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GFI Augments Partner Program with Online Resources

GFI Software is trying to raise the bar for what value-added resellers expect of smaller ISV partners when it comes to online resources for lead management, product training and marketing.

GFI, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, on Monday unveiled online training modules and its GFI Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Portal.

The programs are part of a restructuring of GFI's channel program announced over the summer (Click here to read RCP's coverage of the program updates).

GFI, whose network security, content security and messaging software sells primarily into Microsoft-based shops, is in the process of reorganizing its channel into three tiers – gold, silver and bronze.

"When dealing with a smaller software house, [VARs] are not used to getting all the resources they get from an 800-pound gorilla," says Jim Semersky, director of channel sales at GFI. "We're providing tools that I don't think any other software manufacturer of our size is providing to partners."

The online training modules are designed for each of GFI's nine core applications. "We are providing canned, technical and sales solution training that can be done at the timeframe of our partners. But if they want to go in a deep dive, we're willing to do that, as well," Semersky says.

The centerpiece of the announcement, though, is the GFI portal, developed on Salesforce.com's Partner Relationship Management offering. "We beta [tested] the product for them, and we're now a customer," Semersky says.

Building on the Salesforce.com platform, GFI will offer some of its gold- and silver-level VAR partners access to a maintenance and renewal database, a lead-management and deal-registration database, a certification tracking tool and an application for tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

"They'll be able to use this portal to pull in their own customer databases to do marketing campaigns. We're also giving them actual GFI customers that have bought products from us in the last few years," Semersky says. "[They can also use the tool] to manage their sales cycle and track how long it takes them to actually close the lead."

GFI ran a training session for about 25 of its gold partners in mid-October, and that group will beta test the portal for the rest of this year. In early 2007, the company plans to broaden access to the portal to more of its gold and some of its silver partners.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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