SurfControl's New Pledge: No Conflict Or We Pay 105 Percent

SurfControl Vice President of Worldwide Channels David Harris said the company has decided to pay 105 percent of the margin a partner would have recieved on any deal lost to a SurfControl direct sales rep. Up until now, SurfControl has paid 100 percent of the margin that solution provider would have received on any deal.

Harris does not expect to have to pay out under the new terms because of The Web filtering and security vendor's long-standing pro-channel sales culture. In fact, he said, this year SurfControl has not had a single incident under which it was forced to pay out margin to a partner that encountered direct sales conflict.

Harris said the 105 percent pledge is simply an "insurance policy" for partners. SurfControl, he said, has made the no-channel-conflict mantra a "condition of employment" for direct sales reps, said Harris.

"We are not only 100 percent committed to the channel," asserted Harris. "We are 105 percent committed to channel. If we ever compete with a channel partner number we will not only give them full margin and an apology, but five percent more. Obviously it sends a message to our channel we are deadly serious."

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As for rival Websense, Harris said new WebSense CEO Gene "Hodges and his guys are going to have to correct a lot of [anti-channel] behavior internally."

Hodges recently hired McAfee channel chief David Roberts as vice president of sales and pledged to move the company to a 100 percent channel model.

SurfControl, meanwhile, continues to drive improvements in a channel program that has resulted in 88 percent of all new sales going through partners, said Harris.

SurfControl is in the process of rolling out a Global Rewards Program for its partners and making further changes to improve its deal registration program. In addition, the software maker recently extended its high-level technical support hotline for resellers to seven days a week, 24 hours a day, up from 12 hours a day Monday through Friday, said Harris.

Jonathan Dambrot, managing director of Prevalent Networks, a Bridgewater, N.J., SurfControl Platinum partner and a member of the vendor's partner advisory council, said the new 105 percent pledge is just another sign of SurfControl's channel commitment.

Prevalent has not had channel conflict issues with SurfControl, he said. "They've helped us build our business and their new programs are just continuing that tradition," he said. "We feel it's a true partnership."

Sometime ago, Prevalent was approached by Websense but declined to pursue a partnership because of the strong SurfControl relationship, said Dambrot.

"They are a good company to work with," he said, noting he is anticipating a 20 percent incrase in his SurfControl sales this year. "They are quick to fix problems and they are good to their partners."