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Distributor Ingram Micro on March 15 announced new business building tools for its Glacier program to prod more Cisco Systems sales out of small and midsize business VARs.

The new tool set—business development consulting, technical training and certification assistance and Cisco services practice help through Ingram’s Reseller Services Portal—is designed to educate VARs that are already selling successfully to SMBs, introduce them to Cisco and accelerate their ability to sell it in the space, said Ken Bast, Ingram’s vice president of vendor management.

The two-year-old Glacier program has recruited 1,100 new SMB partners to the Cisco channel and saw business grow 20 percent year-over-year.

“To be successful in the SMB market, IT manufacturers need channel partners who are prepared and motivated to recommend and sell their products,” Bast said. And for Ingram’s part, the distributor finds Cisco is pulling technology with it.

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One partner, Computopia, of Warwick, R.I., was first introduced to Cisco through Glacier but now leads engagements with Cisco solutions, said Sojin Lim, Computopia’s owner and executive vice president.

A similar program with D&H, of Harrisburg, Pa., a distributor focusing on SMBs, recruited 1,000 VARs in 2006 (another 1,000 planned for 2007) to do the same, and its SMB VARs, once introduced to the vendor, make the solutions a “keystone” of their offering, said Dan Schwab, D&H’s vice president of marketing.

The announced tools:

  • Business Development Consulting—A dedicated team of Ingram Marketing Development Managers and Account Executives who work with VARs on demand generation strategy and a written plan to increase sales and enhance profitability.
  • Specialized Cisco Training—Solution providers can enhance their expertise and earn certifications through Ingram select Cisco products and solutions targeted at the SMB market.
  • Cisco Services Program—Solution providers can leverage Ingram to navigate Cisco’s Service Contract Center through its Reseller Services Portal and other Cisco Services offerings that will help partners develop a services practice and establish a recurring revenue stream.