Lenovo: We’re Gunning for the SMB Space
Lenovo believes its channel partners have been and will continue to be the key to its success as it seeks to overtake the top spot in the PC space and make a name for itself in the server/workstation market — that’s the message Lenovo hammered home during its Accelerate 2012 partner event in Las Vegas.
The SMB space will play a major role in Lenovo’s push to the top, said Chris Frey, channel chief and vice president, North American Commercial Channel Sales, and VARs that play in that space are in a prime position.
“We recognize the SMB space is pretty much an untapped opportunity,” he said during his keynote speech during day two of the event.
To support its partners working the SMB space, Lenovo introduced the SMB Partner Advantage program, which offers incentives for resellers that focus on SMBs as well as 60 days interest-free inventory financing financed by Lenovo from its distribution partners.
Lenovo also took the wraps off a new cash bonus program aptly named the Lenovo Spiff Program, which rewards partner sales reps for every qualified TopSeller Lenovo system or service sold, up to $10,000 per quarter. That money is in addition to the commission the business receives, providing an incentive for the sales rep to offer up Lenovo hardware to its customers.
“Our investment in the channel will grow as a percentage of our revenue and incremental growth in investment will go to SMB accounts that aren’t already being served,” said Jay Parker, vice president, North America Consumer/SMB. “Our channel partners need to be incented to sell products on behalf of Lenovo.”
Lenovo is also hyperfocusing on two verticals it believes are ripe with opportunity: education (especially the K-12 space) and government, both federal and state/local.
“In the public sector by 2015 we see a projected revenue growth of $197 million in higher education and $543 million in K-12, $247 million in state/local government and $195 million in federal government,” said Tom Looney, vice president, Relationship, Lenovo Enterprise/Public Sector/Federal. “There is no way we are going to get to these targets without [the channel’s] buy-in and support.”
Lenovo had great success finding its target last year when it led the charge to own the desktop space — in the 12 months following its 2011 partner event, Lenovo’s partners helped it build its desktop business 50 percent. This year, as it pushes servers and workstations, the company hopes its partners embrace the new technologies with the same level of enthusiasm.