Maverick to up IT channel involvement

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Maverick to up IT channel involvement

Paul Kunert
Audio-visual distributor Maverick has outlined plans to push around 70 per cent of its overall business through the IT channel within the next two years.

As part of its vision, the Reading-based company has changed its business model by transferring all field sales to internal sales positions.
"We wanted an IT-focused business model because we are working on lower overheads," stated Maverick managing director Jon Sidwick. "There are 16,000 IT dealers out there, as opposed to 100 AV resellers - you can't meet them all."
To spearhead its strategy, the distributor has teamed up with the AV industry's international trade organisation, Infocomm, to run the first AV academy that educates dealers about the sector.
"Traditional AV distributors are shrinking because they are not supporting IT dealers, but if you want to grow the business you need to support other channels," Sidwick insisted.
He revealed half of its business currently moved through IT dealers, but with the convergence between the AV and IT technologies gaining momentum, there was a need to increase that level.
"The vast majority of AV products will be sold through the IT channel in the next few years and we need to be involved to be an important player," he added.
Hanging off the network as peripherals, he claimed products such as projectors with an IP address were effectively IT products already and were even specified by IT managers as part of the network.
But despite the falling requirement for the AV channel's technical specialisation, Sidwick insisted there were no IT distributors that could rival Maverick's value add.
"We can spend time to advise, support and educate the dealers. Other IT distributors can't because they still haven't got the same level of focus," Sidwick said.
But Nick Culley, product arketing director at Midwich, asserted it had a product range comparable with AV distributors and could "match any of the services they offer".
He suggested Epson's recent decision to appoint Midwich as a distributor for low-end projectors showed the faith the vendor had in IT distributors' ability to reach IT resellers.
According to Ian Vickerage, managing director of Imago Micro, the decision to discontinue field sales would seriously impair Maverick's ability to provide specialist help.

"[The internal sales model] limits the chance to provide demonstration and training. It is hard to describe yourself as a value-add distributor if the nearest you get to a customer is over the phone," he said.

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