Resellers looks set to benefit from Lexmark's new training course which comprises of a series of seminars delivered via the Internet and a phone conference.
Lexmark has launched the Printer and Technology University, a training series for its channel that combines hands on courses with "WEBinars". The WEBinars are made up of charts and demonstrations that are delivered live via the Internet or a telephone line. Like regular university programs, Lexmark's course is organised into various faculties, such as product features, sales, technical training, certification and personal and sales skills.
Resellers who complete the various modules earn the title of Certified Reseller and receive marketing support, referrals, leads and sales incentives.
Lexmark began looking at its training program when it restructured its distribution channel last year," explained Tim Champion, marketing manager for Lexmark's printing solutions and services division.
Thirteen resellers became certified dealers under this restructured training model, prompting the company to look at expanding the training programs of its entire channel.
The initial reaction to the new training programs has been positive, with more than 90 people taking part since the launch last week.
"Our office is a branch office and I like to attend product training, but if I have to go out to the manufacturer's office, it wipes out half the day," said Philip Barbear from Famill IT in Melbourne. Barbear recently sat in on his first online training session.
"I can do it all from my own office - I get half an hour's work done before I log on, then I do three half-hour sessions. By 10.30am, I'm all done. It saves me at least two hours and means I can leave the mobile phone on and still take calls from customers."
Barbear also believes the training will work well in team environments, where it is often hard to get a large group together in one place for training.
Lexmark also hopes the WEBinars will help break down the "us and them" attitude that can develop within the channel.
"It puts our partners on an equal footing," Champion said. "In one classroom we had our entire Victorian sales branch, four resellers and two distributors."
But Barbear believes the real application for the WEBinars will be in educating end users.