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Fore sets sail for channel-centric era

Fore sets sail for channel-centric era

Fore Systems has caught the winds of change, promising to leave its old direct sales philosophy behind and create a new channel-centric era.

Alex Turkington, Fore's South Asia regional director, said local market growth will occur by offering resellers better support and creating a channel-based sales structure.

As a result, the company's new Sydney-based HQ and Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) will be fully operational by mid June, providing resellers with technical and sales resources not previously available, Turkington said.

The company's about-face coincides with the search for a new salesperson to replace former Australian MD Grant Morrison.

"We need a solid base of people to get down into the channel," he said.

Turkington said Fore is looking for a sales person to drive sales from "behind the channel", rather than appoint a new MD.

He indicated the company will no longer maintain a big focus on direct customer contact and direct sales fed back through the channel.

This practice was "a worry" for some resellers, he said.

Fore will initially maintain a narrow channel focus, concentrating its energies around four main players: the newly-formed FTA, NetStar, Compaq's NETSIS group and Sunrise.

However, John Penn, marketing manager at Fore's exclusive distributor LAN Systems, disagrees, claiming a broader channel focus will increase sales opportunities.

"I want to take it much wider in the market. We want to bring other resellers up to speed on those technologies," he said, referring to Fore product lines such as its low-end switches and network interface cards. Penn added that the new TAC will be "very beneficial" for resellers.

Telco goals

One of Fore's key goals is to increase sales in the lucrative telecommunications business. Turkington said the company has increased its share of the telco market from 1 to 7 per cent over the last two years.

Meanwhile, Turkington said Australia's two-tier channel model does not work anywhere else in the world.

"There are things you can do in Australia you can't do anywhere else," he said.

"Customers here are more comfortable dealing with resellers than other countries, particularly in Asia.

"There's plenty of middlemen in Asia, they're just more discreet," he quipped.


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