Print.IT Reseller - issue 110

01732 759725 ONE-TO-ONE 46 Tony Lomax, EMEA Product Marketing Manager, at Lexmark spoke to Michelle Ryder about the changes both in terms of technology and customer needs, he’s witnessed over the past ten years Step back in time His first job was as a copier salesperson, based in Clifton in Bristol. “I actually worked round the corner from where my son is about to go to university! My days were spent canvassing, i.e., knocking on estate agents' and solicitors' doors, etc., on any given high street in the southwest, gathering compliment slips from business parks,” he said, adding that it wasn't the fun he was promised. “It was toughening, and I still carry the scar tissue.” Lomax recalls that back then, there were no laptops or CRMs, just a desk phone, a file with customers to call and anything gained from canvassing. “One of the advantages of working in the industry then was the time and investment given to comprehensive sales training. I've carried that with me throughout my career, even when transitioning from a sales role to a product marketing role in 2003 with Lexmark,” he noted. Digital transformation Ten years ago, Lexmark UK moved from what can only be described as a (fondly remembered) stately home in Marlow to a modern office building in Maidenhead. “This placed us in a better environment to help our customers digitally transform – connecting core and point-of-need processes with hard copy workflow – and learning how to enable our partners to have the same engagement with their customers,” Lomax explained. “As a result, we were able to provide more focus on having the right partners with the appropriate capabilities and helping those partners who wanted to be in this position through education and support.” Back then, as-a-service meant print services, which provided a hardware platform to build workflow solutions. Lexmark devices, beyond a decade ago, have had the capability to report back to a central global system and likewise have been able to be remotely deployed Lomax had a technical role in the army and had reached a career point where he had enough experience to leave with and take elsewhere or stay in for the entire term. So, in 1989, he changed tack and entered the print sector. “I had a relative who worked for (Rank) Xerox who persuaded me to join them as a salesperson rather than an engineer – more money and more fun, he said! What appealed to me was the opportunity to be rewarded for hard work. Aside from that, and looking back, I genuinely enjoyed meeting and building relationships with new customers,” he explained. and configured, which, Lomax says took Lexmark and its partners beyond a basic print service. He continued: “What I’m proud of, as we look more towards today’s goto-market, is the journey we’ve been on with our partners in transforming the engagement they have with their customers through superlative account management, education and awareness programmes, including the Lexmark Industry Advantage (LIA) programme where, not only have we been able to give partners access to our historical and proven industry approach to successfully explore new customer relationships and expand existing ones, but also to provide customer insights into cloud, device IoT, sustainability, security and, from my perspective, a robust way to reach as many partners as possible when communicating product transitions.” Changing customer needs Lomax argues that looking at the LIA offering, and the examples of topics covered, the days of dealing with one or two officers in a business are pretty much over. “An account manager needs to be conversant in these topics but only enough to demonstrate their offering can meet, or even exceed, these demands, and then route an SME through to the right contact – and broaden the reach and reputation of their business within the customer’s environment, especially if it’s expressed vertically,” he said. Looking ahead to the future, Lomax says that the expansion of and access to cloud services is exciting. “And so it should be, but, for me, the integration of AI into any such offering is the next phase. Adding AI to data extraction to route this data to where it needs to be rather than via scripting, for example, and how this can be added or contracted as a service in itself, is the next big challenge,” he concluded. Tony Lomax