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New HPE North America Sales Structure Brings More ‘Channel Champions’ To Leadership Roles

‘You are going to see an extremely aggressive North America HPE,’ says HPE Managing Director North America Dan Belanger. ‘We are already gaining share in servers and storage. This is really about taking that to an even more extreme level.’

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is restructuring its North America sales organization as part of a plan to accelerate its channel go to market with more “Channel Champions” across the business, said HPE Managing Director North America Dan Belanger.

“What partners will see is that there are now more channel champions in leadership roles up and down the organization,” said Belanger. “We have more leaders on their front foot, leaning into the channel, developing and executing plans hand in hand with partners.”

The restructuring -- which goes into effect for the start of HPE’s new fiscal year on Nov. 1 -- puts more world class channel leaders into a streamlined go-to-market model that will benefit customers and partners, said Belanger.

[RELATED: 5 Things You Need To Know About New HPE North America Channel Chief Leslie Maher]

The new structure puts what was a three-tier enterprise account model (global enterprise, large enterprise and mid-enterprise) under a single North America enterprise business with East and Central/West businesses leaders.

At the same time, it puts what was a five-tier commercial account structure (SMB,Mid-Market, Inside Sales, Cloud Service Provider, SLED (State Local Government Education), under a single commercial business leader.

Under the restructuring, HPE North America Channel Chief Terry Richardson, a 35-year enterprise sales veteran who has been singled out by partners for his ability to help them close deals, will run the multi-billion dollar East Enterprise sales business.

HPE North America Hybrid IT Compute Vice President Leslie Maher, a 30-year enterprise sales veteran who has helped design and key sales programs that have led to HPE share gains, is taking over as North America Channel Chief.

HPE Vice President of SMB Sales Jas Sood, a 21-year HPE veteran who was leading the SMB sales charge, will lead the new commercial sales organization.

HPE has not yet appointed the new Central/West enterprise sales leader.

The new structure brings “clarity” and “consistency” across the account stack from SMB to enterprise with a new organization that is easier for partners to team with HPE to drive sales growth, said Belanger.

“We have always had a great channel lineage, but we need to bring consistency to it,” he said. “If you have multiple leaders in a particular segment each might be doing things well but they might be slightly different for a channel partner to enage. This is going to really help our velocity.”

Whether it’s enterprise or SMB go to market, partners are going to see “one business operating process, one go to market (model),” said Belanger. “This is going to give us consistency. It’s going to be easier for partners (to engage with HPE).”

As for customers – who are grappling with cataclysmic digital transformation challenges – the new structure opens the door for them to “get problems solved quicker” by teaming with HPE and partners, said Belanger.

“This is going to allow us to become a bigger part of the customer fabric,” he said. “The downstream effect of it is more solution-oriented selling together with partners that results in a larger profit pool for everyone including the channel partners.”

Ultimately Belanger said it is vital that HPE and partners team to provide customers with stability, consistency and predictability in a fast moving technology solutions market.

“In the context of a huge transformation going on around us, you have to bring stability to the customer,” he asserted. “I want customers to look at us as being easy to do business with – delivering business outcomes.”

Steve Lankard, vice president and principal of the infrastructure solutions practice at CBTS, the billion-dollar-plus solutions behemoth with 1,200 technical professionals with 2,800 certifications, said the changes are going to allow HPE to fully leverage the channel as a sales force multiplier.

“HPE is taking some of their best and brightest executives who are very channel-focused and they are moving them into roles that are going to best utilize the channel going forward,” said Lankard. “We look at this as a very good thing.”

Lankard said he is excited about both channel stalwart Richardson’s move into a sales leadership role and Maher’s new position as North America Channel Chief. “I like the fact that Terry is moving into a sales leadership position,” he said. “I have worked with Terry on the Enterprise Advisory Council for many years. He is a great asset. He knows the capabilities of the channel inside and out. He doesn’t just know about the channel. He has lived it. He knows each of us and what we are good at and where we have been successful. I see Terry using that knowledge to engage us and allow us to be successful together.”

