Sony is looking to sign 100 resellers as part of a push into the SME market with its IT and audiovisual (AV) products.
The company is looking to use regional channel partners to sell a broad range of Sony kit, including notebooks, projectors, flat-screen displays, PDAs and digital cameras, into companies with between 20 and 200 employees.
Sony will push 80 per cent of revenues through VARs, with a particular focus on vertical sectors including media, education, banking, healthcare and retail.
This is expected to be a £200m opportunity in the UK over the next year, according to Paul McKeever, channel marketing director at Sony.
"We see the SME market as a huge opportunity. Historically we've been a bit reactive. This is the first time we will be targeting firms of this size proactively," he said. "Customers have a lot of allegiance to the brand. This could lead into a much wider business domain."
VARs will have access to a dedicated account manager and tools to help them market the Sony products.
"The benefit of bringing AV and IT together is that there are some areas where margins are quite chunky," explained McKeever.
"So where some resellers are making three per cent on laptops, if they can sell video conferencing systems too with a 25 per cent margin, that's potentially far more interesting in the long term."
Chris Deeley, managing director of reseller Bullet Point Presentations, said that an accreditation programme that differentiated between "box shifters" and partners that added value for customers would be welcome. "There's room to work on that going forward," he said.
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