HP's Whitman: Sales Reps That Scoop Channel Deals Will Be Fired

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To ensure that its salespeople get the message, HP for the past two months has been identifying bad actors within its global sales organization and making it clear that their behavior will no longer be tolerated, Sue Barsamian, senior vice president and general manager of global sales and operations for HP's Enterprise Group, told CRN in an interview earlier this month.

"In reaction to some of the noise that we heard, we've been going out and seriously re-educating people that need to be re-educated," Barsamian said.

HP has ditched its previous internal system for managing partner relationships and is now using Salesforce.com. Barsamian said HP is in the process of implementing a consistent deal registration framework that will serve to eliminate ambiguity.

"We're getting it consistent and global, so it's easy and quick to tell who has the deal, and which channel partner are we working with on the deal," Barsamian told CRN.

HP vowing to fire sales reps for poaching channel deals is nothing new. In July 2011, HP's Technology Services division instituted such a policy.

Several HP partners told CRN that these declarations haven't had any impact on direct sales behavior. So, some are taking a skeptical view of Whitman's vow to get rid of salespeople who don't follow the rules. "We have heard this so many times. Unless they actually fire someone, I won't believe it," one HP partner told CRN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

On the other hand, HP mentioned its "need to rebuild our business relationships with our channel partners" in its 2012 10-K filing. That, plus Whitman's vow, suggests that this latest campaign might have a bit more resolve behind it than previous ones.

"We totally are committed to the channel," Whitman told CRN. "We recognize that things weren't perfect in 2012, and maybe even in 2011, and we are working hard to make things right."


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