HP Channel Charge: Partners To Get Same Training As HP Sales Reps

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Hewlett-Packard is continuing its channel charge with a restructuring that provides its solution providers the same training and certification as its direct sales team.

Partners said the change opens the door to tighter sales alignment between solution providers and HP's enterprise sales organization. They predicted the change will result in more teaming on enterprise solutions sales.

The training realignment caps off a year of aggressive channel moves by HP including the Nov. 1 launch of its revamped four-tier PartnerOne program packed with hefty new back-end rebates for partners. The new PartnerOne program also includes simplified and, what HP is calling, more effective training for partners with fewer certification requirements.

[Related: 10 Secrets To Success With HP PartnerOne]

Providing the same training to partners and HP sales reps is a "huge" competitive advantage for HP, said Dean Cappellazzo, CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based Bedrock Technology Partners, one of HP's top enterprise partners. "This creates tighter sales alignment and trust between HP and its partners," he said. "HP is really embracing us and making us more powerful as a partner. This allows us to get closer to HP and HP reps to get closer to the channel."

One top sales executive for an HP partner, who did not want to be identified, expects the change to result in increased sales in the sales trenches. "Now that we are under a single umbrella, we feel like we are part of the HP sales team," said the sales boss. "The training is much more structured, with less time out of the office, and it is 100 percent correlated with the tests. It's a big improvement."

The training change also follows the launch of a new worldwide channel marketing offensive as part of HP's aggressive push to drive channel sales growth. That includes a significant effort to pick up the pace and quality of demand-generation tools and resources for partners.

The change recognizes partners as an "extension" of the HP sales organization, said Chuck Battipede, the senior vice president of learning and development at HP. "We can't be competing with our partners," said Battipede. "That's the theme. Partners are an extension of our sales organization and we need to earn their trust and respect."

HP is also establishing new training for its own partner business managers (PBMs) aimed at driving a better understanding of partner compensation and metrics, said Battipede. "You've got to know what makes a partner tick as an end-user sales rep," he said. "That means understanding partner compensation."

The HP sales training changes are a direct result of the no-holds-barred channel commitment established by HP CEO Meg Whitman, said Battipede. "It starts at the top with Meg," he said. "She has set the direction and made the focus on partners an absolutely critical part of HP's strategy."

Sue Barsamian, who moved into a newly created role in September as senior vice president, HP worldwide indirect sales, was also critical in establishing channel training sales alignment with the HP's direct sales force, said Battipede.

"This shows it's not business as usual," he said. "We have changed the organization and integrated partners. We are no longer a separate group."


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