Netgear ramps up channel recruitment

Network vendor Netgear is aiming to grow its channel-led business including an upcoming lead generation campaign offering free “network assessments” for end users. The firm, which has a broad portfolio of homegown and rebadged networking kit including wireless, Gigabit, 10GigE and NAS, is taking aim at the value-conscious midmarket.

Later this year, Netgear will also be announcing its first set of Platinum+ partners from its existing 30 top tier UK partners.

Jonathan Hallatt, VAR sales director from Netgear (pictured) feels that both the channel and end users are prepared in the current climate to look for alternatives to incumbents: “Customers are coming to our door for the cost savings... if you think about a small to medium business of say 1000 seats, they often need partners to deliver networking skills but they cant afford to pay maintenance [contracts].”

Hallatt points out that these firms often don't have in-house networking expertise so they rely on expensive support contracts from partners. The channel boss highlights a recent installation at a school where the entire £25,000 Netgear upgrade was less than the existing [Cisco] support contract.

“I think that the market is changing, people are looking for better value for money – questioning every pound that they spend,” says Hallatt and although reluctant to say it, agrees that channel partners will need to be more aggressive with the cost of support contracts to align with the lower capital costs of the Netgear hardware. “our channel are trying to take business away from a larger partners – we must give them an alternative,” he adds.

Netgear are running awareness campaigns at several events including IPExpo to help book the “Network Assements” which Hallat admits are more a about finding out “...what [the customer] is trying to do and to find out about overall costs.” with the aim of selling against the high support contract costs of Cisco and HP rivals.

Leads from the campaign will only be handed out to Platinum partners based on customer preference, geographic location and complementary skills and products.