Small to medium-sized dealers have dismissed high-profile vendorppreciation of the market. accreditation schemes as inconsequential to their role within the sector.
Speaking to PC Dealer at Comdef '99 last week, resellers insisted that the accreditation programmes being pushed by most indirect vendors were no substitute for the local relationships forged between dealers and their customers. These partnerships were formed regardless of vendors' marketing campaigns, they argued.
One reseller claimed: 'Branding by Microsoft is almost irrelevant.' Another commented: 'It's very rare that a customer asks for our accreditation when ordering a Hewlett Packard laser printer.'
The resellers' comments fly in the face of high-profile initiatives by vendors that want a piece of the SME pie, exposing their lack of grasp on how the market works.
Bill Hill, general manager for SMEs at HP, conceded there was an 'element of truth' in the claims. But he insisted that the schemes enable vendors to help users locate appropriate dealers.
Paul Lees, managing director of MPS, said manufacturers were generally ignorant of product life cycles within the sector and tried to impose 'vendor churn rate' that was more appropriate to the corporate market. 'We find that the life cycle of SME customers is much more erratic.
But because vendors don't deal with them, they don't realise this.'
He added that some vendors, including Microsoft, do not promote their accreditation schemes because they do not want to suggest to users that their products are so complex as to require the attention of such schemes.
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