As for Maher’s impact on the channel, Lankard said he expects to see more detail-oriented plans to leverage the full strength of partners. “Leslie is very plan oriented,” said Lankard, who has known Maher for close to two decades in various enterprise roles. “She is not going to talk about growing the business. She is going to make sure plans are put in place to leverage the channel partners to their fullest.”

Belanger said he selected Richardson to lead the East Enterprise business – which is major chunk of HPE’s North America business- because of his strong enterprise sales background and tight relationships with partners.

“Terry has proved himself not only as a champion of the channel, but also one of our best in terms of running a business,” said Belanger. “His appointment speaks to the focus that we have on the largest customers as well as our account management investment. This is overseeing the largest, most complex and demanding customers in the world.”

As for Maher, Belanger said she has proven herself running the multi-billion dollar North America compute business that includes artificial intelligence and high performance computing. “Leslie has really worked hand in hand with Terry and the rest of the organization on the channel flow and how programs have been designed and executed,” he said.

Belanger credited Sood with helping drive SMB sales growth with a 100 percent channel model. With Sood taking the helm of the commercial sales business, Belanger said he expects HPE to put the pedal to the metal in the SMB market with a revved up “transactional engine” aimed at reaching more customers.

“SMB customers have a certain profile on what they look for in both products as well as support,” he said. “We were more or less not defined that way. This allows us to provide specific resources to the right customer outcome.”

Al Chien, president of Dasher Technologies, No. 144 on the 2019 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he sees the changes as HPE doubling down on the channel with a structure that put strong actions behind the HPE partner first mantra. “This speaks volumes about our partnership,” he said.

Chien said Maher, Richardson and Sood are all channel strong executives that will drive sales growth working hand in hand with partners. He called Richardson one of the channel’s all time best leaders, Maher a channel savvy business leader whose grasp of IT economics will be key to partner success going forward and Sood a “guardian and shepherd of the channel.”

Chien said he is particularly excited about Sood’s ability to drive tighter alignment with the inside sales organization now that she has responsibility once again for that operation. “Jas is the right person for that job,” he said. “It takes operational excellence.”

Felise Katz, CEO of PKA Technologies, Inc, New York, one of HPE’s top enterprise partners, said the changes make HPE more competitive in a technology solutions market moving at a blistering pace.

“HPE is doing everything right to keep up as the industry keeps on unfolding and morphing,” she said. “The technology solutions market and the way customers are looking to advance their workloads is changing faster than it ever has. You need to keep up. HPE is making very strategic changes that will enable all of us to grow faster.”

Belanger, for his part, said the restructuring is a clear signal that HPE is not just talking the channel talk, but walking the channel walk. “This is North America taking it to the next level to really extend our reach,” he said.

Ultimately the new structure puts more HPE “channel friendly, Channel Champions” in key leadership roles driving channel sales growth, said Belanger.

“We recognize there is a lot of competition for the channel,” he said. “We listened and took the feedback (from partners) to develop true alignment. That means we develop plans together and hold each other accountable to those plans. HPE has to be predictable and also consistent. There can’t be eight different ways to engage the channel with eight different entry points into the customer relationship. This is a signal that our leaders are all like minded on how important the channel is and how to go to market the right way.”

The North America changes come with HPE making both server and storage gains in the second quarter.

In the server market, HPE gained 1.5 points in worldwide server revenue market share for the second quarter, capturing 18 percent of the global market, up from 16.5 percent, according to research firm IDC.

In the enterprise external OEM storage systems market, HPE also gained 1.5 points of worldwide revenue market share for the second quarter, capturing 11.7 percent of the market, up from 10.2 percent in the year ago quarter, according to IDC.

Belanger said he expects the organizational changes to further accelerate HPE market share momentum. “You are going to see an extremely aggressive North America HPE,” he pledged. “We are already gaining share in servers and storage. This is really about taking that to an even more extreme level.”

Make no mistake about it, said Belanger, HPE is about to take its customer and partner experience to the next level. “We are on our front feet,” he said. “We want the channel partners to see us as an aggressive, nimble, responsive partner and the best partner in the world to do business with.”

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