D&H Distributing's HERO program, aimed at driving SMB product sales growth for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is paying double-digit dividends for HPE and its partners.
Since D&H launched the Heighten and Elevate Revenue Opportunity, or HERO, program last year, the number of SMB partners being activated to sell HPE products and driving HPE sales growth is showing "high-double-digit" growth quarter over quarter, said Renee Pizarro, director of Enterprise Group North America channel development and support at HPE, Palo Alto, Calif.
"D&H is getting more partners awakened and signed up and then growing them at a high-double-digit clip every single quarter," Pizarro said.
The HERO program, which includes a full portfolio of SMB server, storage and Aruba networking products, helps partners increase their HPE sales. The program was based on feedback from a roundtable of HPE partners and includes on-demand training, pre- and post-sales support and an automated iQuote web-based function that includes an HPE Financial Services calculator. It also includes tools for vertical markets and operational services from HPE's Pointnext services business.
Greg King, D&H's HPE business unit senior director, said the HERO program -- which has resulted in the recruitment of 700 partners -- is driving robust growth in Gen10 servers, HPE ProLiant Microservers and HPE Aruba OfficeConnect OC20.
King attributed the success of the program to D&H's top-notch HPE engineering expertise and business development specialists working hand in hand with partners. "Our niche has always been our knowledge of the products and willingness to spend the extra time with smaller partners," he said. "We are bringing on new partners and seeing partners move up to [HPE] Silver status."
Henry Grossman, vice president and chief information officer for Treysta Technology Management, a Gettysburg, Pa., MSP, said D&H has been a crucial partner in helping drive HPE SMB sales. Grossman credits D&H with helping his company close a recent HPE DL380 Gen9 four-node server deal with a Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct cluster and an HPE Aruba backplane. "We relied heavily on D&H's engineering expertise," he said.
D&H's HPE technology specialists -- led by Chris Rigas, the distributor's HPE business development manager -- delivered an enterprise-class hyper-converged solution at a breakthrough price, said Grossman. "The customer loves the scalability of the solution," he added. "I don't think this deal would have happened or we would have designed it this way without D&H's guidance."
Pizarro, for her part, said Rigas has brought a "no soldier left behind" mentality that has ensured all partners get the help they need. She credits Rigas and the HPE team for helping to revive HPE SMB product sales, including HPE Gen10 servers. "It felt like we had a lot of hibernating partners," she said. "D&H gave them a little warmth and food and woke them up. They awakened these partners' hunger for selling HPE. D&H has really helped partners start transacting."
The D&H differentiator is its ability to build deep and long-lasting partner relationships, said Pizarro. "I have always loved the D&H approach," she said. "It is a very personalized approach. They build long-lasting partner communities."
D&H is willing to do the heavy lifting in the SMB partner community that other larger distributors aren't always willing to do, said Pizarro. "Being privately held, D&H has the flexibility to be more creative and do things for their business and customers that someone that is publicly held can't or won't do," she said.
Now that the HERO program is starting to kick into high gear, HPE is upping the ante by teaming with the distributor to get partners to sell HPE SimpliVity -- the hyper-converged platform HPE acquired last year, said Pizarro.
"That's an absolute gamechanger," she said. "Some of the smaller doctor and dentist offices are realizing that public cloud is a lot more expensive than they originally thought. All of a sudden now you have an option through a local IT provider who they trust."
Pizarro, a 21-year HPE veteran, said she has seen D&H's cultural values remain the same even as it has stepped up to offer more complex advanced solutions. "What's been interesting to see is how D&H has evolved to bring on more and more complex technologies," she said. "That is why D&H is thriving today. They have been successful time and time again."