Reseller's Report Card: Stick to your niche

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This article appeared in the November 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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Reseller's Report Card: Stick to your niche
Jason Ganis

When it started in the Sydney CBD 13 years ago, SmartPrint quickly found a niche managing the printer fleets of Australian corporate clients. Now based in Queensland, the group has expanded its managed print services (MPS) to clients in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Its cost per print service includes all service, maintenance and consumables.

SmartPrint is an agent for many of the big names in printing including Ricoh, Xerox and Canon. It partners with HP, Konica Minolta and Lexmark and manages up to a billion prints a year. This broad spread of vendors guarantees a vendor-neutral approach to best serve customers, according to SmartPrint director Jason Ganis.

It also means SmartPrint is privy to a wide range of dealer partner programs. Ganis says the managed print services provider gained traction early on by partnering with original equipment makers (OEMs) and vendors.

“Ten years on, and we are still partnering, however, heavily focused on IT partners and OEMs as our managed print services are great add-ons for their clientele,” Ganis says. “I haven’t measured it recently, however, last time it attributed to just shy of 40 percent of our business.”

SmartPrint lists Dell as one of its main vendors and Ingram Micro as a key distributor.

Few would be surprised at the idea of a reseller wanting to avoid channel conflict with its vendors. What’s impressive about Ganis is that he takes a proactive approach and creates clear-cut boundaries between his printing services and the broader IT solutions offered by the company’s partners.  

He tells CRN that SmartPrint “strictly focuses on managed print services only, so as not to compete with our partners and they [have] confidence in knowing that any opportunities that arise are referred back to them.”

Ganis doesn’t want to jeopardise hard-earned trust. “As our vendors are the end-users’ trusted advisers, you could only imagine the due diligence they did on SmartPrint to establish the partnership. However, once we are introduced to the client to present our services, it is a very warm meeting and probability of success is higher than normal.”

SmartPrint provides an online quoting tool “to allow our vendors to do their own quotes and badged proposal direct to their clients”. 

“We have found that this is more of a gateway to an introduction rather than full proposal. Print is generally not the vendors’ core business and is the least of their concern, so they still need to call a SmartPrint rep to assist.”

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