Metrologie is close to signing a pan-European distribution contract with Bull, as the French hardware vendor launched 15 servers to be sold exclusively through resellers.
The decision to sell Estrella only through third parties is an attempt to generate one-third of European revenues indirectly by 1998.
Armand Malka, vice president for open enterprise systems, said Bull is talking to Metrologie about a pan-European distribution contract. 'We recognise that the way we have managed our indirect channel in Europe has been one of our weaknesses. Our offerings to the indirect channel were not adequate.
'We want our direct salesforce to focus on the top accounts and major accounts in strategic vertical markets, such as telcos and financial services.
But we will not cut back on our own support services offerings if that is the price of generating more indirect sales.'
Didier Breton, vice president for open systems, said Bull is to give distributors five per cent to seven per cent more gross margin on the Estrella machines than Compaq gives for similar systems, with margins ranging from 32 per cent to 41 per cent.
Bull plans joint marketing efforts with Oracle, Microsoft and Informix to support the range.
Breton said: 'Our strategy is to focus on the workgroup market rather than go for the multipurpose market that Intel-based vendors are targeting.
We are not trying to sell these to everyone. We are adopting a focused approach.'
The Estrella range will be sold solely through the indirect channel, he said.
Bull began building a two-tier distribution channel across Europe last quarter when it appointed pan-European distributors, starting with Allium and ECS. Breton said that bonuses for sales staff across Europe have changed, so that indirect sales attract bonuses at least 30 per cent higher than those from direct channel sales.
In the UK, where the indirect strategy is relatively advanced, bonuses for indirect sales are double those for direct sales.
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