CCCP's Chernick credited HP's Whitman with restoring pride in the HP brand that was tarnished by missteps including a move two years ago to consider selling the PC business. "HP has its mojo back," he said. "The HP logo means something again. I can put my HP shirt on again and wear it with pride at the YMCA. Two years ago, I wasn't so sure about HP. They are definitely committed to the PPS [Printing and Personal Systems area]. The products they are going to come out with are extraordinarily cool, and they are going to be easy to sell. The customers are going to love them. I am pretty fired up."
One of the big takeaways from Whitman's address to partners: Sell the full HP portfolio to customers and knock on more customer doors. "Meg wants more at bats from partners so we can win, hit more balls out of the park," said Chernick. "What she has learned about this industry in the last two years blows me away.”
Arlin Sorensen, the head of the HP SMB Council and the founder and CEO of HTG peer groups, a consortium of 300 SMB partners, said he came out of the three-day meeting convinced HP is poised for a resurgence in the SMB market.
"I left home to attend the meeting wondering what I was going to find," he said. "I came home with a renewed focus on partnering with HP and an understanding of what HP is doing in the SMB channel with partners. They are putting their money where their mouth is with specific plans to help us win. By the end of the three days, every person on the council had a renewed vigor and understanding of where HP is going in the SMB market. It was refreshing to have an executive team all on the same page."
Sorensen said he is especially heartened with the new HP PartnerOne program that allows partners to earn rebates from dollar one. "That's a big deal for smaller partners," he said. "HP used to have gates you had to hit before you got some of the payments. HP is driving more and more of the business to the channel."
Sorensen said he was particularly impressed by Whitman's SMB channel prowess. "That was my first exposure to her," he said. "She won me over big time. She was very transparent with regard to the challenges but very clear on HP's direction."
The challenge for HP will be driving the stepped-up channel commitment from the top of the executive ranks to the sales trenches and throughout HP's 300,000-plus employees, said Sorensen. "HP needs to drive that into the field so that everybody is marching to the same set of music," he said. "That is going to spell good things for partners."
Dunsire said he sees the executive commitment and consistent message translating into tighter engagement between HP partners and field sales reps. "When you have that executive sponsorship like we do, it helps send a message to the teams in the field that the channel is an important piece of our business and one of our core strategies," he said. "We have really stepped up our field engagement. It's the boots on the ground that bring value to our partners."
PUBLISHED NOV. 1, 2013