Symantec, Network Associates Size Up Channel

Both strategies better define the way these vendors divvy up channel sales by customer type. And each company is ramping up additional sales incentives, pre-release product education programs, lead-generation engines and other perks in an effort to better execute their new strategies.

Symantec's plan is to map its partners along the lines of customer market segments, said Allyson Seelinger, the newly appointed vice president of global channel sales and strategy at Symantec, Cupertino, Calif.


Network Associates may go to 100 percent channel sales, says Donna Troy.

Symantec's channel partners will be categorized by the size of the customer they sell to, not the partner's technical ability. For example, three of five new categories,Enterprise Security Partners, Enterprise Administration Partners and Enterprise Solution Partners,will be VARs that essentially cater to large, medium and small companies, respectively.

Large companies are those with 5,000 or more employees, medium firms have 500 or more, and small firms have 50 people or more, said Seelinger. "Another enhancement we have done in the U.S. market is created a midmarket, customer-facing sales team that will align Symantec experts with our partners," Seelinger said. "Their primary focus will be to go on sales calls hand-in-hand with a Symantec partner."

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Network Associates' new plan aims to take the company to 100 percent channel sales if that's where the chips fall, said Donna Troy, executive vice president of worldwide channel sales at Network Associates, Santa Clara, Calif. "At the large customer end, there are only going to be 200 or less accounts,and that number is going to be even less over time,that we will give ourselves the option to take direct. The rest will go 100 percent channel," Troy said.

Compared with Symantec, Network Associates' strategy splits large-, medium- and small-business customer segments along the lines of lower employee head counts,1,000 and up being enterprise, and 100 and up being medium-size businesses.

Michael Carpenter, president of CTSource, a Marblehead, Mass.-based VAR that resells both Symantec and Network Associates products, said he thinks the two firms are "finally getting religion and realizing that we actually do provide a value in the channel."