Xerox is honing its channel strategy to reach small and medium-size businesses.
The document-services company made major inroads with partners in 2017, hiring a longtime Brocade and Tech Data channel sales leader to head its global channel strategy. Xerox also bolstered its channel program in December with the addition of two new partners. The company says it sees an increasing demand for managed print services.
We spoke to Darren Cassidy, president of the U.S. Channels unit for Xerox, about what his company hopes to accomplish in 2018.
We have edited the transcript for clarity.
Channel Partners: What is Xerox’s channel strategy and how has its business model changed over the last year?
Darren Cassidy: The small-and-medium-size business (SMB) market is highly lucrative and rapidly growing. With 75 percent of office technology sales to SMBs made through indirect channels, Xerox is thoughtfully and aggressively expanding its partner program — particularly in recruiting multi-brand dealers. At the same time, we’re transforming the way we work with our mono-brand channel, enabling Xerox agents to be more agile and compete better — all backed by our marquee Xerox brand, and sales and service expertise.
In 2017, we signed several dozen high-potential channel partners around the globe. We also began moving tens of thousands of direct accounts to our partners to help Xerox capture a larger share of the SMB market.
CP: What are your predictions for the channel in 2018?
DC: We believe 2018 will be filled with opportunities at SMBs for channel partners who focus on print, and we’re predicting (1) broader demand for managed print services (MPS) among SMBs, (2) rapid advances in apps-based solutions, and (3) continued growth in production color printing.
First, MPS will be a great opportunity in 2018 for dealers who put a strategic focus on targeting the underpenetrated SMB market. With MPS, dealers capitalize on a growth opportunity they know – print – while building a point of differentiation from their competitors, more touch points within their clients’ businesses to strengthen relationships and customer value by better managing print assets. Partners not only grow – many report their year-over-year growth is largely driven by providing MPS solutions to SMBs – but also protect their customer base.
A second strong opportunity in 2018 is in meeting client needs for more device integration to streamline workflows unique to their businesses. More and more channel partners will meet this need by building applications for their customer’s multifunction printers, an emerging trend that will grow exponentially in the coming year.
Finally, we see production color printing as an area of continued growth. Color page volumes continue to grow as offset page migration to digital accelerates, particularly for short runs. Specialized media applications can add true differentiation and deliver high margins.
CP: What major trends impacting your industry did we see in 2017?
DC: Technology adoption has enabled completely new ways to interface with customers, mostly online or mobile. Increasingly, purchasing decisions are practically made before …