Tech Data Revs Up Government VARs

TechEDG is based on Tech Data's TechSelect organization, which now has more than 300 members, said Barb Miller, director of technical and government services at Tech Data, Clearwater, Fla. "This is a specific community of government vendors and resellers that, hopefully, will interact and share best practices with each other," Miller said.

Breakout sessions such as "The ABCs of MAS," or multiple award schedules, and presentations by more than 40 vendors led to informative discussions on how to win government contracts, attendees said.

"The best thing [Tech Data has] done is picked the right vendors that know how to operate in the government space," said Jeff Smith, vice president of sales at GovConnection, a Rockville, Md., subsidiary of PC Connection. For example, vendor Avocent, Huntsville, Ala., showed attendees how its switching and networking products can help solve specific business problems, he said.

"[Avocent] explained how to bring network security and multilevel access to secure and unsecure networks [for] the Department of Defense," he said. "Now I can go back to my team and say, 'Here's three specific problems Avocent is solving in the market. Let's get a discussion going with our customers now.' "

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Vendors also detailed their government discount and rebate programs.

"A lot of [attendees] didn't know that we offer an additional 5 percent discount for government and education opportunities," said Bill Fiscus, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic sales manager at Proxim, Sunnyvale, Calif. "We're all trying to capitalize on vertical markets and can use everything we can get."