GFI Tweaks Program To Reflect Its Lineup

Software vendor reaches out to resellers and looks at attract more players into the SMB space

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As VARs seek out new partners and methods to meet the growing demand for increased security in the small-business market, GFI Software has restructured its channel program to attract more resellers.

"The products are designed specifically for the SMB, where some of the traditional enterprise players are having to scale back products [that are designed for the enterprise] to fit with the SMB," said Kurt Shaver, vice president and general manager of operations for the Americas.

GFI, Raleigh, N.C., makes several software packages to provide network and messaging security, including MailEssentials antispam software and MailSecurity antivirus software, also targeted to small-business users.

"We all know that the SMB market is the hot space that everybody wants to be in because the enterprise is saturated and plateaued. You see vendors moving into it, but we've been in it for 14 years. The only thing missing was a higher visibility and awareness of the company—and a channel program," said Jim Semersky, director of channel sales at GFI.

"We're getting requests from about 500 new partners a year to come into the GFI program, and that was before we really had a program. We wanted to accommodate them, even if it's a one-transaction relationship," he said.

The program differentiates between margins for VARs and for direct market reseller partners, and GFI created Gold, Silver and Bronze participation levels for VARs with minimum quarterly revenue requirements of $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000, respectively. Partners at all levels can opt for solution sales techniques training, product certification, free software evaluation, electronic sales material and the company's monthly newsletter. Gold and Silver partners can receive technical certification and qualified leads.

Choice Computing, a VAR also based in Raleigh, has been reselling GFI products for almost 10 years and is a Gold partner under the company's new system.

"Some of our engineers refer to GFI as having 80 percent of the function for 20 percent of the price [of enterprise competitors]," said Pat Judge, president of Choice Computing. "Since we've been working with them for so long, we've had opportunities to do installations on a national basis. It's the primary niche that we're involved in that expands our business on a national basis," Judge said.

"I don't know whether it will represent a significant change for us in our relationship with GFI in that we've been what they're now calling a Gold partner for a long time. We're happy that we're maintaining that stature with them because it's an important part of our business—both product sales and the associated services that we deliver," he said.

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