IBM puts channel rules on paper

IBM puts channel rules on paper

Principles of Engagement document designed to improve partner sales relationships

IBM has unveiled its Principles of Engagement document

IBM has unveiled its Principles of Engagement document

A new IBM sales strategy document designed to clearly define channel rules of engagement is expected to be adopted locally, its Australian channel boss claims.

Last week, IBM unveiled a Principles of Engagement document in the US to improve the lines of communication between internal sales staff and business partners. The document also aims to ensure consistency in the way the vendor engages on indirect versus direct sales across all business units.

Key rules include respecting a business partners’ existing engagement with a customer, as well as publishing a list of direct IBM accounts. According to US media reports, the Principles of Engagement will initially cover x86-based servers, followed by Power servers, storage and System Z mainframes.

Australian director of global business partners, Andrew Baker, said the document had been circulating internally during recent months.

“From an Australian perspective, we see this as a very positive initiative and the sort of thing we could work with here. I think our channel partners would also view this as very positive,” Baker said.

He was unable to confirm when partners could expect to see the Principles of Engagement document in Australia.

“We’ll need to consider it from a local environment and legal perspective,” Baker said.

Having a defined sales engagement structure was not new for IBM, he said.

Baker pointed to its Business Partner charter, which has been around since the mid-1990s.

“At our Business Partner Summit last year, we did something similar, albeit it at an event, where we laid out a go-to-market strategy and clarified that partners are our chosen route to market, especially for the SMB segment,” he said. “We wanted to define our position because we wanted business partners to understand our intent and think about making investment in IBM at a conceptual level. So what we have done [locally] is in sync with this US announcement. ”

Since last year’s summit, IBM had witnessed a substantial increase in customer deals going through channel partners, Baker said. The “vast bulk” of its SMB hardwarebusiness was now fulfilled by partners.

In January, the vendor also restructured its SMB business unit and increased investment into its indirect business partners.

“Our strategy for SMB and mid-market has been about building capacity in our channel,” Baker said. “We also have larger systems integration partners we are working with in our sector/enterprise accounts, where we have opened up the opportunity more so than in the past. This is because these partners offer a great set of skills, staff and are well trusted in the market.”

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