IBM is looking to steal a march on its rivals by offering SMEs 'buy now pay later' financing packages that promise reduced repayment rate options.
Big Blue's Global Financing package is aimed at grabbing next year's IT budgets ahead of schedule, with VARs encouraged to get involved as early as possible.
The pre-budget 'Why Wait' promotion allows businesses to buy IT kit now and defer payment until 2005 and benefit from low-rate financing after that. Customers that spend more than £50,000 will pay an extra four per cent over 36 months, rather than the usual eight per cent.
IBM claimed the move will benefit its Business Partners across EMEA. They can initiate sales by promoting the incentive to customers. It includes PCs and servers and is focused on the SME sector, where the channel is IBM's favoured route to market.
Richard Bingham, EMEA business partner financing sales manager at IBM, said the move is a direct-touch initiative, aimed at cash-strapped customers.
"Business Partners will benefit by making sales early, when customers are yet to receive budget approval," he said. "At this time of year businesses are often short of cash."
Bingham added that the earlier partners take up this offer the more benefits they will get. "We are encouraging our VARs to promote this package now," he said.
Probal Sil, business development director at IBM Business Partner Elyzium, which is focused on software but bundles hardware, said the initiative sounds good in theory.
"At this time of the year many businesses are putting forward budgets for 2005," he said. "It gives them the opportunity to get the products now if they know what they want.
"This will be a really good selling point for us and we will look into it."
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