3Com increases its partner focus

3Com is overhauling and enhancing its Focus channel programme as it looks to retain existing partners and boost their profits and levels of competitiveness.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  December 18, 2002

3Com is overhauling and enhancing its Focus channel programme as it looks to retain existing partners and boost their profits and levels of competitiveness. At its annual 3Com University event in Frankfurt last month, the networking vendor unveiled a host of changes, including additional certifications, vertical solutions, a service authorisation programme and web-based tools to ease access to information.

“Our ultimate goal is to remain the preferred vendor in the channel. We also want to make sure that more and more of our business gets funnelled through certified partners because this indirectly assures us that the service that gets delivered with our products is sufficient. Our goal is to see 80% of our business go through one of our focused resellers,” says Stanmira Koleva, channel director, 3Com EMEA & Asia Pacific.

With 3Com’s partner programme broken down into the traditional gold, silver and bronze tiers, the vendor is keen to push more registered resellers into these tiers as it targets growth in the enterprise sector. While 3Com has about 35,000 resellers — 250 resellers in its gold tier, 2000 in silver and about 8000 in its bronze tier, the other 25,000 are registered resellers that bring in few transactions.

“A short term aim is to reduce the number of inactive partners; we don’t want certified partners that don’t bring in business for us. We also want to support partners in larger projects by encouraging them to seek support and co-selling models,” explains Koleva.

As part of its plans to target larger enterprise projects, 3Com is expanding its range of vertical solutions. Government and healthcare offerings are being rolled out this month and 3Com is keen to drive this business through its gold and silver partners. As such, the vendor is offering additional sales training and support opportunities for these partners.

“In terms of new verticals… we want to concentrate on our gold and silver tier partners because the level of involvement that it requires to be successful selling into some verticals limits the number of partners we can include. We will make available sales training, co-selling initiatives with our account managers, as well as typical solutions and staging opportunities for them to come and check on our solutions,” explains Koleva.

3Com is also rolling out further training and discount incentives to encourage partners to develop into new areas and growth opportunities, which ultimately fuel its own revenues.

“The partners are our main go-to-market route so this is vital for us in terms of improving our business. We try to figure out the key things that will make them more effective,” states Koleva.

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