Cisco System’s five-year effort to engage an SMB channel, has relied almost exclusively on distributors to introduce, recruit and train VARs about the vendor and their SMB value.

It has engaged all of the distributors with programs with programs that familiarize a set of VARs already selling successfully in the space with a technology and solution that in the past the reseller may have consider out of their league, said Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s vice president of U.S. and Canada Channels.

Glacier, an Ingram Micro enablement program to introduce VARs to Cisco technology and get them up to speed on the technology, sales and marketing aspects, added 1,100 new SMB VARs to Cisco’s partner ranks of 30,000. A similar program at D&H Distributing added 1,000 in 2006 with another 1,000 planned for 2007.

“They have all those relationship already,” Robbins told Channel Insider. “I could never go out and meet that many VARs on my own.”

Distributors have found it beneficial because network technology pulls other technologies, solutions and peripherals along, Ingram Micro officials said.