CMP Delves into the Software Business (posted 3/13)
CMP Technology’s Channel Group has entered into a partnership with Massachusetts-based eXalt Solutions to offer Web-based, multi-vendor software that will allow suppliers, distributors and solution providers to develop sales quotes and sales packages more quickly and accurately.
The new multi-vendor platform will be sold both online and by CMP’s sales professionals. And, although software may seem like a departure from the online and print products currently offered by CMP, Channel Group president Robert Faletra said he looks at the service as just another form of content.
“We want to be an every thing channel from access to distribution to execution,” he said. “We’re not just saying we want to be the vision of a media company. What we are saying is that we’re the expert in direct and indirect hi-tech channels. Our heritage is print, but from print we went to online, from online into events and from events into training and education. This is just another strategy.”
Faletra said eXalt approached CMP with the idea to partner on the software. “I’ll give anybody with a good idea 30 minutes,” he said. “So they came in to see me last July and the more I looked at it the more interesting it got. So I started testing it with our audience and everyone I showed it to was really excited. It just seemed like the right content for our audience at the right time.” This is the first of several new money-making strategies the CMP Channel Group, which publishes CRN and VARBusiness, plans to launch this year that will move the company away from its more traditional markets, Faletra said.
The new software is being marketed in two ways. First, CMP is selling customized platforms to its vendors. “We’re going to be doing a lot of this to customize this tool for our vendors’ product sets and their audiences,” Faletra said. “The tool takes down the amount of time it takes an engineer to build a solution geared to their audience. What usually takes eight hours to build, now takes two hours.”
Secondly, the CMP Channel Group will launch, later this year, a similar tool on its Web site that its readers, comprised mostly of IT solutions providers, can use to develop comprehensive sales packages for their customer base. The software will provide sales personnel with critical information to help them produce more accurate sales quotes and packages. For example, the software will alert users to price fluctuations in the services and products they’re marketing.
In both cases, Faletra said the information provided by the software tool will enable solutions providers to sell more products, eliminate errors, and increase add-on sales and profits. For now, CMP will net revenue from the software through commissions on sales of the software. Down the road, Faletra said there will be opportunities for CMP to also make money by marketing related services to the product and through advertising and sponsorship opportunities.