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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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June 3, 2010 |

IBM Reaffirms Its Midmarket Focus

Big Blue aims to win more business with midsize customers by working more closely with its partners. By Cecilia Galvin

IBM Reaffirms Its Midmarket Focus

Big Blue aims to win more business with midsize customers by working more closely with its partners.

By Cecilia Galvinalvin

Last year, IBM made a push into the midmarket. Today, the company continues to focus on customers with fewer than 1,000 employees and relatively small IT staffs, and has devised a go-to-market strategy that is 100 percent channel focused. IBM’s Marc Dupaquier talks about that strategy and what’s in it for partners.

ChannelPro-SMB: What has changed in the PartnerWorld program this past year?
Dupaquier:
One of the key changes we made was to focus only on business partner–facing reps. Our go-to-market [strategy] for most of our business is 100 percent partner focused. We have 60 or 70 territory business partner reps, or TBPRs, in the U.S. working with partners to enable them to sell to our customers. We shifted a significant amount of money to help business partners with demand generation.

ChannelPro-SMB: So you don’t pass leads to your partners?
Dupaquier:
We invested an unbelievable amount of money trying to generate, nurture, and progress leads, and pass them [on]. It was highly frustrating for me when [partners] said, “When I get leads from you, they are not good.” We decided to shift from generating leads to helping business partners build more of their own leads. So we run joint events with them. It’s a self-generating engine because the more revenue you drive from this lead, the more money I’ll invest, the more marketing events [I’ll run] with you.

ChannelPro-SMB: Have you seen a significant change already?
Dupaquier:
Yes. Many of our business partners have no real marketing engine. So, even if I come to a business partner and tell him, “Here is $10,000, and with that you can run a local event. Let’s work on this together,” we have no one [within IBM] to do this well. Therefore, we hired a marketing agency in the U.S. called TSL [Marketing] to help us engage with business partners and run the marketing events for them.

When a TBPR selects a business partner in a given territory, I have TSL engage with the business partner, saying, “I have been hired by IBM to be your marketing department for this event. We will run the event with you and for you, we will drive the leads, and they will be your leads.” Business partners are very satisfied with our investment.

ChannelPro-SMB: What other changes have you made?
Dupaquier:
Our business partners are very comfortable engaging with IT managers. They say, we will do virtualization, a server, or something else, and they will go run it. They don’t need us for that. When you go into business discussions, saying, “Let’s consolidate what you have to build something that is more secure,” or “Let’s start building business insight capabilities”—this is not something you sell to the IT manager. You need to move up the food chain to the CFO, and you need to have a solution play. We engage with the business partner on that.


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