HP Ups Channel Sales Offensive With New Appointment

Sue Barsamian

Hewlett-Packard is stepping up its channel sales charge by putting one of its rising stars, Sue Barsamian, into a newly created role as senior vice president, HP worldwide indirect sales.

A 25-year HP veteran, Barsamian, who was previously senior vice president and general manager, global sales and operations for HP's $30 billion enterprise sales group, will now focus exclusively on indirect sales including channel alliances and OEM relationships.

"Nearly 70 percent of HP's Enterprise Group revenue is through the channel and it is imperative that this team has strong leadership," said HP Enterprise Group Executive Vice President Bill Veghte in an internal memo. "Under Sue's leadership, we have clarity in strategy and focus in execution -- positioning the breadth of HP's technology portfolio for a singular purpose, to help our partners deliver business outcomes to SMB and Enterprise customers that differentiate them in the marketplace."

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HP insiders said the move represents a stepped up focus on enterprise channel sales growth as a revamped PartnerOne program kicks into high gear. That PartnerOne program is aimed at rewarding partners that sell more of the HP product and services portfolio in high-growth markets like big data, cloud, security and converged infrastructure.

Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of CB Technologies, a Westminster, Calif., HP enterprise partner, said Barsamian's appointment is one more sign that HP is set to drive big channel sales growth in 2014-2015. She said CB Technologies has hired an additional 14 employees as part of a plan to double its HP business by 2015.

"We are making a huge bet on HP," she said. "This appointment does not surprise me. Everything I have seen from [HP CEO] Meg [Whitman] and the team shows they are serious about supporting the channel. You couldn't find a better fit than Sue to help the channel grow sales. We're looking forward to working with her. As an HP exclusive partner, this kind of support is huge. I think 2014-2015 is going to be phenomenal for HP and its partners."

CB Technologies is already working with HP on innovative go-to-market sales initiatives aimed at taking out competitors in key accounts, said Ireland.

Barsamian will report directly to Veghte, who has been given a mandate by Whitman to "accelerate innovation in converged infrastructure, cloud and the emerging area of software-defined data centers."

Veghte told partners on a conference call last month that key to the success of the enterprise group is working hand in hand with partners to drive sales growth. "My job, and the entire enterprise group's job, is to serve you and have us collectively serve our customers on their journey toward this new style of IT, together winning in the marketplace," he told partners.

The chief executive for a large HP enterprise partner, who did not want to be identified, said the Barsamian appointment is a sign of a stepped up channel charge under Veghte, HP's former COO who was put in charge of the enterprise group last month.

"I am really stoked about Bill's leadership," said the HP partner. "He has made it clear that he wants to work more closely with the channel to develop better joint go-to-market plans with partners. We are already seeing better partner engagement in the field with some deals that would have been taken direct moving to indirect. HP is saying and doing all the right things."