Tech Data Gets SmartNet


The Clearwater, Fla., distributor put its associates through the same Cisco Systems Attach, Renew, Multiyear (ARM) Service Incentive training curriculum that Cisco VAR partners go through in order to better serve those solution providers looking to increase their attach rates of Cisco's SmartNet services contracts to hardware sales.

Cisco launched the ARM program earlier this year to help resellers educate their sales teams on the benefits of selling, renewing, upgrading and establishing multiyear Cisco service agreements, but there are still many solution providers that have not undertaken the training, said Donna Turgeon, director of network product marketing at Tech Data.

Tech Data's own training serves to help the distributor advocate the program. It will not do the training on behalf of Cisco, she said.

Cisco solution providers that have gone through ARM training have an attach rate of 85 percent and a renewal rate of 80 percent for SmartNet contracts, according to Turgeon. "The average non-participating partner attach rate was 40 percent and the renewal rate was 30 percent. That stood out like a sore thumb to us. Looking at those statistics, we can point you in the right direction with Cisco," she said.

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Tech Data also can help solution providers take advantage of rebates and MDF that may be available through completion of the ARM training, Turgeon said.

Tech Data's actions rightly show solution providers that service contracts should be a no-brainer, said Steven Robb, vice president and general manager at LaSalle Business Solutions, a Rosemont, Ill., solution provider.

"We drive our business first through the solutions of managing contracts and the pull-through is on the hardware refresh as service contracts start to end," he said. "When I see a company like Tech Data putting people through training that we already do, it allows them to be able to communicate with our people."

Meanwhile, Ingram Micro and Westcon Group's Comstor division have conducted their own initiatives for selling SmartNet services through Cisco's New Opportunity Quoting tool, which must be used to create quotes for services, according to executives at both companies.