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Anthology Beats Channel Conflict by Padding VAR Margins
By John Hazard


Direct resellers such as CDW and PC Mall, even retail chains such as Circuit City, have always been a thorn in the side of VARs selling to the small to midsize business market.

But the vendors they serve cannot ignore the volume and market reach such outlets afford in a market where the lines between SMB and consumer buying habits are as blurry as the products.

Anthology Solutions, makers of the Yellow Machine storage appliance for SMBs and consumers, is one such company with a novel approach to keeping the peace—one price ($1,299) regardless of channel.

The 2-year-old company announced this week the addition of CDW, TigerDirect.com, PC Mall, OnSale, NeedThese.com, ClubMac, MacMall and PC Mall as well as Circuit City retail locations, but still relies on its more than 200 VARs to spread the word and make the pitch.

To level the field, the vendor manages an inverse margin that pads the sale for VARs so they might match the price of volume sellers.

The company offers further volume discounts for VARs and will extend the margin further if the VAR needs help landing a large customer, the company said.

The Channel Insider Special: Building Solutions for SMBs

The company's preferred sales pitch—"How important is your data"—is still best delivered face to face by a VAR in a trusted advisor role, said David Leyman, Anthology's director of channel sales.

"The VARs are the critical element of our sales," Leyman said. "These are not technologies that a guy running a dentist office or a photography studio are familiar with, so it's not an impulse buy. We need the extended sales force and the education component VARs supply."

Direct resellers may discount the price 2 or 3 percent out of their own profit, but VARs won't find themselves undercut by $200, Leyman said.

Available at up to 2.0TB, the Yellow Machine appliance is designed to quickly and automatically back up 20 PCs, allowing data to be securely archived with no administration.

New Masterpiece RAID DST (Disk Scrubbing Technology) in the Yellow Machine appliance can repair data on the disk or place it safer area, ensuring its accessibility.

The company plans to announce a steeper discount on the appliance in the next month and VPN remote access allowing VARs to manage remote diagnostics and a Managed Services Component to the pitch.

     
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