Samsung snuggles up to partners for B2B growth push

Samsung has created a major accounts team in a bid to cosy up to larger resellers amid grand plans to become the UK's third largest B2B vendor in 2011.

Samsung has created a major accounts team in a bid to cosy up to larger resellers amid grand plans to become the UK's third largest B2B vendor in 2011.

The South Korean giant, which recently re-jigged some positions internally, has merged its IT businesses - mobile PCs, printers, and displays - to push cross-selling and have one point of contact for partners, a structure it abandoned years ago.

Graham Long, Samsung UK and Ireland VP of the IT Business, forecasted that sales growth of 40% in B2B this year - more than doubling volumes - would propel it into the upper echelons of the UK vendor league.

"We were run as [three] standalone business units but are now putting them under a single umbrella, the IT business, so when we talk to resellers or consumer accounts it's as one organisation," he told MicroScope.

He said the total addressable UK market in retail and B2B is around £2.5bn a year, "We know that 50% of this opportunity comes from a market we have traditionally under indexed in".

The team is still being assembled but each of the major UK resellers, retailers and distributors that carry the entire portfolio will have one designated rep, the firm said.

This horizontal structure was first initiated in 2006 but was overhauled a year later as Samsung decided to move back to operating its three product divisions in silos.

Long mooted that each standalone business unit has now reached critical mass and their merger will make the vendor an "important partner for each of our customers' businesses".

Samsung last month launched colour and mono A3 MFDs, added to its range of A4s and will push out a line of B2B notebooks in the coming weeks.

A number of household consumer brands including Sony, LG and Panasonic have failed to make a similar dent in the professional IT market but some big hitting resellers believe Samsung may buck that trend.

Martin Hellawell, managing director at Softcat, said Samsung has the "deep pockets" to invest in building a business that rivals any of the IT giants.

"Its probably not hot air but it depends on the time scale, this year sounds a bit unrealistic. I'd like to see a consistent investment plan as one minute Samsung wants to be a big player, but it retrenches and then comes back again," he said.

Stuart Fenton, president for EMEA and Asia Pacific at Insight Enterprises, pointed to Samsung's R&D investment and manufacturing capabilities, "we feel confident Samsung will be a significant B2B player in the UK over the next 12 to 18 months".

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