IBM To Provide $60 Million To Top Consultant Influencers

Vendor targeting SMB market

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IBM's $11 billion software group is stepping up its assault on the SMB market with a $60 million rebate and development funding commitment to consulting firms.

IBM formally unveiled its Top Contributor Initiative for Influencers this week at the Solution Provider Xchange conference here. Under the program, consultants and e-business integrators targeting the SMB market will be eligible for cash rebates of 4, 8 or 12 percent and 3 percent co-marketing funds for hitting sales quotas.

IBM is also shifting another 1,000 technical and sales personnel into the SMB program to support consultants and resellers.

The program brings IBM's successful Top Contributor Initiative for Resellers to consultants and e-business integrators. The Top Contributor Initiative for Resellers, which was powered by $68 million in rebate and market development funding from IBM last year, has been wildly successful, according to IBM. Top Contributor Initiative for Resellers resulted in sales growth of 60 percent for the 1,200 worldwide participating partners in the past year, the company said.

"The model is working and part of the reason is when you look at the phases of e-business adoption, we have the middleware enablers," said Mark Hanny, vice president of worldwide SMB and partner marketing for the IBM Software Group. "The Top Contributor Initiative for Influencers extends it to consultants and e-business integrators, which is a very different market."

IBM is recruiting consultants and integrators for the program, said Hanny, noting that companies are being nominated by IBM executives in each geography.

While some companies have been hit hard by the recession, IBM's software revenue was up double digits in the most recent quarter, with its Websphere product sales up 50 percent and DB2 database sales up 40 percent, said Hanny.

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