G-Force Propels Comstor to New Heights


G-Force Propels Comstor to New Heights

The new emphasis on value-added services in the distributor ranks has helped propel Comstor, a 10-year-old firm based in Chantilly, Va., to the top ranks of Washington-area distributors.

The company, which has long offered services above and beyond the normal fare, grossed more than $120 million in 1996, but officials project it will earn $220 million in 1997.

This year proved a big year for Comstor, as it was first acquired by GE Capital Corp. and then further hurdled into the limelight when Cisco Systems, San Jose, Calif., tapped it as the exclusive channel supplier of its enterprise networking products to the federal market.

"We think demand for technical support of enterprise networking and heavy security systems is going to increase tremendously in the near future, and we're the only distributor that we know of that's currently specializing in this area," said Paul C. Snyder, Comstor's vice president of government programs.

Moreover, Comstor's G-Force Government Reseller Program of service offerings is quickly becoming an industry model that other distributors are heeding. Besides system configuration and design, sales and post-award support, and same-day shipment, the company program provides training and innovative financial programs.

For example, its EscrowFlex service offers low-cost escrow financing, so the company's smaller integrator partners can effectively service large government contracts. "We make it easier for them because they don't have to worry about payment from the government," explained Snyder. "It then becomes our burden to collect the payment."

Its GSA Agent Program taps certain integrators to sell its products off Comstor's GSA schedule, a service that "allows integrators to do what they're supposed to, which is to find opportunities and sell and market products, without getting caught up in worrying about credit approval and paperwork," Snyder said.

Another effort known as the Value-Added Nationwide Services program is a certification program made up of three components critical to Comstor's current base of customers: training and seminars on the finer points of internetworking; nationwide installation assistance; and the provision of engineers holding top secret security clearances.

In addition, the brand-new Comstor Reseller Internet Services Partner program offers wholesale services such as World Wide Web site hosting, Web server co-location, Web site design and production and high-speed Internet access to resellers who need to provide Internet solutions to their end users.

All of this investment in aiding its partners is paying off for Comstor. Snyder noted that the firm has seen growth rates topping 50 percent for the last couple of years.

"There's just tremendous opportunity out there for distributors right now, but you've got to have services," he explained. "That's the key to success."

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