Indirect sales comeback

The swing among vendors back to the channel — after experiments with direct and Internet sales — is continuing...

The swing among vendors back to the channel — after experiments with direct and Internet sales — is continuing apace after Compaq announced plans to recruit 25 per cent more resellers this year.

Compaq’s plan comes alongside recent announcements from Hewlett-Packard and IBM which indicated a shift away from the channel over the past 12 months had been a mistake.

IBM CEO Lou Gerstner underlined his company’s shift to channel sales for its server and applications business at PartnerWorld last month.

Compaq UK’s director of channel sales, Mike Morgan, refused to break down the company’s current sales split, insisting the market had moved on from the direct/indirect issue. He stressed Compaq was operating a “majority” indirect strategy.

Just 18 months ago, Compaq was aiming to attain between 30 and 40 per cent of its sales direct (see MicroScope, 27 July 1999).

“Our biggest opportunity for growing market share in the UK is to increase our partner numbers. We’re looking to increase our partner base this year by 25 per cent. I want to recruit IBM, HP and Fujitsu Siemens resellers,” said Morgan.

His claims were backed up by distributors and resellers, which said they had seen an increase in Compaq business.

Mark Walker, enterprise solutions director at Ideal Hardware, said: “There is a big push to woo back those who may have defected to other vendors.”

Eric Roth, market intelligence manager at ICL Multivendor Computing, claimed: “We’ve seen an increase in Compaq sales and that reflects our greater confidence.”

But others in the channel questioned how Compaq would achieve its ambition. Ray Quatromini, managing director of Fortuna Power Systems, said: “It’s all very well saying Compaq is going to get all these resellers, but with its margins at the moment, where is it going to get them from?”

Morgan interview, page 6

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