New 3Com Plan: Reward Partners For Value, Boost Its Security Presence

At the event--its first partner confab in more than two years--3Com executives outlined the company's plans to reward partners for value, beef up its marketing strategy, bring security products from recently acquired TippingPoint to the channel and target SMB and large enterprise customers with a full portfolio of secure convergence products.

"Every customer, reseller--everyone has to get the clear sense that [3Com is] serious about the path they are on," said John Lowery, CEO of Intelesys, Madison Heights, Mich. "The proof is in the pudding."

3Com President and CEO Bruce Claflin pledged to walk arm-in-arm with partners to challenge market-leading Cisco Systems and build the company's market share. "[We'll] do whatever it takes to build our brand, our profile in the market, to bring you qualified leads and reduce the barrier to selling 3Com, to do whatever it takes to build your capabilities so you can go to the market with us together," he said.

For example, the company is preparing to launch later this year a new marketing campaign aimed at raising brand awareness and generating new leads for 3Com partners, said James Freeze, vice president of global marketing at 3Com, Marlborough, Mass.

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"The goal is that when a CIO of a major corporation or the IT manager of a smaller organization looks at ... the potential vendors they want to deal with, 3Com is always on that list, and today we're not," Freeze said.

The company also is launching a new partner portal to give partners much-needed visibility into their standing within 3Com's various MDF and rebate programs.

Lowery and other partners attending the event said they expect to do more 3Com business as a result of those steps, which are addressing many of their concerns and boosting partner morale--a contrast from last fall when the company angered some partners by increasing sales volume requirements for its top two partner levels.