Our conversation with Ricoh’s senior vice president of marketing underscores Ricoh’s commitment to the dealer channel.
We took advantage of our time at Ricoh ConvergX to interview Glenn Laverty, senior vice president, marketing, shared services, Ricoh Americas and president and CEO, Ricoh Canada, Inc. The day before during the general assembly he presented dealers with a roadmap detailing how they can continue to be successful and grow in a changing industry with Ricoh as a partner.
Laverty began his general assembly presentation by asking a succinct and important question. “Can dealers stay relevant?” Allow me to report how he responded to this rhetorical question.
Noting Ricoh dealers have many tools in their go-to-market bag, he emphasized the importance of focusing on security. According to IDC, Ricoh has the best security ratings in the industry, and dealers must “take advantage of that,” he said. Next, he suggested dealers’ focus on providing workflow solutions for customers, something he feels Ricoh does best.
Most of those solutions are aimed at the SMB and Ricoh has chosen dealers as the channel of choice to target the SMB space. It is a very good position to be in as 90% of all companies are considered SMBs.
Laverty pointed out that Ricoh took the dealers’ largest competitor in the SMB space out of the equation when it transferred most of its SMB MIF to dealers last year. He then added Ricoh was on a mission to provide dealers with dedication, support, and training as well as production print technology to help them grow their businesses and be more profitable.
Each of those elements represents a serious and important commitment. The 200 dealers and many of their employees (individual dealers brought as many as 15 people to the event) attending ConvergX is an indication of how important Ricoh’s dealers considered this event was to their businesses.
We kicked off our interview by asking Laverty how he hoped dealers would benefit by participating in this year’s event. He identified the following:
- The on-going clear and progressive dialog Ricoh has initiated with the channel.
- The generation of fresh ideas focused on innovation and differentiation from competitors.
- Gaining a better understanding and therefore the acceptance of the sale of the MIF that in turn allows Ricoh the opportunity to build a platform to go forward.
- Move on from the emotional uproar over the sale of the MIF and give Ricoh an opportunity to build a platform to go forward.
Laverty is a quiet advocate in that he speaks softly but makes a lot of sense when responding to pointed questions. He has a vision for the company and its dealers that was very much on display throughout ConvergX. When asked what he wanted dealers to take home from the meeting, he responded, “I [am] looking for our dealers to be in on this journey [with Ricoh],” he stated emphatically. “We need to prove every day through our support efforts and help the dealer recognize change and adapt.”
Laverty understands the scope of this serious challenge that Ricoh is facing after transferring the SMB MIF from direct organization to the dealer channel, and informing dealers, this is now your turf and we are hoping you will expand your efforts to meet our goal of increasing our channel partners’ contribution to our revenue by 25%.
“If the dealers [buy into] Ricoh’s message, we believe we are proving every day we will catch fire,” stated Laverty. “The message is quite clear, we have given the dealers an unfettered market with the tools to take advantage of a chaotic market.”
Laverty acknowledged that the onus is on Ricoh to ensure success in that chaotic market. “We need to speed up our execution and that is our biggest challenge in our game plan,” he added. “[We are] 100% confident our approach will win out.”
From there we shifted our discussion to Ricoh’s product line, specifically production print. Laverty referenced a new product that will be unveiled at SGIA on October 18th in Las Vegas. Here was the most telling part of the interview for this writer. Ricoh understands that support is critical to a dealer’s success, but those efforts must follow the continuing development of a highly competitive product line.
“We are expanding the world of print,” emphasized Laverty about the company’s production print product pipeline.
We deliberately chose to interview Laverty because he is the person at Ricoh most responsible for marketing. Since getting to know him a few years ago, there is no question, at least in our minds, that Ricoh has the right person in that critical position. We say that because he is credible and focused, and not prone to hyperbole.
Access Related Content