Networking giant Cisco is gunning for more SME market share by enticing resellers with extra rebates under a new VAR incentive programme launched today.
Under the Opportunity Incentive Programme (OIP) qualified Cisco resellers will be offered a discount of between three and eight per cent, or the equivalent rebate, on an entire deal, providing the new business and customer details are registered with and verified by Cisco.
Also, resellers must sell $5,000 worth of kit and close the deal in 90 days.
Cisco is targeting customers in what it calls the 'commercial' sector, comprising companies of between 20 and 1,500 employees.
"We have less market share in the medium and SME space," said Edzard Overbeek, Cisco's vice-president of commercial, channels and distribution for EMEA. "We want resellers to hunt for new business in these markets."
Another reason for signing up, Overbeek claimed, is that registering a deal will help prevent it being poached by another VAR. "We want resellers that truly add the value to win," he said.
Although many resellers are hesitant to give vendors end-user information for fear they may take deals direct, analysts have said most VARs trust Cisco.
Steve Brazier, chief executive of Canalys, said: "Cisco is offering an attractive amount of money, and most VARs will put Cisco into the trusted camp. It's a two-way thing; Cisco also has to trust that the details of the deal coming from the VAR are genuine."
Simon Hill, director of the UK product division at Cisco distributor Azlan, said VARs will always be suspicious about divulging end-user information.
But he added: "If the offering is strong enough - and in this case I think it is - then VARs will modify their views. There's never been any question about Cisco's commitment to its channel."
Hill added that Cisco now has to deliver on its promised raft of SME products announced earlier this year.
Darren Boyce, managing director of Applinet, which resells rival vendor Nortel's networking products, said: "Cisco is dominant in the large market, but the SME market is more cost conscious. Cisco can sell to this market; it is a very good marketing engine.
"But incentive schemes are typically for resellers that already have a market. That said, we come up against Cisco at all levels, and it is already hitting this market."
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