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Until Hunter’s appointment, no one had been responsible for making sure these applications functioned properly, said DiFranco.
“The biggest challenge we’ve always had was following the ‘bouncing ball’ of all the different programs, and they’ve cleaned that up,” said Bob Venero, president and CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based HP partner. “We used to have multiple people figuring out how to work the deals in the different programs, but we’ve now cut that to one person.”
HP is also training inside sales to support channel partners and help them grasp the intricacies of PartnerOne, and HP’s field salespeople are also working with channel partners to meet with customers and help close deals. “We’re working on servicing channel partners in a more holistic way. So we’ve got rid of all the internal barriers and there’s no reason why an internal business unit won’t be equally credited for selling through a channel partner,” DiFranco said.
DiFranco said HP has been making progress in getting previously direct-sales-oriented business units working closely with the channel. One example is SMB Exchange, which HP introduced last January in a bid to win SMB market share from Dell and other competitors. “SMB Exchange salespeople are now working with partners and giving sales credit when selling through VARs, and they’ll be compensated similar to channel salespeople,” DiFranco said.
The small- and medium-business space—where HP accounts for less than 20 percent of the $57 billion total addressable market in the U.S.—is one area where DiFranco believes HP can do a better job of catering to partners’ needs. “We haven’t been putting forth the right channel program,” he said. “But we’re now servicing the reseller that specializes in that type of work and we’re going to create a business model and tools to make it easier for them to service customers.”
SMB Central, a portal launched in early March, gives channel partners access to one-on-one sales support, market development funds and leads from HP, among other benefits. SMB Central is the beginning of a number of coming SMB initiatives from HP, according to DiFranco. NEXT: Cloud, Mobility In the Spotlight