Microworld makes beeline for channel

Nazir Kazi, head of international sales for MEA and Asia Pacific at Microworld, insists if the company can get in front of prospective channel partners then its eScan security line will do the talking.

Tags: Bulwark TechnologiesCRYPTOCard IncorporationCyberoamMicroWorld TechnologiesSymantec CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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Microworld makes beeline for channel
By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 10, 2010

CME: What sort of channel partners are you targeting in the Middle East?

NK: There are three tiers of resellers in the market today. Tier-one consists of resellers targeting the big corporates, enterprise and government customers. Tier-two consists of resellers targeting the SMB market, and tier-three resellers are pretty small resellers that don’t necessarily have good technical support people available internally - they work with customers which are very low-end. We are identifying and closely working with tier-two and tier-three resellers.

CME: How are you engaging with those resellers?

NK: The basic intention is to have a direct approach towards SMB and corporate customers, convince them of the product, and then route the business to the channel partners and resellers. That will give them more confidence in the product. The margins are good for them and that will make them more proactive when selling the product.

CME: What about from a distribution standpoint? Do you have disties here?

NK: Yes, we have Bulwark Technologies as a distributor. It also distributes Cyberoam and CryptoCard products. Apart from that we are trying to identify other distribution companies here in the Middle East which can give us more penetration and introduce us to the right IT resellers. We basically want somebody to put opportunities for us on the table and then we can take responsibility for convincing customers about eScan products.

CME: How many partners sell your products in the Middle East?

NK: We currently have around 25 active resellers selling our products.

CME: Is this your first year of operations here?

NK: No, over the past couple of years we have been developing the business, but we didn’t have a proper presence here. We were just coming during GITEX and travelling here once or twice a year. But now we are putting a footprint down - we will have a team here and we are also setting up a telemarketing team to look at market opportunities.

CME: So you didn’t have an office in the Middle East before then?

NK: No. Right now we have a sales person on the ground taking care of channel sales. For us, the opportunity is on the retail side and the SMB side. Compunics is our retail distributor and it basically offers our eScan retail products – the single-user to three-user licences - to power retailers. Bulwark is looking after the SMB and corporate products. We are also doing OEM bundling. We have just cracked a case with BDL to bundle eScan along with Dell Inspiron laptops.

CME: What is the biggest challenge you face in trying to build sales?

NK: Our main challenge is getting an opportunity to demonstrate the product. Our conversion rate is quite good because the product does the selling through its performance, quality and the support. Convincing the reseller to proactively offer eScan is the biggest challenge. From a product point of view we are a winner, but from a brand point of view it is a challenge because it is new to the customer.

CME: There are a lot of security software companies for the channel to choose from. Can resellers make money from selling eScan?

NK: Yes, that is the biggest value proposition we offer to resellers. Everybody is struggling for a bigger GP, but we are a very good bet in terms of offering a better gross margin to the reseller. We offer flexibility on the pricing to win end-customers, there is good support in place and we have set up a telemarketing team to generate leads which will be fed to the resellers.

CME: You talk about offering a better gross margin. Can you quantify or substantiate that?

NK: We give margins ranging from 20% to 30%. With the big brands, if I am a reseller and I approach a customer and offer him Symantec, there are 10 other people offering Symantec. Customers are smart – they will ask for a discount and I will have to give that from my pocket. If I am getting 30% from Symantec and the customer is asking me for a 20% discount, I only get 10%. But with eScan we give the discount to the end-user and we don’t ask the reseller to give the discount from its pocket. For example, if the end-user price of my product is US$100 and the reseller-defined discount is 25%, the reseller still gets that discount even if the customer asks for a 20% discount to take the order for US$80. The discount margins are always protected irrespective of what discount we give to the end-user. That is a big difference.

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