BitDefender taps Tech Data for major Canadian enterprise push

Its retail offerings already a fixture on Canadian store shelves, Romanian Internet security software vendor BitDefender is launching major push to capture the Canadian enterprise market through the channel, and has tapped distributor Tech Data Canada to help.

BitDefender this week inked a distribution agreement with Tech Data Canada to bring its enterprise and SMB offerings to the channel, building on a similar relationship already in place in the U.S. BitDefender already has D&H Canada, Navarre and Jack of all Games as distributors of its consumer suites.

The Tech Data Canada relationship, and the channel support and reach it will bring, is part of BitDefender’s plan this year to launch a major channel-led push top grow its enterprise business in Canada said Keith Alston, the North America Channel Sales Director at BitDefender.

“Our presence in Canada on the retail side has generated positive results, and the growth we had in Canada in 2009 prompted the channel organization to launch a major new push into the Canadian territory. Up until now we haven’t had much of a presence or focus,” said Alston. “It’s our intent this year to launch a major push in Canada through our growth with channel partners.”

The company has about 450 resellers in North America, but Alston said only a handful of those are in Canada. BitDefender won’t have an office or executive in Canada, letting the distributor be the local, hands-on presence for its resellers.

BitDefender’s enterprise offerings are popular in the education segment, said Alston, with a sweet-spot of about 500 seats and below, but scaling well up into 5000 seats. The company offers a full suite of business products, from mail and file servers to gateway and endpoint protection.

The company’s channel program is focused on three main pillars. The first is partner profitability, with generous tiered margins. The second is price flexibility by territory and industry to align with government, education and other sectors. And the third pillar is partner intimacy, working with individual partners to understand their businesses and develop plans for mutual success.

The program itself has three tiers. The entry-level Bronze tier requires just one order yearly, and offers 30 per cent margins and limited support. A minimum US$7000 in annual sales (with rolling six-month qualification) will get you into the Silver tier, which offers 35 per cent margins, increasing to 45 per cent for registered deals, with enhanced support and co-op funding equal to two per cent of sales. Finally, US$75,000 in sales is requires for the Gold tier which sees margins increased to 40 per cent (60 per cent for registered deals) with enhanced support and three per cent in co-op funds.

BitDefender has a staff of sales engineers available to partners for pre-sale and implementation support at no cost, and also offers training to partners in selected venues as well as online through BitDefender University.

On the promo side, BitDefender is also currently offering a three-year license for the price of two years on business products, and an additional 10 per cent commission on any deal over 350 seats.

“There are some real strong upside elements to our program,” said Alston.

The vendor has a program to track the renewal dates of users currently with other companies, beginning to market to them with white papers, market data and case-studies on BitDefender at six months from renewal, and an offer to connect them with a Bit Defender partner at three months. The program targets all major business and education institutions in Canada and generated 2000 leads monthly, said Alston.

BitDefender also tracks its own customer renewal dates, informing the partner three months before the anniversary of the need to revisit their customer.

“We don’t compete with partners,” said Alston “We sell business products only through channel distribution. We don’t sell business products direct at all.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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