3Com goes into attack mode

Chucking the nice guy image, 3Com Canada is going after its competitors full swing, says Canadian head honcho Nick Tidd in a one-on-one interview with CDN.

“For so very long we’ve been the nice kids in the sandbox; we’ve shared our pales and we’ve played nice, but now it’s

time to kick the sand up and pick a fight.”

As part of the “attack mode,” Tidd says the company has rolled out an “aggressive” reseller program, dubbed “Margin to Win,” which targets resellers and end users in the LAN switching and networked telephony solutions marketplace.

Under the plan, effective until November 30, 2002, 3Com is enticing U.S. and Canadian Focus channel partners to have end user customers consider and purchase 3Com LAN switching gear. If successful in swaying customers, resellers will receive a 10 per cent discount on the product through distribution. As well, for end user customers that choose the 3Com gear will also get a 10 per cent rebate through the reseller.

“If a reseller is asked to provide a quotation to a customer using a competitor’s products (and they are able to convince the customer to go with 3Com), 3Com is willing to incent them with margin. On the same token, the end user will submit their invoice and 3Com will rebate them back 10 per cent of the purchase price.”

Tidd says the program comes after two years of intensive housecleaning, rejigging and reenergizing operations. “We at 3Com believe we are at a point in our evolution that we have worked very diligently over the course of the last two fiscal years to improve the efficiencies in our organization, to focus the organization and to lead with our core competencies, which in this area, one of them, is switching.” Other key focus areas include wireless and connectivity.

Indeed, the latest program sends a message to resellers and end users that the indirect mode of selling is here to stay, says Tidd. “This campaign is our ongoing commitment to the channel. One hundred per cent of our business in Canada flows through the channel and we have no mechanism, no desire or no plans to change that strategy; and as such we believe our responsibility in the marketplace is tow-fold: one is demand generation; and second is to build innovative and practical products. And while those bode well for partners, their success at the end of the day is based on their business acumen.”

Also part of the program is the Nortel attack plan, Tidd adds, which targets Nortel’s existing base of PBX customers by offering Nortel Norstar end user customers a migration path to voice over IP (VoIP). As part of the plan, Nortel customers will receive from 3Com NBX voice authorized partners a free CITELlink IP Handset Gateway card when they buy a NBX 100 Communications system, as well as up to three free CITELlink cards when they buy a SuperStack 3 NBX chassis from 3Com.

“We wanted to demonstrate both to the channel and our end user customers the high value proposition of our product. And so this really, building on that theme, is putting margin back in the hands of the resellers. And the second component of it is putting rebate dollars back into the hands of end users, specifically targeting HP, Enterasys, Cisco and Nortel.”

For more details, see story in the October 4th issue of Computer Dealer News.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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