IBM Launches ISV Sales Initiative

The new offering includes an IBM Sales Connections Service through which ISVs working on a qualified sales opportunity can be connected with an IBM sales rep or IBM business partner to help close the deal. The IBM Sales Connections program is accessed via the Web and is manned by IBM business development representatives who will respond to the ISV within 72 hours.

The program also includes access to co-marketing assistance such as pre-negotiated IBM volume rates for marketing and ad campaigns.

The program also opens the door for thousands of additional VARs to qualify for IBM's Advanced PartnerWorld ISV Level, giving them access to IBM Sales Connections and the co-marketing assistance, said Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy for ISV and developer relations for IBM.

"One of the things ISVs have been asking us for is when they have opportunities they would like to get access to the IBM sales team or an IBM business partner," he said. "If we can jointly qualify that opportunity we will help point them to the appropriate sales resource to close the opportunity."

Sponsored post

The program should provide more engagements between ISVs and IBM business partners, Hebner said.

Bill Whalen, a sales and marketing executive for RJS Software Systems, a document imaging management software company based in Minneapolis, said he recently used the IBM Sales Connections program to hook up with an IBM reseller on a deal. "It's a lot easier to get connected [with the new ISV programs]," Whalen said. "Before IBM simplified the PartnerWorld program, it was very hard to find anything."

Whalen predicted that the PartnerWorld changes and the ISV initiative are going to have a dramatic impact on the computer giant's market share in the SMB market.

"Before IBM changed the PartnerWorld program, it was more of an enterprise-level program," he said. "Now they are catering more to small and medium business ISVs and VARs. That is really where they are going to make their money in the future. They have already tapped the enterprise market."

Whalen said RJS is both an IBM and Microsoft ISV. Ultimately, he said, RJS is integrating its solution so it can tie into heterogenous platforms and applications. "IBM and Microsoft are going to have to start working together," he said.

Hebner said what he called IBM's unparalleled vertical expertise offers ISVs much more opportunity. "Microsoft doesn't have this kind of capability," Hebner said. "What we have is fundamentally different than Microsoft."