CipherTrust Ditches Direct Sales

The transformation, which began last week, was expected to be complete by the middle of 2005.

Steve Raber, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based firm, said the move to embrace the channel completely was prompted by recent successes that increased indirect sales revenue by more than 50 percent. CipherTrust also recently added solution providers such as Akibia, Westborough, MA; Konsultek, Elgin, Ill.; and Software Medium, Dallas.

"The channel works well for us because we work well for the channel," he said. "Once these guys make the relationship investment with us, they can count on coming back to us and doing more."

CipherTrust launched the CipherTrust Partner Connection program in July 2004. Today, the program includes roughly 300 solution providers in the U.S., and comprises about 75 percent of the company's overall sales, company executives said.

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Raber said that CipherTrust would work to convert most of the vendor's direct sales accounts over to solution providers in the first quarter of 2005. Details of this plan were sketchy, but Raber indicated that the company would most likely be soliciting new solution providers to join the program.

Ralph Pisani, vice president of channel and business development, said that solution providers at the company's partner conference in Atlanta on Nov. 3-4 responded positively to the news.

Richard Basich, regional vice president at NBG, a subsidiary of Forsythe in Atlanta, was one such partner. Basich said that any time a vendor opts to eliminate conflict with its channel is good news for solution partners.

"There's conflict any time a company sells direct and indirect, but a commitment to go with [resellers] 100 percent is a pretty bold statement that conflict won't be tolerated," he said. "There always will be competition from other channel partners, but we're confident in our overall relationship with them that we don't think it will impact us too much."