Nortel touts SMB ambitions

Nortel’s latest SMB recruitment campaign is bound for the Middle East and Africa in 2007 after its recent launch in a number of mature European markets. Like the vast majority of its networking rivals, Nortel is eager to secure a bigger chunk of the SMB sector by exploiting the reach of its distribution partners and recruiting new qualified SMB resellers.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 17, 2006

Nortel’s latest SMB recruitment campaign is bound for the Middle East and Africa in 2007 after its recent launch in a number of mature European markets. Like the vast majority of its networking rivals, Nortel is eager to secure a bigger chunk of the SMB sector by exploiting the reach of its distribution partners and recruiting new qualified SMB resellers. "Nortel is working with SMB resellers who understand today's new world of convergence, applications and mobility and can add value to our award-winning portfolio of small and medium market solutions," said Amanda Giddins, EMEA distribution/indirect reseller business director at Nortel. "Nortel has been implementing a number of market initiatives this year to simplify the way we work with our SMB resellers, offering them new business opportunities with minimal up front cost and virtually no down-time through direct local Nortel support," added Giddins. To what extent Nortel can pursue these goals in the Middle East and Africa remains open to debate, however. In Europe, the vendor operates a solid two-tier structure that is highly reliant on the recruitment skills of veteran distributors such as Westcon Group, Azlan, Ingram Micro and Crane, all of whom are well-versed in Nortel’s SMB Accelerate Partner Programme. But the US-based vendor’s channel in the Middle East isn’t as rigid and consists of a much smaller framework of partners. It currently employs UAE-based PACC-MDS as a distribution partner and is understood to work with up to 25 other key reseller partners throughout the region. This includes Al Moayyed Computers in Bahrain, BTC Networks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, STS and A’man Trading & Marketing in Jordan, and Palmyra in Syria. Nortel’s SMB drive is initially kicking off in Western Europe and Spain, but the company insists the push will spread to the rest of EMEA at the beginning of next year. Nortel also confirmed last week that it is investing in a themed end-to-end marketing campaign entitled ‘Grow Your Business. Think Small.’ The SMB-focused campaign features a range of activities such as online and print advertising - targeting the end user and channel audiences - and regionally run business road-shows. A leading element of the campaign is a localised direct marketing programme. Nortel claims it is one of the first vendors to offer a targeted SMB data approach that delivers segmentation of early adopters and identifies verticals of SMB end user communities. This is subsequently mapped against the regional locality of Nortel's partners allowing resellers to develop highly targeted marketing campaigns that create new business opportunities, according to the vendor.

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