May 25, 2018
Sammy Kinlaw, Lexmark’s new global channel chief, has been concocting a “reinvigorated channel strategy”, as CRN reports.
Despite having been in his new role for less than four months, Kinlaw is already rolling up his sleeves and preparing to embrace a new channel strategy which will see Lexmark “expand its partner organisation, increase channel spending, recruit new partners and open new cloud-focused service opportunities to solution providers.”
This new course is being taken as the OEM simultaneously prepares its partners “for a massive product overhaul” which will “refresh 92 percent of its product line” and allow Lexmark partners to take advantage of “cloud-focused” tools.
“What they have are great products with amazing solutions, and they want to open up those solutions and products and grow in a channel space,” Kinlaw explained. “Not Lexmark-led selling, but channel-led selling … Partners can expect me to be fair, to incent in a big way, to expect that I’m going to give the right support and coverage, and it’s going to allow them to sell to new end-users and compete in spaces they couldn’t compete before because of the solutions that are tied to the hardware.”
Kinlaw has backing from “Lexmark executives at the highest levels” to increase his channel spending; with this “increased funding”, the goal is to expand the OEM’s “commercial coverage for VARs. Kinlaw also plans to introduce new channel incentives and expand Lexmark’s marketing strategies.
“Now, we’re taking it to the next level,” Kinlaw said. “We understand where the revenues came from, but my strategy is to grow wider in select geographies — the number of buying partners and the number of authorised partners — but I also know the partners that are able to sell the types of solutions [we’re coming out with], and I want to invest in those partners to go deeper.”
Lexmark’s new product range is set to be unveiled over the summer months, and will allow partners to make the most of software “that enables device management, print management and cloud connectivity”.
“These cloud-type offerings that were previously unavailable on our products, are now going to be available. So a midsize partner who might have not previously had the expertise or even the opportunity to look at a managed printer and device-as-a-service-type offer will now be able to,” Kinlaw said. “Perhaps they had to use a third party before. This new tool suite could enable them to sell it independently. I’m listening very carefully to how we can place this product and position it and the type of training we need.”
The tool suite will be incorporated into the OEM’s new products, which will be released in both June and September.
“I think these products create renewable revenue streams because annuities will follow,” the Vice President went on. “It could be warranty opportunity. It could be an opportunity for them to service the product since they can be an authorised service provider, and it will give an opportunity for them to sell ink for a very long time. Many of these products have been in use for multiple years. The design and the quality and the robustness that was in that heritage continues on today.”
Lexmark will also be introducing training for partners and Kinlaw “has plans to help partners with more actionable information, by giving them access to Lexmark’s in-house engineers” as well as industry consultants working in a range of sectors, including government, retail and banking.
“There are over 100 folks really based on these vertical-type solutions, so those verticals solutions were, to be frank, only used in a direct selling method,” said Kinlaw. “All that stuff has been kept in house … I have to enable those channel partners to take advantage of that.”
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