Lenovo evolves mid-market approach

With mid-market customers looking for more support Lenovo is calling on its channel to exploit the opportunity

The mid-market is evolving and in increasing numbers is starting to look to the channel to provide the sort of support that enterprise customers take for granted.

The changing landscape means that there is a growing opportunity for those resellers that can pitch a wide range of products and the services that are going to be needed.

Recognising that in the 249-999 seats area of the market there is a need for a strong channel play Lenovo is stepping up its efforts to increase its activity in the mid-market.

The vendor has been increasing its focus on the sector since it placed Leigh Saunders in charge of its mid- market efforts late last year and is now looking to drive even more business through partners.

"We have been traditionally strong in the 0-99 seat area and partners have been supported in getting to that
space. We want to make it as seamless for business partners to get to 249-999 customer base," he said.

He said that it would be leaning on its experiences in the enterprise space and would bring those tactics to
the mid-market as it got its sales teams to drive demand towards the channel.

"If you look at the UK economy the mid-market is the fastest growing sector," added Saunders "It has always
been a key market for us but as the market matures we need to evolve our approach."

The focus on the mid-market comes at a time when Lenovo is looking to encourage its traditional partners that have sold its PC products to add servers into the mix on the back of the IBM x86 acquisition. Taking a portfolio approach is even more relevant in the mid-market, where the customer is likely to be looking for PCs, servers and storage.

Last week,  the firm's UK general manager David McQuarrie, said that one of its main plans for this year was to get its
channel selling its complete portfolio because there was a natural synergy between those selling PCs and those that were coming with a server background.

Saunders also underlined how it had made changes to its partner programme back in April with the specific aim of making it easier to sell across the portfolio.

"We have got a fantastic incumbent base and have welcomed some great enterprise resellers (following the x86 acquisition) and we are now running a unified channel programme making it very easy for the channel to sell across the product range," he said.

Saunders said that since it had unified its channel partner programme efforts back in April it had already started to see some cross-fertilisation with resellers selling more of its portfolio.

The mid-market opportunity

If there was a theme of the year in 2014 then it could well have been mid-market with everyone talking about the sector being in growth mode. That positivity appears to have remained and many firms that sit above small and below enterprise are investing in the future and outlying capital expenditure.

From a channel point of view the other positive is the geographic spread of the opportunities. Lenovo's head of mid-market in the UK and Ireland Leigh Saunders points out that the growth is not just confined to London and the South East.

"You are finding that the opportunities are quite evenly spread across the UK and the growth is split across the country," he said.

"We have started to see that, naturally it has been seen in our gold partner base but there are also enterprise partners that have come on board who want to be able to offer complementary products and the Think brand is very powerful," he added.

What the evolution of the approach to the mid-market means for the channel is greater levels of support, more demand generation efforts from Lenovo and the vendor encouraging larger customers to work with business partners.

It could also be a moment when more resellers join the Lenovo fold as the vendor looks for those with mid-market expertise to sign up.

"We have always been in the mid-market but this is an evolution as the market is changing and we want to be able to attack it. We want new partners and want our existing partners to join us in the journey," said Saunders.

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