HP: We'll Fire Technology Services Reps That Poach Partner Deals

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Hewlett-Packard is sending a stern message to direct salespeople in its Technology Services division: If you try to snatch away an HP channel partner's deal, you might find yourself looking for a new job.

HP recently revised its rules of sales engagement to more clearly define the role that partners and Technology Services direct sales reps will play in joint sales situations. For the first time, HP has instituted a recourse policy under which direct sales reps that violate the revised rules of engagement will be subject to termination, according to Ken Archer, vice present of channels and alliances for HP's Technology Services group in the Americas.

Archer says the rules are designed to build trust between HP direct sales, channel partners and Alliance partners like Red Hat and SAP.

"The key objectives are clear, predictable and specific behavior, both from the Technology Services sales force and from the partner community," Archer told CRN in a recent interview. "We want to encourage and initiate stronger, clearer communications between our HP direct sales teams, partner business managers and our partners."

Mark Romanowski, executive vice president of ASI System Integration, a New York City-based solution provider and member of HP's Partner Advisory Council, helped develop the new rules and is satisfied that they'll help eliminate channel conflict. "The new rules definitely have enough teeth," he said. "We've wanted this for a very long time. It's fair all around and not just a one-sided program."

The new Technology Services rules of engagement are in effect now in the U.S., and HP will roll them out globally on Nov. 1 along with its new ServiceONE specialization. HP is now conducting mandatory sales training for all 40,000 of its Technology Services direct sales reps worldwide, and next month will begin offering Webinar-based training to partners, Archer said.

HP announced the Technology Services rules of engagement internally on July 20 and communicated the details in a "very, very detailed email" co-signed by Archer and Joe Bottazzi, senior vice president and general manager of HP Technology Services Americas business. Unfortunately, HP declined to share the email with CRN, agreeing only to outline its main points, so it's unclear exactly what's spelled out in the new rules.

Also unclear is whether the departure earlier this week of 31-year HP veteran Bottazzi, who is leaving HP to pursue an opportunity outside the company, will impact how the new rules are communicated and enforced.

Next: How The New Rules Will Apply To Partners

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