Sammy Kinlaw is the perfect choice as Lenovo’s director of Channel Sales. In addition to having a ton of energy, Sammy also carries an impressive resume: Before he took on his new role, he was the director of Dis

June 13, 2012

4 Min Read
Meet Sammy Kinlaw, Lenovo's Director of Channel Sales

By Lenovo Guest Blog 2


Sammy Kinlaw is the perfect choice as Lenovo’s director of Channel Sales. In addition to having a ton of energy, Sammy also carries an impressive resume: Before he took on his new role, he was the director of Distribution Sales at Lenovo, and prior to that, he worked in a variety of leadership positions at both IBM and Lenovo. He brings a wealth of experience to his new position within the organization.

When he accepted his new role, Sammy made it known he had a wonderful feeling of coming home, since this is where he started his career. “This is the place where I began the lasting relationships with partners that I maintain today. I am looking forward to reconnecting with these partners and looking forward to building relationships with those new to Lenovo,” he said. “Accelerate 2012 in Las Vegas brought everything to the surface, creating even more excitement.  I couldn’t wait to get started!!”

Moving forward, Sammy is placing real true focus on creating plans regarding how he wants to continue to build Lenovo’s relationship with partners.

“Partners are No. 1 with Lenovo. We do over 80 percent of our business through the channel,” he said. “Lenovo also holds [the] No. 2 [position] globally in market share, and we are currently focusing our efforts on bridging the gap to becoming No. 1. To that end, Lenovo’s relationship with partners must continue to grow even stronger.”

We recently sat down with Sammy to hear about his plans for this year and beyond. Here is what he has to say:

Q: What is your new role?

A: I am director of Channel Sales. Given my background, I am particularly focused on creating a synergistic relationship with our partners — one that is mutually beneficial to all, including distribution.

Q: What is your vision for 2012?

A: We always welcome new partners to the family. However, our priority for 2012 will not focus solely on partner acquisition. We want to really work on expanding our relationship and commitment with our existing partners ensuring comfortable selling of Lenovo products on a consistent basis.

Q: Lenovo announced a new SMB Partner Advantage Program. How does it work?

A: The program offers direct cash rewards to sales reps who sell Lenovo products for our resellers, while not taking any money from the owners. Sales reps are also eligible to receive additional rewards under this program.

It is not a program where partners accrue points that are redeemed for gadgets and prizes — it pays out actual cash. You register, you sell and you receive money. This is a good example of how we are prioritizing relationships with existing partners – incentivizing them to sell more Lenovo products.

Q: You recently introduced a line of servers at Accelerate. What does Lenovo’s emphasis on servers mean for partners?

A: We are entering the market carefully, and asking for consideration and  feedback from our business partners who have experience selling servers. We want to work with our customers to determine how best to mutually win in the server space.

Our new entry-level servers, the ThinkServer RD530 and RD630, enable SMB partners to offer an end-to-end Lenovo solution to its customers, regardless of size.

Lenovo is offering higher margins to partners who sell our servers – we understand that partners who sell servers have the trust of their customers and therefore we are able to pay higher margins.

Q: What new products (outside of servers) do you think partners will be most interested in selling this year?

A: There was a lot of excitement about our “Tiny” desktop at Accelerate — The ThinkCentre M92p, which measures just the width of a golf ball, allowing it to fit in practically any space while maintaining first-class productivity. Our partners also got a preview of our upcoming ThinkPad X1 Carbon – An Ultrabook optimized and ruggedized for business users.

Q: What is the one thing your partners should know about you/Lenovo that they may not know today?

A: I have spent 19 years in sales for IBM and Lenovo. The last nine years have been spent in leadership roles running our reseller group, our retail sales team and our distribution community. I understand the challenges and opportunities that lie with our reseller community. Lenovo is a channel-led company.

My goals for the year revolve around the efforts and tracks that we have already laid for our partners.  I want to continue to drive ease of business processes, continue to introduce lucrative programs for our partners, and foster an environment that promotes open and candid conversations.

Monthly guest blogs such as this are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of Lenovo’s guest blogs here.


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