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View from the channel – Stuart Kershaw, Regional Sales Manager, Altodigital

Q: What are your customers most interested in?

A: Over the last 12 months, with the introduction of GDPR, we’ve seen security and data protection move higher up our customers’ agendas. We’ve noticed a marked improvement in their awareness of the data they hold and as such, they are spending time and money securing their devices and generally improving security.

Q: Do clients have the same understanding of industry terms, such as BYOD, MPS or MDS, as we do?

A: A lot of our customers are really clued up on the industry and these terms. There is an element of education for a few clients, but generally, the understanding of the industry and what we do is really good. Take MPS for example, most of our customers have realistic expectations of what this means for them and are looking to take the administration and time aspects away from them and put them with a trusted partner.

Q: Where are you seeing most traction at the moment, are there any verticals that are particularly strong?

A: We’re fortunate to work with all kinds of companies in different industries and sectors so don’t really have one dominant vertical. We’ve been pleased to see that, despite the turbulence of the economy in the lead up to Brexit, the industry, in general, is remaining strong.

Q: When selling MFPs, what are the most popular software solutions you provide and why?

A: Print management remains one of our most popular solutions for a number of reasons. Firstly, it improves security and reduces the risk of data breaches, which has become increasingly important for our customers. It also helps our customers to reduce their waste and carbon footprint, and, ultimately, it helps them drive down costs.

Q: Where do you get information on the latest products and solutions, and do you feel that the OEMs are doing enough to educate their channel partners?

A: We actually find that OEMs are our main source of products and solutions information. We’re very lucky to deal with the market leaders and some fantastic partners who we have longstanding relationships with, so we get very good information and support from them. We find it’s very much a two-way street and all of our partners are keen to understand what we’re experiencing from an end-user perspective and what feedback we’re getting, and they really take that on board.

Q: Is your patch particularly competitive – is it national or local competition that you face?

A: Our industry has always been very competitive on both a local and national scale. However, we’ve seen a shift and the Midlands, where our head office is now based, has become very competitive.

Q: How do you spend your week – time on phone, face to face meetings with customers etc.?

A: I tend to be field-based so spend the vast majority of my time out and about in the Midlands meeting our customers. We feel it’s really important to see our customers face-to-face and be in the same room as them, as we find that’s how you build lasting relationships.

Q: What would make your job easier?

A: I think developing a greater understanding of how to use online networking and social media to generate sales revenue would be really beneficial. This is something we’re already doing as a business, but personally, I feel expanding my knowledge in this area could make my job easier and I’d be able to reap the rewards on a daily basis.

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