IBM Boosts Sales Efforts to Help Business Partners Accelerate Growth

New Sales Resources and Go-To-Market Programs Help Business Partners Close More Business

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LAS VEGAS, NV - 28 Feb 2005: IBM PartnerWorld -- IBM today announced that one thousand sales specialists will now be dedicated to working directly with Business Partners to generate new sales leads and close more business opportunities in the midmarket.

The expanded sales coverage is part of a global initiative to help independent software vendors (ISVs) and regional systems integrators (RSIs) market and sell more effectively in vertical industries and geographies.

According to Forrester, small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) are most likely to turn to regional consulting firms and systems integrators for their IT purchases. The SMB space is the fastest growing segment of overall IT spending, a market that IDC predicts will reach $360 billion this year.

Additionally, IBM is delivering new resources to better assist ISVs and RSIs to jointly identify and close new business opportunities. IBM is also expanding its technical enablement, co-marketing and demand generation resources to help ISVs meet customer demand in four new industries worldwide.

"With today's news, IBM is providing its Business Partners with the broadest range of resources to help them generate leads and close sales," said Buell Duncan, general manager, ISV & Developer Relations, IBM. "This includes much more than world class technical support and enablement. It's about dedicated sales support, advertising and co-marketing campaigns. No other vendor provides this level of support to ensure the success of their business partners in the marketplace."

Highlights of today's news include:

New Initiatives to Connect Business Partners and Increase Sales
IBM's plans to broaden its connection support builds upon a successful pilot program IBM conducted last year that brought together more than 60 ISVs from around the world with RSIs that helped them identify opportunities and close sales by territory and industry.

Today, IBM is introducing new initiatives to help ISVs connect with other Business Partners to help them go to market jointly and meet customer requirements. Based on feedback received through the pilot, IBM has tailored and refined the co-marketing and sales support to help ISVs better target working relationships within IBM's partner ecosystem and direct opportunities with IBM's customer base.

These new initiatives include worldwide connection events, online forums designed to facilitate relationship building and information sharing between Business Partners, financial support for worldwide co-marketing activities and one-on-one mentoring sessions with IBM and third-party experts.

IFS, a leading provider of component-based business software, was one of the first companies to participate in the pilot program. After 20 years of selling successfully through direct sales channels, IFS was looking to significantly strengthen their partner network to support growth in their target markets, specifically within the U.S. Through the pilot program, the company worked closely with IBM to develop its U.S. channel strategy, which included relationship building with three regional systems integrators, also IBM Business Partners, to expand its reach into the SMB market.

"Partners are an important part of our worldwide growth strategy across geographies and vertical industries," said Dave Eager, director of strategic alliances for IFS North America. "In the U.S., IBM helped define a channel strategy that would allow IFS to build strategic relationships with regional systems integrators and distributors, particularly in the SMB manufacturing space. As a result, we've been able to identify and leverage profitable, long-term relationships for both IFS and our partners in the U.S. Globally, we plan to develop similar relationships through IBM's worldwide network of partners to further expand our market reach."

"This is a huge step and one we're excited to see as a company that handles a lot of services and application integration projects for ISVs building on IBM technology," said Michael Hawksworth, president and CEO, MSS Technologies, a local systems integrator based in Phoenix that is deploying IFS applications in the U.S. "The ability to tap into IBM's broad industry expertise, enablement support and extensive network of ISVs will help us bring a much broader portfolio of solutions to our mid-size customers."

Expanding Industry Coverage with New Networks
Building on the success of PartnerWorld Industry Networks, IBM's fastest growing enablement and go-to-market program that has attracted thousands of ISVs across 60 countries, IBM today launched four new Industry Networks to help ISVs and regional systems integrators drive more sales. The new Industry Networks include Fabrication and Assembly, Wholesale Distribution, Media and Entertainment and Education and Learning.

Through PartnerWorld Industry Networks, ISVs can access a single source of focused business insight, networking and collaboration, enablement blueprints and technical resources, and sales and marketing support benefits. IBM is also expanding the program to deliver new resources and enablement tools to help ISVs plan, build, market and sell their software as services to customers. ISVs participating in the PartnerWorld Industry Networks will receive access to whitepapers authored by third-party experts, financial and ROI modeling tools, technical enablement resources and support, as well as industry connection events and webcasts.

Capturing Global Opportunities
According to IDC, the critical nature of supporting and establishing relationships with local ISVs and systems integrators is particularly true in emerging markets such as China, India and Russia, where customer buying trends are quickly evolving from PC-driven purchases to solution-driven sales. These are typically led by application buying decisions.

IBM is helping Business Partners expand their worldwide presence by providing comprehensive resources to help them sell outside of their domestic markets. This includes funding for demand generation activities -- including worldwide co-marketing campaigns and deeply discounted advertising rates in 130 international publications -- and connection tools and events that match Business Partners with the IBM sales force across geographies and in new industries. Last year, these connection events helped drive nearly 5,000 new customer opportunities for IBM and its Business Partners.

To continue this momentum, IBM today also launched the Business Partner Application Showcase, a new tool that allows customers to locate and select ISVs and their solutions according to industry and geography requirements. Customers can quickly search for and find an application, and through a "Contact Me" button, directly connect with the corresponding Business Partners to speed the sales cycle. The Showcase will be available in nine languages on IBM Web sites around the globe, further extending Business Partner reach into new and emerging markets.

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