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Sammy Kinlaw On Lexmark’s New Printers And How His Channel Vision Is Now A Reality

Lexmark channel chief Sammy Kinlaw talks about the big job of selling to small business as the company releases new color printers aimed at small workgroups and micro-SMBs.

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Lexmark has doubled down on its commitment to partners, driving new printers through the channel and forging strong relationships with distributors. All of this is targeted at the underserved small workgroup, or micro-SMB end user, which the company estimates is a 10 million-device total addressable market.

Following January’s news of channel-focused GO Line products and the release of the 2 Series, monochrome printer and MFP, Lexmark Tuesday unveiled the GO Line 3 Series, a collection of color devices that come as printers and multifunction printers with built-in managed print services annuities.

“What we say is, ‘It’s built like a tank, but has the weight of a ballerina,’” Sammy Kinlaw, vice president of worldwide channel and OEM sales at Lexington, Ky.-based Lexmark, told CRN in a conversation edited here for length and clarity. “It’s designed for small workgroups. Could be a small bank office. Could be a small anything. Size and weight are important. It’s 30 percent lighter than our comparable product that we had previously, and it’s 50 percent smaller.”

Kinlaw joined Lexmark in January, 2018, and has spent the past year and a half rebuilding the channel at Lexmark and paving the way for the company’s new portfolio. The differentiators with these printers and MFPs are security—which at Lexmark means the entry-level device has the same security features as its top-of-the-line product— durability in terms of robustness, and future-proofed processors that are faster than their competition. Lexmark is growing its total addressable market by delivering those features to solution providers, he said.

“The growth goals for our company are squarely on the shoulders of the channel. If you look at the A4 market today, if you look at where we participated in the market, our addressable market prior to January was right around a third of the market,” Kinlaw said. “To reach the goals of revenue and units, we couldn’t expand within that prior addressable market quickly enough. So the company recognized two years ago we had to grow in smaller-footprint, faster, more aggressively priced product in mono, color and color MFP that allowed us to double our addressable market.”


What is the differentiator in these new color devices? 

The No. 1 thing if you are a partner is what are end users most concerned with today? Security. So if you look at our competition in this price band, what you see side by side [is] their summary of their security offering is asterisks—meaning their entry-level products are not secured the same way in which more complex solutions are secured. At Lexmark, we call it ‘No asterisk security.’ At Lexmark, an entry-level product is secured as dynamically as a more complex MFP offering. So entry level all the way through our most complex offering has the same security.

What impact will the new GO Line 3 Series have on Lexmark’s position in the channel?

It makes me feel confident that I can stand on a main stage, or I can walk into an owner, or president or CEO of a VAR, and give them compelling and true reasons to consider us. Before, I was selling them a vision. Today, I can give them a reality. All the vision statements that I worked on when I arrived, that my team has helped me build out, we have been able to do. The support of the company from the CEO down is behind me. So for me, the pressures are real because they’ve said, ‘You have the strategy. This is a good thing, Sammy. Go build out the channel.’ They’ve given us the product. They’ve given us the investment. I’ve expanded the team substantially, all those things have happened. Now we’ve got a lot of work to do. I have thousands of these color devices yet to be sold. Do I feel confident? My product guys have shown me, ‘You’ve got the goods. You can talk about security in a way in which our competition cannot. You can talk about price point. Value statement. Yields. Processor speed. Memory.’ Those are all heavy value statements for a VAR. It doesn’t end there.

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