HP Taps New Leader For SMB Advisory Council


Nerenberg, who joined HP in March, will oversee execution of HP’s SMB go-to-market channel strategy, and he'll report to Matt Smith, director of Americas Channel Marketing for HP. According to his LinkedIn profile, Nerenberg has been working on sales enablement and marketing programs for HP channel partners in the commercial, retail, SMB, public sector, education, health care and mobility verticals for North and South America.

Former SMB Advisory Council manager Meaghan Kelly, previously vice president of the SMB Strategy Group in HP’s Americas Solution Partner Organization, is taking on a broader role within the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. Kelly will now hold the title of vice president of channel strategy, reporting to Stephen DiFranco, vice president and general manager of HP's Americas Solution Partners Organization.

Kelly has been a key driver of HP's overall channel strategy and in March oversaw the launch of SMB Central, a free portal that gives partners guidance on current areas of channel opportunity and advice on how to generate revenue with HP.

In her new role, Kelly will be able to focus on other emerging areas of HP-wide opportunity, such as cloud computing, an HP spokesperson told CRN. In addition to her channel responsibilities, Kelly "will continue to drive innovative projects around the startup and venture capital community" under the direction of Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group, the HP spokesperson said.

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Kristin Rogers, executive vice president of sales and marketing at PC Mall, a Torrance, Calif.-based partner and SMB Advisory Council member, met recently with Nerenberg and Smith and came away impressed with their approach to the gigantic market opportunity that SMB represents.

"They tend to look at things from a practical scalability point of view -- it's not all fluffy marketing," Rogers said in an interview. "They're not just putting resources into the SMB, they're using data to drive coverage models and the value proposition."

Nerenberg spent nine years at Intel, where he served as global sales and marketing manager for the chipmaker's Reseller Channel Organization. He left in 2006 and spent the next two years at Microsoft, holding the role of national sales and marketing group manager for Microsoft Office Accounting

Prior to joining HP, Nerenberg was vice president of sales and marketing -- and acting COO -- at Bidsync, an $8 million, SaaS startup providing cloud-based software to government and business customers. From 2008 to 2010, Nerenberg was vice president of sales and marketing at DigitalBridge, a $30 million cloud startup serving the government, education, and healthcare markets.

"Billy is a guy who tackles the problem head on, breaks it down into actionable pieces and just gets things done," said Arlin Sorensen, CEO of Heartland Technology Solutions, a top HP Midwest partner. "He contemplates the right approach and strategically and methodically makes it happen."

Operated by HP’s Americas Solution Partners Organization (SPO), the SMB Advisory Council is made up of key HP channel partners who collaborate with the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computing giant to address the SMB market in the U.S. The group meets quarterly to confer with SPO executives on HP’s overall SMB strategy and specific SPO PartnerONE initiatives and programs, including the vendor’s SMB Elite partner designation and financing plans.

HP added an SMB Elite designation to its PartnerONE Elite program two years ago. HP hasn't offered any insight into how many partners have signed up, and this absence of information suggests that there's work to be done in terms of making it more attractive to partners that target the SMB.

Rogers credits HP with being one of the few vendors to create a status for partners who excel in the SMB space and believes this will be a key area of focus for Nerenberg.

"This is a hard thing to do because it's not a technical certification, it's about the expertise a partner has in the SMB market," said Rogers. "HP seems to recognize that SMB Elite hasn't been quite as robust as they wanted it to be, but instead of giving up they're trying to figure out how to make it more compelling."