Sophos Anti-Virus signs new sales harem

Corporate software vendor looks to expand global partner program with new reseller sales modelSophos Anti-Virus is turning to the channel to increase sales, with plans to take on 25 value added resellers (VARs) and system integrators in Australia.

Part of a global partner program, the move is a variation on the corporate software vendor's direct sales model and will see its resellers split into two groups - certified and lower level partners.

"We want to give our partners the opportunity to partake in our high level of training and go to customers as experts in the Sophos product," says Nimmity Zappert, Sophos Australia's channel sales manager.

"We are looking for people who are seriously interested in working closely with us as a partner to provide a quality antivirus service to corporate and business, government and educational customers in networked environments."

The relationship between the vendor and certified resellers will be close. Retailers involved will be required to nominate a dedicated Sophos engineer within their business unit as well as a dedicated product champion. They must also have an established Web presence that will include content on the Sophos Anti-Virus range.

In return, Sophos will provide resellers with increased levels of technical training and joint marketing initiatives. "The first thing we do with certified partners is sit down with them and put together a sales and training forecast," says Zappert.

While lower-level partners are looking at a 20 per cent margin on selling the antivirus product, Zappert believes certified resellers could enjoy up to 30 per cent mark-up with the added bonus of marketing dollars based on weighted sales.

Sophos plans to sign 25 partners in the initial stages, however Zappert says there are plans for significantly higher numbers in the future. "We have a base of 75 channel partners Australiawide and we are seeking another 70 system integrators and VARs for the program," she says.

With a current licence renewal rate of 85 per cent, Sophos wants to push the bulk of its sales through the channel within the next 12 months. To facilitate this move, the company has grown its worldwide channel sales by 185 per cent in the last year.

"We have a growing commitment to our partners with channel sales now making up 50 per cent of the company's worldwide turnover," says Richard Baldry, Sophos Australia's managing director. "This initiative underlines our enthusiasm to work with our partners and provides a solid platform to support their success."