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Bigfoot Networks Revamps Channel Strategy

The makers of the Killer network interface card expand their retail sales presence and up their channel partner efforts as well.

Network-interface card maker Bigfoot Networks has altered its go-to-market approach with a new plan to increase its retail coverage, direct sales and partner engagements -- all in a single stroke.

The Austin, Texas-based company announced Thursday that it had formed new retail partnerships with two ’computer superstores’ in Fry’s Electronics and Micro Center. Both retailers will be selling Bigfoot’s newest product, the Killer 2100 NIC, which is designed to improve network performance and reduce Internet lag for online PC gamers. Along with the new retail partnerships, Bigfoot lowered the price of the Killer 2100 card from approximately $129 to as low as $89.

Meanwhile, Bigfoot says it also plans to increase its direct sales effort. While neither approach seems like a positive move for channel sales, Harry Dickinson, vice president of worldwide sales at Bigfoot, says the move allows the company to focus more on its partners.

’We’ve spent the last 60 days or so changing out sales strategy to work better with the channel,’ Dickinson said. ’We felt that our current approach didn’t get us as close to our partners and customers as well wanted. So we decided to expand our retail presence beyond e-tailers like NewEgg.com, which gets our product to market quicker and easier. That allows us to put more effort and resources into selling through our OEM and system builder partners.’

Dickinson says the company needed to spend more time with OEM and system builder partners to educate them on the value of the Killer technology and help them develop effective sales approaches. ’We were finding a lot of the folks in the channel didn’t exactly understand what the Killer NIC and what we as a company were doing,’ Dickinson said. ’This approach gives us leverage and gets us more coverage with partners.’

Bigfoot took a careful approach in revamping its sales strategy and made sure its pricing models are fair and predictable for all routes. ’As long as you keep your pricing consistent and don’t give one side a clear, distinct advantage,’ he said, ’then blending direct and indirect sales works.’

The network card maker made some big channel moves last year when it teamed up with both VisionTek and EVGA. The two manufacturers licensed and distributed Bigfoot’s Killer Xeno Pro. Thus, Bigfoot employed a strategy similar to graphics cards makers Nvidia and AMD, which produce the GPU (graphics processor unit) technology but uses third party partners like Asus, EVGA, Sapphire and others to manufacture and distribute the actual hardware.

Bigfoot also has distribution partnerships with Ingram Micro and D&H Distributing for North America. And while the company has strong alliances with Dell and its subsidiary Alienware, as well as popular boutique computer makers like Falcon Northwest, CyberPower and Digital Storm, Dickinson says Bigfoot is determined to add more channel partners. We want more coverage in the channel,’ he says. ’We have about 30 strong PC partners right now but we want a lot more, whether its larger companies like Acer or small system builders.’

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