Rumours that Compaq is to set up a direct sales division have been fuelled by news of how the vendor will run its next special price advertising campaign.
Last autumn, Compaq ran an ad campaign in tandem with a number of its resellers. Although the ads were Compaq branded, the contact numbers shown were those of the resellers. This spring, the calls will not go through to Compaq dealers, instead a telesales firm will handle incoming sales queries on Compaq?s behalf.
The scheme echoes Compaq?s Australian venture, Channel 2000, which will see the vendor taking responsibility for fulfilment of dealers? orders. Compaq has denied that this scheme will be introduced elsewhere, despite senior channel sources claiming it will hit the UK in the first half of this year.
Peter Blampied, Compaq commercial marketing manager, denied the firm will start to sell direct. ?We?re not planning to do this in the UK. Compaq is an indirect company ? it sells indirectly,? he said.
Blampied said the setting up of its own telesales arm, albeit in conjunction with a third party, is part of Compaq?s increasing efforts to crack the SME market. This is an area where Dell has scored recent successes and where Compaq?s corporate resellers have failed to make in-roads.
Steve Jackson, Compaq head of desktop products, said: ?Small businesses have always been price sensitive. Dell has always sold on price, we should now be able to do some damage to Dell.?
Mark McCarthy, Dell channel marketing manager, was unimpressed. ?It has been obvious for a while that Compaq would have to become more directly involved in its sales. But to hit the sort of growth targets that we enjoy they?ll have to implement some radical changes to their channel.?
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