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Hewlett-Packard is in the process of rolling out revised rules of engagement for its salespeople that spell out what behavior is acceptable -- and what's not -- when it comes to working with channel partners.
The revised rules, to be formally announced next month at HP's Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, are part of HP's broader campaign to rebuild trust in the channel. They're necessary because some HP salespeople, perhaps emboldened by the leadership vacuum that comes from having three different CEOs in three years, have been working around partners in deals -- or cutting them out entirely by taking deals direct.
Under the revised rules, "HP will not move a customer from an indirect sales model to a direct model on specific registered opportunities without express engagement with the channel partner, and it must be based on customer choice only," an HP spokesperson told CRN in an email Tuesday.
One interesting aspect of the revised rules is that partners that run into channel conflict will be able to escalate issues to HP executives, which hasn't been part of HP's previous policy. Dean Cappellazzo, CEO of Bedrock Technology Partners, a San Mateo, Calif.-based HP partner, says this is an important point that shows the level of HP's commitment to the channel cause.
"Now HP's executive management is going to be seriously involved in driving sales and profitability to partners," Cappellazzo told CRN.
HP CEO Meg Whitman, who is now intimately aware of the problems channel conflict can cause, has made it a priority to reign in aggressive salespeople. What happens if they don't follow the rules?
"They won't be working here anymore," Whitman told CRN in an interview earlier this month. "We don't have a lot of tolerance for this. If you are scooping a partner deal that you have no business having your fingers in, at all, then we will take care of that. It's not appropriate."