Maximizing the Power of Online (and In-Person) Communities

Posted by Mike Fitch on Apr 28, 2022

Online communities are an effective, influential way for individuals to discover and engage with like-minded individuals to gain new perspectives and collaborate to solve common challenges. As organizations adapt to evolving CDC guidelines and recommendations, more of these online communities are allowing for in-person events and meetings, adding an entirely new element to the benefit of these groups.


Earlier this year, I wrote about how the three TD SYNNEX communities have learned to co-exist, with each peer-to-peer group offering its own unique benefits and competitive advantages. As we continue to see increased growth and participation in our Stellr, TechSelect and Varnex communities, we reached out to Chun Lee, vice president of North America Communities at TD SYNNEX for additional context and clarity on how our partners can best utilize these three groups. Chun is responsible for the strategic direction of the CommunitySolv umbrella, specifically as it relates to member recruitment and retention. Chun brings more than 30 years of experience in the technology channel, spending time in end user relationships, sales, product marketing and IT services.

Attendees of the Varnex Spring Conference 2022, one of our many in-person and virtual events throughout the year, network and collaborate with one another.

Elements of this article are part of an interview transcript; responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.


Primary Benefits: Expansion Across the Board

Each of our three communities serves its own unique purposes, and our dedicated TD SYNNEX CommunitySolv team will work closely with partners to establish a profile and determine which community (or communities) will provide the most advantages to their business. Some of these benefits include:

  • Members grow at a premium to non-members

The primary benefit to joining an online community is straightforward: community members are growing at a premium over their non-member competitors. As our communities mature, it allows us to analyze more data that comes available to us. As a result, we’ve often seen double-digit CAGR for organizations that are a member of one or more of our communities compared to their similarly-profiled competitors.

  • Expand your network of contacts

One thing that CommunitySolv members realize is that they’re often not alone. Challenges that you may be experiencing with an end user need may not be unique and by expanding your network to others in the channel, partners gain new perspectives to help solve these common challenges. Likewise, you may be looking to implement a vendor program or tap into a new market or expand in the marketplace; members can capitalize by finding somebody who has gone through similar experiences.

  • Exposure to TD SYNNEX and vendor executives

Through the power of being a CommunitySolv member, smaller channel partners are now able to break down the barriers that may have limited their exposure to vendor executives, a treatment that may typically have been reserved for larger partners in the past. This exposure to vendor executives will often give you unique views on what’s coming soon, what industry research trends are showing and how to be more proactive, instead of reactive, with those industry insights.

  • Tangible business growth opportunities

One of the ways we can immediately assist members is through very tangible business benefits. Services like increased credit lines, solution discounts, financial terms and priority support. For example, we recently teamed up with a healthcare partner whose growth had stagnated year-over-year. They joined one of our communities and learned how we could free up their customer credit lines to instantly enable them to do more business, scale their solutions and capitalize on vendor support for new healthcare programs and get back to a growth trajectory.


For New Members: Driving Progress, Together

Growing CommunitySolv membership isn’t something that only benefits TD SYNNEX. When more channel partners register for one of our communities, the more thought leadership, subject-matter expertise and collective brainstorming can occur, turning it into a true win-win for the channel. We want more members entangled in our ecosystem so that we can collectively grow faster at a premium to the marketplace.


Right now, we’re focused on expanding recruitment into our ecosystem to enable more partners to grow faster. In fact, we’ve added more members in the last quarter than the entire year prior, so there’s a growing level of excitement building. We now have five dedicated business development executives to support our partner members, which allows us to enhance our engagement and enablement. We’ve also been able to develop a more streamlined onboarding process, with customized welcome kits so that they can take advantage of the aforementioned benefits right away.


Maximizing the Experience: Blurring the Lines Between Online and In-Person

While it may sound cliché, you get out of communities what you’re willing to put in. One of the great things about CommunitySolv is that it’s the organization that gets access, not just a single individual, so a business can dedicate as many (or as few) of their resources across their organization since there is likely something unique for every role.


One of the best ways to maximize your experience is to attend a live event, which we host several throughout the year. These live events allow for increased networking where attendees can gain the most insight through those “watercooler conversations” that aren’t happening virtually. Our live events are small enough to maintain that intimacy of personalized attention while being large enough to effectively grow a network of new connections. Alternatively, we also host live virtual events regularly if travel scheduling conflicts. Having active and real-time conversations for connections and engagements that we help facilitate and organize with broader audience. These events allow members to identify those that have similar challenges and engage them in some effective roundtable dialog and solutioning.

Reunited and it feels so good — Shirts were passed out to attendees at the Varnex Spring Conference, our first in-person conference in over two years.

Another way to get the most out of our communities is by being proactive, especially with communication, training and enablement. We encourage members to set up meetings with vendors, other partners or TD SYNNEX BDEs to ask questions, provide feedback and offer recommendations on how we can improve our community practice. Proactive members can quickly grow their connections and learn more about new training and certification opportunities. We find that it’s much easier to ask for advice than to guess incorrectly about a particular challenge.


Sage Wisdom: Becoming an Extension of Your Organization

“TD SYNNEX is not a partner; you are a part of our company.”


This quote was expressed by one of our channel partners at a recent executive meeting and it embodies why our communities exist. It’s our goal to serve as an extension of your company and that type of intimacy can only happen when walls are broken down and lines of communication become more vulnerable. Communities allow us to show those vulnerabilities and build relationships to help solve roadblocks.


As far as advice for channel partners and CommunitySolv members, don’t be shy about asking for help because there is an abundance of it available. Let us know when you need to go deeper or wider in a subject; together, we can establish a plan to expand or evolve your business. The marketplace is changing, and we need to partner together to take advantage of all resources available. We only win if you win.


In the coming months, we’re excited to evolve our communities to be more inclusive to partners with business models that have a heavy emphasis on next-generation technologies like cloud, 5G, mobility and data analytics. This allows us to better serve those members with benefits that make more sense to their business.


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About the Author

TD Synnex Editor

Mike Fitch
Content marketer and communicator through and through. ASU grad with more than 10 years of B2B tech marketing/communications experience.