Lexmark targets software and services as it waves goodbye to inkjet business

Channel News

Resellers to receive new training and incentives, UK channel boss says

Lexmark is looking to train up its channel partners to support its push into software and sales, following the announcement that it has ended its inkjet printer sales business.

In August Lexmark announced that it would no longer be continuing sales of its inkjet printers, in a major restructuring of its business which will see large numbers of staff lose their jobs in its global operations.   The decision followed a move last year for the American printer maker to stop selling through retail outlets such as Comet, Staples and others in the UK.

According to Lexmark’s UK&I sales director Martin Fairman, the decision to put an end to its inkjet business, which Lexmark is reportedly currently looking to sell on, is part of its efforts to move further into software and services sales, alongside greater emphasis on its laser multifunction printers for example.

Fairman told ChannelBiz UK that any disruption caused by the ending of its inkjet business is unlikely to have affected its UK channel partners.   He says that for channel partners, inkjet sales were generally only a fraction of their sales, with Lexmark’s retail partners tending to be the ones selling the inkjet products.

Fairman is adamant that those who did sell inkjet products as part of their portfolio were “not concerned” with the ending of Lexmark’s presence in the market.   He says that partners were often looking to move away from an area of the market that brought only small, and increasingly tightened, margins.

Partners are enjoying more profitability from the sales of MFPs, he said, while the opportunity to offer additional software and services is also a way to increase profits.

The “re-focusing” on software and services will involve delivering apps to customers, he said, and will mean increasing the level of service around enterprise content management (ECM).  This follows the acquisition of ECM software firm Perceptive Software by Lexmark earlier this year.

Fairman said that partners are increasingly required to provide services to their customers, an industry-wide trend, and the company is looking to facilitate the transition as easily as possible as it sheds its inkjet business.

This means that Lexmark has changed some of the sales staff that previously concentrated on inkjet sales, and will be retraining them to deal with the intricacies of a services led approach.

In terms of Lexmarks’ partners there will be a similar approach.  Fairman told us a that move towards services sales will be reflected in forthcoming changes to its partner programme, which will be announced fully in January.  Resellers will be offered new incentives, for example, as the company pushes for further growth.  Fairman said that the company would also continue to attract more partners to its growing reseller base.

In addition, Lexmark will be introducing a ‘university academy’, aimed at training up partners in its services sales.



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