Last month Lexmark announced a new channel partner programme developed so that partners can offer a broader range of solutions to their customers, including hardware, supplies, break-fix service, managed print services and software
The Connect Partner Programme provides qualifying partners with enhanced training and marketing support, including access to Lexmarks online information resource, PartnerNet; a partner-specific training portal; and a completely revised set of sales and marketing tools.
Here, PITR questions Martin Fairman, UK & Ireland Channel and SMB Sales Director at Lexmark, about the new programme and how it fits in with Lexmarks growth strategy.
PITR: Is the new Connect Partner Programme a replacement for existing programmes or additional to them?
Martin Fairman (MF): The Lexmark Connect Partner Programme has replaced the previous Channel Value Programme. Lexmark has consolidated its current channel programmes with the Lexmark Connect Programme, which packages up their features and benefits into a simple-to-use global framework, to address the needs of the partner community.
PITR: Who is it targeted at?
MF: The Lexmark Connect Partner Programme has been specifically designed to support the partner community selling to customers who are increasingly looking to adopt a holistic, end-to-end approach to their data and document management, beyond just printing.
PITR: How does it differ from existing programmes?
MF: The new Lexmark Connect Partner Programme provides the channel with one unified programme framework that is designed to enrich partner offerings to their customers by connecting them to Lexmarks expertise in providing MPS, solutions, software, supplies and services.
PITR: What is the main purpose of the new programme and why is Lexmark introducing it now?
MF: The main purpose of the new programme is to make things easier for Lexmarks partners. We’ve definitely noticed that the channel landscape is evolving and we want to ensure that our partners are prepared for this as much as possible. The printer market is migrating to devices that can be integrated into end-to-end solutions, such as document management, and partners need to be aware of, and fully prepared to exploit, the changing dynamics of the market.
PITR: Is it being introduced in response to feedback from resellers or is Lexmark being proactive?
MF: We’ve introduced the programme proactively to address the shifting dynamics of the market and the changing perception of partners. A recent IDC study (Western European Hardcopy SMB End-User Survey 2014) found that 71% of SMBs that have looked beyond purchased hardware and towards services and solutions have purchased these solutions from a channel partner or recognised software provider as they look to ease the burden of document management and cost.
PITR: How are the needs of Lexmark resellers changing?
MF: The needs of partners are changing because their business role has grown. Alastair Edwards, Principal Analyst at Canalys, recently noted that resellers have evolved from being pre suppliers of products and support to becoming trusted business partners.This is exactly what were finding. Companies are increasingly turning to advanced technology to solve these business challenges and relying on the specialist nature of their partners as providers.
PITR: Where was the new Connect programme developed and are there any regional variations?
MF: The Connect Partner Programme was developed from a global point of view. As with any rollout there will be regional variations. Through our online information resource, PartnerNet, Lexmarks channel partners are able to access a partner-specific portal for full details of the programme.
Lexmark channel partners can find out more about the programme at