Lexmark To Step Up Efforts In SMB Space

Vendor increases channel budget, mulls channel-program face-lift

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Printer vendor Lexmark is set to roll out enhancements to its solution provider programs by the fourth quarter in an effort to grab additional sales and market share in the small- and midsize-business space, according to its top channel executives.

Scott Dunsire, Lexmark's vice president of U.S. business channels, said the company would vet those program updates to some solution provider partners in October before making them formal.

"Over the past couple of weeks, we've done some hard work on evaluating the Profits Plus program," Dunsire said during an interview at the CMP XChange conference in Orlando, Fla., which is sponsored by CRN parent company CMP Media. "Even though we've seen movement in [the SMB space], I just want to move a little faster."

The Lexington, Ky.-based company won't be making any major changes to its current channel lineup, which includes the Profit Plus incentive program for solution providers and its Partner Source Web initiative, among others. Instead, Dunsire said that after completing a review of its channel program, the vendor "may give it a face-lift, give it energy."

Dunsire said the company is girding for a battle in the SMB space at the same time competitors including Xerox and Oki Data have signaled intentions to beef up their efforts there.

Xerox, for one, has said it will begin shipping its new multifunction printers to the channel through general distribution this fall and, like Lexmark, target the SMB market.

Dunsire and Christopher Froman, Lexmark's vice president of channel and alliance management, said the company has increased its budget for investing in channel sales. In the past year, Lexmark has grown its channel sales to 95 percent of its overall business from between 85 percent and 90 percent previously, they said.

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