Clearing The Hurd-les At HP

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Mark Hurd wants to invest in the channel more of Hewlett-Packard's most expensive sales and marketing asset: himself.

Just last month in an exclusive interview with Everything Channel inside HP's Palo Alto, Calif., corporate boardroom, Hurd told me HP currently has less than 60 percent sales coverage in the global IT market. In order to grab a greater share of that market, which he expects to hit $1.2 trillion next year, Hurd has to forge tighter relationships with solution providers, especially in the United States. "I can't hire enough humans. The only way I can get there is that I have to have friends of HP," he said.

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No one was friendlier at HP's Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas than Hurd. He met publicly with solution providers. He met privately with solution providers. He showed up at Caesars Palace Monday for his keynote and stayed until singer Sheryl Crow had rocked the crowd Wednesday night.

And Mark Hurd wasn't just flying the HP flag with his presence at APC. In solution provider meetings he challenged channel executives to tell him what HP is doing right and what it needs to do better. He promised to send e-mails or make phone calls to solution providers' customers if they needed help in closing a deal, according to solution providers that met with Hurd.

Hurd also made clear to me that meeting and speaking with partners is part of his everyday job. "Every trip I go on, I try to have a partner meeting. Generally, I meet with two or three in every city I go to," he said.

Stop for a minute and think about what that means. The chairman and CEO of the world's largest IT company vowed to get down in the trenches and help regional HP solution providers win deals.

Solution providers at APC were ecstatic. Suddenly, any beefs they had with the vendor seemed insignificant compared with the fact that Mark Hurd was willing to fight with them to win HP business. As Rick Chernick, president of Camera Corner Connecting Point, an HP solution provider in Green Bay, Wis., said, "Mark Hurd gets it. You have to think small to get big."

Take note, Sam Palmisano and Michael Dell. In this pitched battle for the hearts and minds of the U.S. solution provider, Mark Hurd just unleashed the ultimate weapon. If you want to keep pace, get out of the boardroom and onto the street.

Are you inspired by HP's channel resolve?
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