Compaq last week embarked on a new strategy in the US to increase its sales to small and midsize businesses through stepped-up advertising for its DirectPlus program and the creation of an "agency program" to pay resellers for their customers' names.
As part of the program, the company has promised resellers that it will not make outbound calls to gain new customers. Rather, Compaq will take over the relationship with customers when the name of a customer from an inbound call appears on Compaq's database as a reseller customer.
In that case, Compaq will pay the reseller a fee for dealing directly with the customer.
Resellers said they believe Compaq is going to have a difficult time convincing its resellers that they are not going to lose out on sales.
"Compaq's job will be to assure the reseller that his agency fee is equal to the markup he would have charged the customer," said Doug Antone, an executive at Ingram Micro.
Although resellers appear to be willing to give the new program a chance, some said they are hesitant.
"I'd have to be lying if I said I wasn't nervous," said Scott Detota, general manager for Compaq and IBM systems at Insight.
"I have to have the confidence that they will support the channel."