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NAI smooths ruffled channel feathers

NAI smooths ruffled channel feathers

Two months into the launch of a new reseller program, Network Associates International' managing director, Paul Muller, has responded to reseller concerns over direct business with the promise of fat margins and a "fair" approach to the channel.

Resellers in contact with ARN (February 9, print edition) highlighted worries over NAI's penchant for contacting customers direct for antivirus software licensing and taking large deals direct to the customer.

The bottom line, Muller told ARN, is that users get the opportunity to choose to deal with an NAI partner or the vendor itself. "I want to make the program fair," he said. "The only time I will take business direct is if it's at a user's request."

However, Muller explained under the company's new channel model, the majority of business is pushed through the channel.

In fact, he said around 80 per cent of revenues come from the company's VIP program, where NAI's 17 sales representatives upgrade or find new business and direct the sales through either Gold or Silver partners. In this case, he explained resellers are handed "bluebird" deals. Margins may only sit at around 2 per cent, but the only work involved is processing an invoice, Muller argued.

This side of the business became more organised since February 1999 when NAI started tracking details of every sale, taking centralised control over licensing renewals from distributors, which were previously doing a bad job at keeping detailed sales records, he said.


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