Can you see how that wouldn’t be a shift an Agent would make?

Recently for a project, I learned that no vendor rebills or resells cable TV bundles. One vendor blamed the FCC; one blamed Comcast; but really it comes down to collecting appropriate taxes and fees for the TV franchise (and licensing).

For that same project, a few vendors wouldn’t touch the voice piece because it is too much hassle for the money! Do you see what I am getting at?

When the former owners of Intelisys left, Scansource had Greenville execs run the brokerage. They lost ground. At this time in the channel, there are too many PE fueled brokerages who will zoom past Scansource, if Greenville doesn’t get its act together.

Intelisys has lost quite a few of its top partners to PE-backed brokerages. It will likely lose more.

The two things that AppSmart and Scansource do the same: (1) Have non-Channel people run the channel business. (2) Push that Hybrid notion. It isn’t a model. It is a notion. A notion that the same org selling 10 seats of UCaaS and cable modem subscriptions wants to sell Dropbox or a barcode scanner.

Empowering the business for partners will need to be job one – and to do that you have to understand what that business (model) is.

I think that Scansource has a small window to pick someone and get the brokerage moving in the right direction – and by that I mean, some leadership and re-building the culture so people stop leaving.

A side note:

Partners are still using more than one brokerage. Most of the partners I spoke with are using 3. That’s 3 shows almost back to back. One partner mentioned that he could literally be at a show or at training every week. Yep. There might be too many partners events. And quite frankly not a lot of valuable take-aways from them. Mainly just the networking and meetings with key people. The one that figures out how to provide the best education will come out ahead. I don’t need a free meal or anyone to pay for my drinks; I need to know about the new services and how to sell them.


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