IBM Provides On-Site Customer Sales Support to Mid-Sized Business Partners

IBM Sales Resources Help Business Partners Boost Revenue and Slash Sales Cycle Time in Half

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ARMONK, NY - 01 Nov 2005: IBM today announced this it is delivering the industry's most comprehensive sales support model to its small and medium-sized business partners that will allow them to tap into the resources of the world's largest sales organization.
IBM is equipping application software providers and regional system integrators with on-site support from its hardware, software and services sales experts to help them sell more effectively into vertical industries and geographies. The increased sales support is designed to help shorten the sales cycle, in some instances, from nine months to ninety days.

IBM launched its "IBM Sales Connections" initiative less than 10 months ago in the United States as a pilot program to help partners boost profitability with on-site customer sales support, marketing and technical assistance. Since that time, IBM has received an overwhelming response from its business partners and is currently participating in nearly 700 active joint customer engagements.

As a result of the successful pilot, IBM is expanding its Sales Connections initiative to its worldwide business partner network in Europe, Asia Pacific and emerging markets including, Brazil, Russia, China and India.

The move is another major step by IBM to help capture more share in the SMB marketplace, which IDC estimates will exceed $140 billion in 2005 alone. IBM's growth in the SMB marketplace grew 10 percent in the third-quarter of 2005.

In just a few easy steps, partners can submit an online request form that includes information on the sales opportunity, prospective customer and the benefits of the joint solution. Within three days, IBM will engage a regional territory sales manager to help close the deal. Together, they host a live customer meeting to present the benefits of the joint solution with the partner.

For example, San Francisco-based Actuate Corporation, a provider of enterprise reporting applications, leveraged IBM sales experts to help close a software and services deal with a leading national mail order prescription company. After requesting sales assistance from IBM, they were quickly contacted by an IBM sales representative and together closed the sale within 30 days.

As a result of working with IBM, Actuate was able to slash the sales cycle to deliver a customized solution for claims reporting. Since submitting its first Sales Connections lead, Actuate has engaged with IBM to target an additional 30 more customer opportunities.

"We never dreamed that it would be this easy, or this fast, to turn sales prospects into real revenue," said Bill Bush, Global Alliance Executive, Actuate Corporation. "Within 72 hours of submitting our lead, we were aligned with the appropriate IBM sales professionals to put our best foot forward with the customer. We had so much success with IBM that we are aggressively using it to follow up on additional customer leads and look forward to closing more business with IBM soon."

"IBM is dedicated to the success of its business partners and will stay true to our commitment to partner with them. IBM Sales Connections is a unique resource that enables small and medium-sized firms to sell more," said Buell Duncan, general manager, ISV & Developer Relations, IBM. "No other vendor provides this level of support to ensure partner profitability."

The news is another major step in IBM's commitment to the success of its business partners. As part of its $1 billion investment on joint sales and marketing activities through IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks program, IBM has unveiled an array of resources to increase business partner visibility in the marketplace including a discounted advertising program, lead generation tools and direct mail campaign support.

To date, more than 5,000 partners have joined PartnerWorld Industry Networks and have successfully marketed and sold their solutions with IBM. By leveraging IBM's direct mail, telemarketing and advertising resources, business partners have reported lead generation rates of up to four times the industry average.

Sales Connections is a program that is available to ISVs in IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks. More information can be found at

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