IBM is extending its two-year-old Know Your IBM channel incentive programme from covering printers, personal computers and global finance to include servers (pSeries, iSeries) and storage products.
The incentive applies to IBM's contracted partners. They include distributors Tech Pacific, Ingram Micro, IT Wholesale, Synnex and Avnet, plus thousands of resellers.
Big Blue also hopes to gain even more resellers, claiming its existing programme is increasing its number of channel partners by 25% a year.
Know Your IBM is a free points-based incentive program that rewards staff of IBM's distributors and resellers for learning more about the IBM products and services they sell.
Distributor Tech Pacific employs 500 staff, 130 of whom sell IBM. Tech Pacific expects the move will help its resellers sell a wider range of IBM products, not just desktops, but also servers and storage.
Its IBM relationship manager, Jenny Southon, described Know Your IBM as "a mindshare."
"It's an excellent tool for us to get across these products in one go," she says. "The (online) modules are very relevant, to the point and not very long [less than 30 minutes]. It shows IBM's committment in educating and training the channel. It's hard to get training for people (in the channel).
"It will give more of a coverage for resellers. It will encourage them to go across brand. They can bring in pSeries and storage and sell more IBM rather and single silos (just PCs)."
Southon has looked after IBM at Tech Pacific for two years and said initially Big Blue did not have a strong channel presence. But as the channel became more familiar with IBM products, this had helped Tech Pacific's IBM sales increase annually by 20%.
IBM Australia claims annual revenues of $3.3 billion.
It said that 600 partners originally joined Know Your IBM in 2002. This number had since grown by about 60% a year.
Marketing manager for IBM's global business partners division, Michelle Zamora, says Know Your IBM helped its partners go to market quicker and sell more IBM products.
"A partner that only sold PCs can look to sell servers, storage and SMB offerings," she says. "Partners focused in SMBs need to provide offerings across a brand and the program enables them to do that."
Zamora saidthat resellers taking the online modules gain points which could be used for redeeming household goods from a catalogue.
IBM took its 60 best achievers to a business partner club event.
The Know your IBM incentive won the Australian Marketing Institute Awards for relationship marketing for NSW in 2003.