Toshiba’s imaging division is looking to recruit IT resellers for the first time as it launches an assault on the UK copier market.
The vendor is planning to move up from seventh to fifth position in the copier market within the next three to five years.
To date, Toshiba Tec UK Imaging Systems’ route to market in the UK has been through a pipeline of 50 copier dealers. The vendor is now looking for an extra 20 to 30 partners, the large majority of which it wants to come from the IT channel.
Jason Parker, indirect sales director of Toshiba’s Imaging Systems business, told CRN: “Historically, the copier was a simple sell, but now copiers can scan, print, fax and sit on a network so it has been dragged into the world of IT. We’ve had to change our skillsets internally and train up our copier dealers so they can install a copier onto a network.
“However, I’m now looking to work with different types of partners – ideally IT and telecoms VARs and integrators. I don’t want resellers who will just sell us as an add-on I want people who will commit to Toshiba. The benefit to resellers is that unlike our competitors we are not over sold and we also don’t go through distributors – we work directly with all our partners.”
Geoff Slaughter, director, indirect channel at rival vendor Canon, said: “Many IT VARs see a multi-functional device as a bolt-on at the end of a deal whereas we feel it should be an integral part of a proposition, so our strategy has been to train our copier dealers’ to provide them with the necessary IT skills.”
Current Analysis’ Philip Grote, said: “VARs need a different approach from traditional copier dealers. Toshiba will find it difficult if it offers resellers and copier dealers the same model.
“Toshiba has the experience of selling cost-per-click models so it should be able to transfer this over to IT VARs. It should be successful because resellers will enjoy the recurring revenue of a cost-per-click model.”
VARs will be encouraged to become part of Toshiba’s ePartner channel programme where they will receive preferential rates and extra technical support. However, resellers do not have to join the scheme to sell Toshiba's products, added Parker.
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