Antivirus software vendor Sophos has started a formal partner certification scheme, although it will retain its traditional direct sales team to target large corporate accounts.
David Stanley, UK sales manager at the company, said that 18 months ago Sophos may have bid against its resellers, but that its culture had now changed.
"Our organisation is now focused on the expansion of our channel. We will send in our sales teams to help our resellers rather than compete with them," he said.
Simon Deam, purchasing manager at Systems Software, said there used to be a conflict with Sophos, but if resellers now register their interest in an account, the vendor will not approach it directly.
Mark Forrest, sales director at Sophos, said the partner programme is aimed at improving sales to SMEs. He said that larger competitors, such as Network Associates and Symantec, offer such poor margins to low-volume resellers that there is no incentive to develop the business.
"Our discounts make it commercially viable for smaller resellers to invest in selling antivirus software," he said. However, he added that discounts are linked to sales volumes.
Forrest said that Sophos' software is not shrink-wrapped but comes in the form of a monthly subscription. He claimed resellers will benefit from higher levels of service with Sophos than its larger US rivals.
Gordon Taylor, sales director at Telamon Systems, said service from Sophos does stand out from the big antivirus vendors. "Sophos sent one of its senior technicians to one of my customers to solve a problem, which was very impressive," he said.
First published in Computer Reseller News
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