Fresh from assuming ownership of IBM's x86 server business, Lenovo is launching an assault on the UK mid-market spearheaded by a new end-user sales team.
The new team encompasses about 15 telesales and external sales heads and will focus on generating business for partners among mid-market firms with 249 to 999 seats.
Part of the strategy is about making the newly acquired x86 business more competitive and efficient, explained Leigh Saunders, head of mid-market for UK and Ireland at Lenovo.
"When we look at the UK and Irish market, we see the mid-market as the fastest-growing sector. It's a natural progression for us, considering we have such a strong portfolio in the enterprise space and can pull that message into the mid-market," he said.
"[In the 249 to 999 space] we have traditionally relied solely on the channel and have not had end-user sales in that area. But we wanted to create a seamless channel and end-user sales function which attacks that area."
Lenovo has begun shipping some of its newly acquired System x kit by sea to make them more competitive, but Saunders said the strategy is also to "leverage Lenovo's operational excellence" to increase the efficiency of service.
"From a cost point of view, we can pass that on to make us more competitive but from a speed of execution point of view, one of the big things we are doing is evolving the System x portfolio to hold stock with our authorised distributors. Having a TopSeller range [for System x] will also allow us to achieve speedy product delivery and allow us to compete with competitors on a level playing field, particularly on the mid-market and SMB side."
Lenovo is aiming to deepen its penetration of its incumbent partners but also recruit new ones, Saunders said. He stressed a tweak to the partner programme in April allows Lenovo to "fast-track" new partners over six months, rather than their having to toil for 12 to 18 months before gaining access to the scheme.
"From a channel point of view, it's all about breadth and depth," Saunders (pictured) said. "To get deeper into our incumbent base we need to show we can challenge across the SMB market from 0 to 999 seats. We want to be challenging to get 20 points within SMB as a whole, and clearly mid-market is going to play a big part in that."
Kieran O'Connor, sales director at Lenovo partner Total Computer Networks, said of Lenovo's midmarket push: "This is the first intiative I've seen in a long time that is as focused and targeted. They want to align a member of their team with a member of mine and have have put a lot of effort on it."
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