Lexmark pushes channel to embrace print services and solutions

Lexmark puts solutions sales and vertical apps at heart of channel plans for next year but warns that partners that don’t embrace the idea of print services may be left out in the cold

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: MicroScope: MicroScope: January 2014

Lexmark has been setting out its plans for the New Year, revealing it plans to chat up buyers in schools across the country in the run-up to BETT 2014 at ExCel London, and said that it will see a change in the mix of partners it deals with as it pushes its printer services and solutions message.

Lexmark embarked on a major education campaign in the channel earlier in 2013 and made a big noise around the concept of basic print services, whereby it provides more of the back-end hosting and support for partners that have not yet made the transition to true managed print services provider status, promising upfront margins on a two to three year contract.

Speaking to MicroScope, Lexmark UK and Ireland channel and SMB sales director Martin Fairman said that this transition and the education process around it would continue into 2014.

However, Fairman said, Lexmark would also continue to re-evaluate the mix of partners it deals with, and although he did not go so far as to say any resellers would be thrown off the vendor’s programme, indicated that Lexmark is “not interested in capturing the entry-level print marketplace anymore.”

“We want to deal with partners that can sell their own services, or have the desire to move to that model,” he said.

For Lexmark, the big emphasis in 2014 will be on pushing vertical applications for the firm’s growing suite of multi-function printer (MFP) hardware.

Already available in the US, Lexmark’s Testing and Grading app will make its debut at BETT, and promises to make teachers’ lives easier by automating a number of classroom functions such as marking, grading, and report generation.

Fairman explained that the idea was to offer something different to the host of vendors who “just put toner on paper” and begin to make the printer an indispensable office, or classroom, tool.

“In the same way I wouldn’t give up my iPhone because it handles so many business processes,” he said, “with Lexmark we want the MFP to become an office utility that people don’t want to give up.

“We already find we are able to lead more on solutions, and if you can sell the solution well the hardware will follow,” he said.

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