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“We Target to Reach Out to 30,000 Mid-Market Customers”

While elaborating on Lenovo’s success in the SMB market, Pankaj Harjai, Director, SMB, Lenovo, spoke about the company’s GTM and focused customers for 2018

While most of the PC vendors launched GST-ready PCs with bundled offers of accounting software targeted at SMBs, how has been the response for Lenovo?

Pankaj Harjai
Pankaj Harjai, Director, SMB, Lenovo

The response has been tremendous. As per various market estimates, there are over 10 million SMBs in India and currently less than 40,000 mid-market customers use a PC. With GST, we estimate at least 1 million new users will adopt PCs, which is definitely a big opportunity for us.

To leverage on this opportunity we introduced entry-level desktops (V320) specifically for SMBs, which many call as GST desktops. In the bundled package, we are offering free usage of GST accounting software for first 6 months.

We have done great numbers on these desktops. In fact, last quarter has been the best one for Lenovo. If you look at only small businesses, we were #1 in the last quarter. We were also surprised by achieving these numbers.

What were the reasons behind this success?

A dedicated and focused internal team and commercial channel helped us to achieve the position.

If we look 2-3 years back, the commercial channel lacked proper structure, and we had just 60-70 focused commercial partners. To expand and strengthen our commercial partner base, we covered various geographies and regions where we were not so strong. In those locations, partners were not quite aware of Lenovo products as we had limited presence there and our partner programs might not have been attractive enough. Over the last two years, while we built a robust commercial team, we grew our commercial channel base to over 1000 partners, of which 200 are active partners.

In addition, we enabled ease-of-business for partners through our recent Lenovo partner portal with single sign-on to track their performance, claims, trainings, certifications and delivery schedules. Besides, we introduced a common channel program for commercial and data center group. We have also introduced partner tiers on the basis of share of wallet and trained manpower, which offers them higher incentives. In fact, the partners who add more value are getting paid better.

What is your GTM for 2018? Have you identified any focused customer accounts?

Two years back we didn’t have dedicated approach on the customer side, as the priority was to get the channel piece right. As today we have over 200 dedicated partners with us, our next step will be to reach out to 30,000 mid-market customers with 250-1000 employees. Within the 500-1000 employees band we estimate 8000-10,000 customers and around 20,000 customers in the 250-500 employees band.

In addition, we have identified five top verticals, which will cover almost 80 percent of this market: IT/ITeS, manufacturing, media, education and healthcare/hospitality.

Recently, Lenovo separated its data center business into DCG. How is it creating a value-add and empowering your SMB business?

With the formation of DCG, we want to have a dedicated force to drive our data center business. Today, our outreach to number of customers is pretty high and SMB business is proving as an entry point for the partners to enter the DCG business. It is helping them to enter new customers. And, as we have separate teams to take care of these businesses and they leverage on each other, hence, we are able to provide lot of entry points to partners.

On the other hand, we have kept channel program and the structure of the two businesses common so as to maintain enough synergy among the internal teams and channels. In fact, many of the channel partners are common, who do server as well as PC business. So, we have kept it easier for the partners to do business with Lenovo.

What is your call to action in 2018 for the partners?

My message to the partners is that there is no dearth of opportunities in the market. And, Lenovo is probably the only organization with such a vast product portfolio ranging from smartphones and tablets to PCs and servers.

We are few of the vendors which offer the entire basket of products and solutions for customers. That’s something partners are identifying now and they feel that single vendor providing the entire portfolio makes lot of sense for them.

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