A little channel Vignette

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Content management and web applications vendor Vignette has started beefing up its channel program and sales staff with a view to growing its indirect business to 50 or 60 percent of total local sales.

Content management and web applications vendor Vignette has started beefing up its channel program and sales staff with a view to adding VARs.

Graham Pullen, general manager at Vignette Asia-Pacific, said the vendor was growing its Partner Enablement Group. A team of professional services, technical and marketing specialists would build up the vendor's partner support offering.

"It will be partner salespeople. It's a partner team made up of technical people -- technical system engineers -- and people on a layer above that ... with engineering, marketing and business skills," he said.

The vendor was refocusing on "solution selling" skills because it had broadened from web portal applications to content management and other types of software, partly by bedding down various recent acquisitions. Vignette needed to get its channel up to date, Pullen said.

"It's also to mitigate risk for the customer," he added.

Vignette was also starting its first partner authorisation program. "I have worked for many companies and very few have what I call a quality authorisation program," he claimed.

"We want to explore distribution via VARs that help us move into markets we currently don't have," Pullen said.

US-based Vignette did 50 to 60 percent of its sales through the channel. Australia and New Zealand only did about 40 percent so Vignette felt there was definitely room to boost indirect sales to about that level, Pullen said.

SMBs would be a particular focus. Although sales in the enterprise were still going well, Vignette saw fertile ground for opportunity in smaller companies, Pullen said.

Compliance and regulatory issues were becoming a major driver for adoption of Vignette-type applications, he pointed out.

"Right now, we want to improve our game in partner enablement," Pullen said.

Vignette had around 100 Australia-based staff but about 60 of that number were focused on development. Sales and system engineers numbered around eight, so Vignette was in the process of hiring four or five more for the sales team, Pullen said.

"They will make a direct impact," he said.

The vendor's chief of channel sales, Mark Belles, was coming out from the US to work with the company on its channel activity here, Pullen added.

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