SurfControl applauds local channel

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UK web and email filters vendor SurfControl has lauded its channel as a major contributor to a 31 percent growth in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2004.

UK web and email filters vendor SurfControl has lauded its channel as a major contributor to a 31 percent growth in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2004.

Charles Heunemann, managing director at SurfControl in Australia, said channel sales had accounted for around 70 percent of the company's invoicing in the fourth quarter of the 2004 financial year.

That represented an 86 percent lift in channel contribution from the fourth quarter of 2003, making for a 60 percent increase in revenue, he said.

"For a vendor to grow its business in any market, but particularly here in Australia, a direct sales model is inherently unscaleable," Heunemann said. "The vendor has to have a lot more salespeople or infrastructure or management."

Relationships channel partners built with customers over months or years were much more cost-effective and valuable, he said.

SurfControl had a difficult 2002, but had concentrated on its channel strategy last year and this year with good results. Revenue grew about 60 percent in 2003 and 31 percent in 2004 "but that was off a large base", he said.

"A 30-something percent [growth] is pretty good for an IT company," Heunemann said.

Those results had allowed SurfControl's Australian operations to retain a leading 30 percent market share, according to IDC research released in May, he claimed.

Heunemann said SurfControl planned to expand its channel involvement this year to further consolidate its gains.

"Yes, absolutely. We're continuing to invest. Whenever we intend to deploy another sales resource, it'll be a channel resource rather than a direct resource," he said.

SurfControl found a diverse stable of channel partners helpful because it wanted sales in SMBs as well as from the "high end" of town, Heunemann said.

SurfControl's channel had been instrumental in fourth quarter signings with the Western Australia Department of Justice, Bunnings Building Supplies, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and South Australia's Department of Human Services, he said.

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