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Gateway Doubles Channel Output with Redoubled Effort
By John Hazard


Gateway Inc. has doubled its channel sales to midsize and enterprise businesses and built trust among resellers since it shuttered its store fronts 18 months ago, the company said.

With a new channel chief at the helm, the PC maker, whose strip mall sales strategy was once seen as a contradiction to the channel, is six months into a two-year reconstruction to boost channel resources and build trust among a growing roster of partners.

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Since March, the Irvine, Calif., company has added channel field representatives, marketing initiatives, a deal registration program and protected sales margins to make it a competitive business class solution for resellers, said Tiffani Bova, channel chief since June 2004.

Bova and Gateway partners say the signs of success are beginning to bloom.

Since March, the company has doubled its revenue through partner sales, Bova said.

Gateway would not release exact figures but said the channel had constituted less than 10 percent of the company's revenue and now composes just more than 20 percent.

Gateway has also recruited more than 85 new resellers to its 1,200-string Pronet channel program, Bova said.

But perhaps most telling of Gateway's achievement is the fact that many VARs, most of who chafed at Gateway's direct sales network, now praise Bova and the channel she is building.

"They're giving the cow a manicure, and it's starting to be a pretty good looking cow," said Edward L. Hunter, president of Champion Networks LLC, of Brunswick, Maine, a Gateway reseller.

"They're putting resources into the channel and getting to know the key players. It's a level of care and support I haven't seen since [technology distributor] Merisel Inc."

eWEEK.com Special Report: State of the Desktop

PointerClick here to read more about Gateway's intentions for the small to midsize business market.

Gateway's new channel strategy has given it traction among resellers, especially among smaller business providers and verticals such as healthcare and education, where notebook and tablet offerings are driving sales, said James Brehm, director of business development at Frost & Sullivan, a financial analysis firm.

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