CEO Mark Hurd and Co. continue to make the right channel moves at Hewlett-Packard Co.. The computing giant has carved out distribution revenue share growth by U.S. dollar volume in desktop computers yet againHP gained a healthy 7.1 percent in channel sales share year-on-year.
The numbers tell a larger story. When it comes to building its channel in desktop sales, HP has been steadily gaining ground over rivals for some time. Once again, HP's channel gains were reflected by Lenovo's losses. The fourth-largest PC maker in the world continues to outpace No. 2 Dell and No. 3 Acer, at least in terms of channel desktop sales. But Lenovo seems to be moving in the direction (pun intended) of those notably channel-unfriendly companies, having ceded 8.0 percent channel share year-on-year over the second half of 2007, following a similar 8.7 percent drop off in the first half.
As for HP, partners like Rick Chernick of Camera Connecting Point think they know the secret to the vendor's astounding channel success. "HP is getting their people out in front of customers [on partner visits]. No one else is doing that. Mark Hurd wants to be No. 1 in the U.S. and he wants HP partners to help him get there," said Chernick, CEO of the Green Bay, Wis.-based HP solution provider.
For example, Neal Durnil, senior manager of business development at Lexmark said, Lexmark has traditionally been strong in certain vertical markets because it customizes its product from start to finish. If a VAR has a customer that needs a specific solution, Lexmark will work with the reseller to try to meet those specific needs.
"That's a core strength of ours, solving multiple business challenges with one product. Our ability to print on different types of media is something we do that others do not [for example, on vinyl labels]," said Durnil. "We have a group of people who live, breathe, eat and sleep a vertical: manufacturing, banking, etc. So, we're able to offer customers a unique solution vs. taking a product and make it fit the need. We take a solution-based approach rather than product-based approach."
Indeed, for VARs in this space, looking beyond selling hardware is paramount to success, vendors note. "Solution providers have been successful in replacing black-and-white printers with color printers," said Gary Gillam, vice president, Xerox North American channel sales. "If they don't capture ink sales, they're only capturing 20 percent of the potential sale. Ink, paper, service and networking services are logical add-ons for color laser printer resellers. They have a huge opportunity to capture the post sale."