LAN Systems is tweaking its business model in response to aggressive SMB targets set by Cisco. The networking giant has told local distributors it wants to double sales in the sub-250 seats market during the current financial year.
Recently appointed Cisco business manager at LAN Systems, Ralph Marshall, predicted up to 70 per cent of that growth would come from its existing partners. The distributor is adding two business development managers and will launch a telesales division to target the many resellers on its books that don't transact regularly. New resellers are also on the agenda, particularly those with a PBX background.
"New resellers have a longer journey to go on but they are part of our plan," Marshall said. "They will have perceptions about the Cisco brand only being for big companies so the message needs to go back a step. "The Cisco SMB target is aggressive but SMB represents more than 40 per cent of its sales in this country and is the fastest growing segment."
Marshall has accrued plenty of SMB experience during stints with IBM and Telstra. Like many in the vendor community, he said the biggest challenge for LAN Systems would be addressing the market below 75 seats.
"Companies with 75-250 seats essentially behave like a small enterprise and we have traditionally been very strong in that space," he said. "SMB is relatively new for us but Cisco, like all vendors now, is pushing us into that space with incentives. We will improve our customer service model and question resellers a bit more to identify opportunities."
Marshall plans to offer drop-ship and staging capabilities as an optional service for resellers that don't want to carry out installations.
He will also look to drive LAN Systems' growth through improved cross-selling of Cisco affinity vendors such as Emerson Networks, IBM Tivoli, GN Netcomm and Polycom.
"We have had particularly strong growth from Emerson on the power side, which is doubling for us year-on-year," Marshall said.
"It's a mainstream product now in switching and routing, especially with VoIP requirements for Quality of Service and Power over Ethernet."