Lexmark promises end to channel conflict

Lexmark logo on white background

A company reshuffle over the summer at Lexmark UK (NYSE: LXK) has led to the print and copier manufacturer publicly renewing its commitment to its channel partners.

New faces at the company’s UK operations include ex-Samsung exec Martin Fairman (pictured), who’s now heading up channel sales at Lexmark, and promoted general manager Gary Bourland. Fairman also explains there has also been some internal reorganisation at the firm, reflecting the renewed focus on channel sales.

Fairman says the firm wants to regain its partners’ confidence, conceding in the past the vendor may have given out “mixed messages” to dealers. This includes too many overlapping sales promotions leading to confusion among partners, and some some smaller dealers missing out on deals.

“We’ve cleared up a lot of that now,” he explains. “We’ve now sorted out which partners sell what, [and] the have right products for the right partners.”

As to illustrate the point, the vendor has just introduced a dedicated product range for its ValuePrint Partners. The Lexmark ValuePrint (LVP) Partner line comprises 26 models ranging from low end monochrome laser printers to departmental colour MFDs. The products are assigned to different categories of partner to “to avoid conflict”, says Fairman.

Lexmark says it has also simplified many processes for LVP Partners ordering hardware and supplies.

“These changes are a direct result of partner feedback and shows that Lexmark is dedicated to the office equipment channel and will continue to grow our presence in it,” says Bourland.

Paul Derry, sales director at dealer ASL believes the dedicated LVP products “will really help to drive customers back to us as their needs evolve.”

He adds: “The challenge for the channel is finding a way to help [Lexmark] encourage and build on customer loyalty…We are impressed with the exclusive devices and supplies that are being opened up to us and also the range of solutions which will help us to increase attach rates and profitability.”

There are currently 50 partners in the LVP, but Fairman hopes to increase this number to 80 over the next couple of years.

Lexmark has also just acquired Netherlands-based BPM software vendor Pallas Athena, which will become a part of Perceptive Software, Lexmark’s stand-alone business unit focusing on ECM. Fairman hopes partners will consider offering enterprise content management (ECM) alongside hardware deals.

“It’s where we see ourselves going,” he maintains, adding dealers need education in new forms of revenue moving forward. “It doesn’t end at document scanning. Who sees [the document], controls it, where it’s stored – these are opportunities for additional revenue streams.”

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.