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HP To Push Thousands Of Named Accounts To Channel

Hewlett-Packard said it plans to move thousands of named direct accounts to the channel as part of a new sales engagement strategy set to go into effect Nov. 1.

Under the revamped channel sales plan, HP said that the approximately 50 enterprise solution providers working with HP's Technology Solutions Group's (TSG) direct-sales force will now move back under the control of the Solution Partners Organization (SPO).

John Thompson, HP's outgoing vice president and general manager for SPO Americas, said the company took multiple named-account lists from its various business units and combined them into one named account list. As a result, he said, HP "ended up moving thousands" of accounts previously engaged by HP on a direct basis to the channel. He declined to specify the number of accounts that will be moved to the channel.

"We want to drive this non-named space aggressively with partners," Thompson said.

Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, an HP solution provider in Green Bay, Wisc., said HP has reorganized its direct-sales force without adding many bodies. "They realize now that partners can take a bigger role in these accounts, thus freeing up some of their people to strategically go out and work with the resellers," he said.

Meanwhile, HP said it would abandon its plan to have TSG manage about 50 HP enterprise partners. HP said it wanted to more tightly integrate those partners with its direct enterprise sales force in a strategy implemented last Nov. 1. But HP enterprise solution providers tapped last year for that effort say they have seen little new business as a result of the alliance. Dan Vertrees, who was in charge of managing those partners within TSG, won't move over to SPO as a result of the reorganization, Thompson said.

HP also is realigning its business-unit sales teams into common territories, according to Thompson. He said HP previously had different territories for different business units, which created confusion among solution providers because they had to work with sales reps from different territories for printers or Unix servers, for example.

"We are moving to a common territory framework across the Americas," he said.

The move will align HP sales resources more efficiently and make it easier for partners to work with the company, Thompson said. In addition, SPO channel support staff are moving from generalists to product- and solution-focused specialists, which means that a single SPO field rep may be designated a storage specialist or a PC specialist instead of supporting the entire HP product line.

Thompson added that HP also is moving to a neutral sales-compensation structure across all business units so that no HP sales person is compensated more for taking a deal direct.

"It's a much more channel-friendly compensation plan," he said.

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