Zebra recognizes the challenges SMB companies face in today’s economy,  and have built the SMB Specialization Program to help provide resellers the tools and support  they need to build a strong pipeline and close deals in a highly competitive market.   Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation sits down with Bill Cate of Zebra to discuss this SMB Specialization Program for North America and how it enables PartnerConnect partners to compete more effectively in the SMB market.

Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford 

Hey nation nation Harry here with Bill Cate from Zebra how’re you doing? Bill?

Bill Cate 

Fantastic area. Good to join you today.

Harry Brelsford 

I appreciate it. So Zebra is a company that I track and you recently announced a new SMB partner program. So what’s the story there?

Bill Cate 

Well, thanks for asking. And thanks for having me on. SMB is a pretty good percentage of our overall business. It’s about 20% of zebras business today. So we wanted to put an extra emphasis behind it to really start to accelerate the business.

Harry Brelsford 

Yep, yep. Perfect. What are some of the How does? How would I become a partner with Zebra? What’s the what’s it look like? What’s the process?

Bill Cate 

 Well, we, uh, you know, a good summary of what we do, which might help a better captured the kind of partners we look for hairy as we, our vision is about enterprise asset intelligence. So it’s really about working with partners to deliver solutions that offer visibility to our customers, every asset, every worker on the edge is visible, connected and fully optimized. So our traditional channel has been focused on mobile computing technologies, scanning, barcode scanning technologies, RFID, thermal printing, and motion sensing technologies, we have about 10,000 partners in our program today, very channel centric, but 80% of our business and revenue is through partners. So we are open to entertaining, recruiting partners across the board. So we’re always looking for good partners. As we look at the SMB program, which is probably where your question was focused, we’re looking for partners that are already focused in the SMB space, our goal is not to train partners how to sell to SMB, what we’ve learned is that SMB customers have a very different set of needs. So we’re looking for partners that already know how to sell to SMB, we are classifying that in two different ways, we’re looking for partners that have a minimum threshold for engaging in the program, for example, at the lower level of the specialist program, they have to have a million dollars of revenues today in SMB, and have sold to a minimum of 400 SMB end users in a 12 month period, there’s a more advanced level of the program where we’re looking for revenues of $2.5 million a year, and 1000 end users. So it we’re looking for partners that are really focused in this space.

Harry Brelsford 

Yeah, and I’d say really active. That’s an SMB Nation. It’s a million in revenue is a funny number, because we have a lot of partners who were lifestyle consultants, right? They’re just they’re making a handsome living, maybe have one or two employees, let’s just say maybe they’re around three to 400,000 in revenue. And then we have some partners, some of our top partners are, you know, 25 million in revenue, this one out of Detroit. And here’s my point, when you say, when we talk about the average SMB Nation member is right, around a million on average, well, averages are misleading, because it’s viewed by those very large partners. Right.

Bill Cate 

Yeah. Well, and to your point, Harry, and it’s a great question, because we piloted this program in 2021. Oh, yeah, we piloted it with 20 partners. And we wanted to start slow, because I think is you know, and your, your listeners know, is selling to SMB end users requires a special skill set and an understanding of how SMB customers buy. So we started small, with 20 partners. And because of that, we kept our criteria quite, quite high, right, so that we could give a white glove support to those partners. Now to your point, though, is as this expands, we’re looking to add more and more partners. So if an SMB partner focus partner approaches us, and they’re of the size and profile that you’re describing, we are more than welcome to entertaining them have joining the program and adjusting the criteria as we because it’s about use cases, it’s about solutions. We’re not selling value chair volume to SMBs. We’re helping to solve their their solution use cases. So if partners have the ability to sell use cases into manufacturing, warehousing back of store applications for SMB retailers, SMB field service applications. Come on, we’d love to talk to you because It’s really about the use case right

Harry Brelsford 

all right well sure appreciate you briefing us on the Zebra partner program thanks Bill

Bill Cate 

hey you better thank you