Tech Data hops on green bandwagon

There’s a lot of talk about green IT, but how exactly do you sell it? Many companies are penny-pinching these days, so this could be an ideal time for the channel to talk about reducing carbon footprints in terms of cost savings, such as reducing power consumption.

Many resellers have been waiting for vendors or distributors to provide more direction on selling green IT. Ingram has done a good job of this so far, by partnering with EPEAT (the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool managed by the Green Electronics Council) to define green PCs, notebooks and monitors. Now Tech Data has hopped on the green bandwagon with its ECO-Technology program.

While this program is mainly targeted at vendors, allowing them to peddle their environmentally friendly wares, it will ultimately benefit the channel. The program will include a virtual tradeshow, featuring eco-friendly products and programs on the ECO-Technology Web site (with a link from Tech Data’s home page), which is expected to be up and running in January. And resellers will be able to do their research in a virtual tradeshow library, which will provide case studies, URLs and green calculators.

Perhaps most significantly, Tech Data is going to train up its sales reps via a green toolkit, which will provide links to green materials and promotional information from vendors. Tech Data was smart to include this, since resellers may want to talk to their reps about selling green, aside from doing their own research. And to sweeten the pot, Tech Data will reward resellers in a three-month green product promotion with an eco-adventure trip and other environmentally friendly prizes.

This is definitely a good start, though it will only highlight solutions from vendors that choose to participate in this marketing campaign, so resellers should be aware the ECO-Technology site will not be the definitive guide for All Things Green – but rather an assortment of vendors that are willing to pay to advertise on the ECO-Technology site.

It’s not quite the same as linking to an independent third party, but for resellers it’s still a resource to help make decisions about green technology.

Tech Data is also rolling out a System Builder program, designed to “brand” vendors to the system builder channel through sales and reseller engagements and product brand awareness. While for the most part this will affect system builders, some activities will also reach VARs that purchase components to integrate into larger solutions.

While the program provides a number of advertising perks to vendors, it will also include a monthly e-mail message to system builders highlighting excess inventory, as well as channel promotions, such as winning a “Casino Royale” night.

These programs may, on one level, be about advertising, but they will also provide education and links between vendors and resellers – key in helping the channel reach new markets.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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