BOSTON — As Synnex‘s Varnex conference kicked off this morning, the message was clear: The distributor is pushing hard to continue developing Varnex, which only crossed the border into the Great White North last year, as a community of SMB-focused partners. Synnex’s head of marketing asked members to get involved and spread the word to attract more members to the three-year-old organization.
“You get out of Varnex what you put into it,” said Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing for North America at Synnex, during his opening addresss at the conference. There’s only so much that Synnex can do to make Varnex work; the rest is up to an active membership base, he added.
Mike Brogan, president of Erb’s Technology Solutions and president of the Varnex Advisory Council, echoed Stegner’s thoughts on the matter, noting that the Varnex Advisory Council continues to strive to grow the membership base and get existing members active. Currently, the Varnex community is made up of about 250 resellers, but Synnex is hoping to grow that number to 350. Of course, the Canadian membership base is only a small portion of the number, with about 30 members (several of which are in attendance here in Boston at the conference).
“You can’t call us a new group any more. You can’t. We are a set group. We’re well-recognized,” Stegner said.
In Canada, though, Varnex is still getting off the ground. The community pushed north out of the U.S. last year, and the November 2010 Varnex conference was the first one that included Canadian resellers. As Stegner noted in a quick conversation with ChannelBuzz.ca following the general session, there were two minds as to how to get Canadians to a Varnex conference, and the Canuck membership chose to be involved in the U.S. conference rather than have their own (30 members might make for a rather small conference, as was pointed out by one Canadian reseller who not only returned to the conference but brought a team member with him this time).
Synnex is enticing VARs to pass on the word about the Varnex community in the hopes of building up to its membership base. During his presentation, Stegner said Synnex would waive one quarter’s membership dues for any VAR that successfully brought in a new member.
The distributor is also embracing social media as a means of finding new members. Several members are now connected to Synnex via its Facebook page (according to Stegner, more than 100 resellers signed up within 24 hours of the page going live). Stegner also hinted at further Facebook initiatives that will be rolling out this year.
“In today’s world, it’s that little edge that makes it better for you,” Stegner said.
To keep Varnex members up to date on current goings-on, Synnex will also be generating more content — something that Stegner said is going to be a focus for Varnex this year. Members can expect more out of the e-newsletter (although very few members are currently subscribed; that’s another thing Synnex is hoping to change), as well as a series of monthly webinars that will kick off in the next few weeks.