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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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Where are you directing your efforts when it comes to channel sales?

I’m focused on that distribution marketplace. I don’t have the arms and legs to reach 10,000 VARs. We have to use a vehicle that is going to allow us to touch them. I’m a big believer in the power of distribution because they’ve transformed themselves beyond a warehouse and a bank into a marketing agent for a VAR. They’ve transformed themselves into technicians. They’ve transformed themselves into a service provider, where a distributor can perform a service with the partner name on it. So all those things that make a small VAR appear bigger.

The data shows us that the VAR community sells this product at this price band. Compelling reasons if I was a VAR today are besides security what also is important to a VAR is size constraints. A lot of these guys are working in small offices. 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. What we say is, ‘It’s built like a tank, but has the weight of a ballerina.’

How big a game-changer is what you are bringing to the table?

The reason I decided to join the company is the opportunity that Lexmark could present to the channel. We had great products. We have great products. We have a design plan of introducing new products that they showed me. I said, ‘There’s an opportunity for growth well beyond what is in the market.’ So when you look at the task in front of us, and the company has bet itself on growing its channel, it’s monumental.

The company is saying, ‘Our future resides on the path to market in this route.’ … You have to have the right products, with the right promotions, the right incentive and then the very important additive is using four ‘Ps’: product, placement, price, promotion. Actively. Every week.

You have to dedicate teams to who are we competing with? How is our product faring? How does our promotion look in comparison to all the other competition? Do we have the right inventory on shelf? Is there aged [inventory] that I need to address? It’s a success factor that I learned from my prior companies and we’ve indoctrinated into Lexmark. Over the course of the year, we’ve built out a management system that’s built on those four key principles.

The intelligence was there. Understanding the market and what products we needed to participate in. But what has evolved in the last year in and a half is management by the four Ps, the designation of the route that would consume it, how we’re bringing the product to market. All the collateral, underneath the product that’s at the market today, the support for the organization that needs to sell it: channel. This is a companywide, worldwide effort.

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