Partners Say D&H's Technology Muscle Is Key To Closing Deals

D&H Distributing's partners say the company's technology solutions muscle combined with its ability to drive deep and long-lasting sales relationships is powering big sales growth with their SMB customers.

D&H is willing to make the necessary investments to help power solution provider businesses, including a rep for every single D&H customer along with free pre- and post-sales engineering support for complex solutions deals, partners say.

Three solution providers tell CRN how the distributor is helping them close deals with their SMB customers.

Dayton Cincinnati Technology Services

Dayton Cincinnati Technology Services, which specializes in K-12 education solutions, is winning big deals in the education market by teaming with D&H.

The Blue Ash, Ohio-based solution provider has partnered with D&H on an E-Rate project -- a $2 million school district deal that featured Hewlett Packard Enterprise Aruba products, said Rick Grinstead, a managing partner for Dayton Cincinnati Technology Services, which was founded in 2005 and has 28 employees."D&H consistently delivers for us and follows up," he said.

Grinstead, a longtime member of D&H's K-12 Advisory Board, credits D&H Vice President of VAR Sales Peter DiMarco with helping drive a stronger focus on solutions in the education market. "Peter has really helped take the D&H K-12 business to another level," he said.

Grinstead also praised D&H for providing partners with a forum to collaborate and share ideas on the education market.

"We have become closer to D&H as a result of the advisory board," he said. "They listen to us and they respond."

Among the keys to the solution provider's success in the education market is that it uses the products it sells to schools in its own business, including those from vendors HPE Aruba, Palo Alto Networks, ViewSonic, HP and Acer.

Dayton Cincinnati Technology Services also provides its own education software applications to school districts. Among the apps it has built for school districts are online enrollment, bus schedules, display controllers, and a container application called Onmedia Spot for streaming video, photos and PDFs.

The Onmedia Spot application -- which can be class-specific -- provides permissions for obtaining access to specific content. The application is now being used in about 30 school districts. "It's been a great product for us," said Grinstead.

D&H's ability to constantly look to the future during its 100- year history is a credit to the company and key to its continued success, said Grinstead. "I think it speaks to the fact that D&H can change as the technology changes," he said.

D&H's employee-owned business model also is a competitive advantage, said Grinstead, and has created a culture of strong, long-lasting relationships with partners. "It's easy to get to know D&H from the president down to the sales reps," he said. "They are very approachable and attentive."

Unlike some other distributors, D&H makes sure every solution provider has its own sales rep. "With some distributors you go into a pool of reps," said Grinstead. "We have a dedicated rep with D&H. They know us, and we know them. They know what we need."

-- Steven Burke

Dynamic Computer Solutions

As far as Rich McDaniel is concerned, D&H is Dynamic Computer Solutions of Topeka's go-to distributor because it understands what SMB partners require.

"We work with D&H because they get us," said McDaniel, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Dynamic Computer Solutions. "We're not bringing them tens of millions of dollars a year in business. But they know us, and know we are a consistent partner."

A market like Topeka means the solution provider works with small businesses across the entire spectrum of industries, and that makes D&H, with its deep knowledge of the SMB customer, the ideal distribution partner, McDaniel said.

Dynamic Computer Solutions' business still primarily comes from hardware and software sales, but 85 percent of its customers are using some sort of cloud services, primarily Microsoft Office 365, he said. The solution provider is working with one customer on the Microsoft Azure cloud, as well as with several customers on cloud-based secure file sharing and web-based security, he said.

"D&H fits right in with us," McDaniel said. "We try to partner with companies that know us, and know who they are selling to. D&H knows who they are selling to. They don't care how many servers we buy."

Despite its small size, Dynamic Computer Solutions receives "tons" of training from D&H, McDaniel said. The distributor's high-touch model with partners is a big differentiator as well, he said, adding he has met with Donny Lu, senior vendor business manager for D&H's HPE business, and Lu has called him several times. "I've never seen that kind of touch from any other distributor," McDaniel said.

-- Joseph F. Kovar

Troxell

Solution providers like Phoenix-based Troxell have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a distributor. And it is options that have made D&H the company's primary go-to distribution partner.

Will Stone, an account executive for one of the top education solution providers in the country, said Troxell has found D&H to be the best partner when it comes to finding the right options for customers. Whether it's a small peripheral or a complex solution, D&H knows how to bring the right products into play to meet customers' needs.

"I can take that little bit of information to D&H, which will come back with suggestions that meet clients' needs," Stone told CRN, noting that even something as commonplace as the right-sized cover for an Apple iPad is no problem for the distributor.

D&H is well-known for its responsiveness in large part because of sales reps who work with partners for years, Stone said. For Troxell, that individual is Michael Snell, who has worked with the solution provider for two years.

"A long-term rep is very important," Stone said. "Not only do we exchange emails, but he gives us peace of mind knowing that he is there. I've also met him in person, which makes me more inclined to go to him for help. In this industry, relationships are important. Snell knows me, and I know him. He knows my quirks."

Having a distributor with a sales rep who understands Troxell's business is especially important given its heavy emphasis on the education vertical, Stone said. Troxell has five core competencies related to education, including audio and video and interactive technology, mobile learning, collaborative core learning, asset management and campus safety.

"D&H has brand experts who know the education product lines backward and forward, for any use," he said. "Just specify the topic, and they'll provide the information, the white papers or videos or other support, we need to close the business."

-- Joseph F. Kovar

Read more articles on: