Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Moves To Services-Led Sales Model

Hewlett-Packard is aiming to accelerate the highly profitable path to drive new style IT cloud era sales growth for solution providers with what it is calling a "revolutionary" new simplified sales certification for its enterprise partners.

The new Hewlett-Packard Enterprise sales certification, which goes into effect Nov. 1, eliminates the existing industry-standard model focused on particular product segments and replaces it with a single services certification.

HP also for the first time is allowing partners to sell and deliver transformational consulting engagements based on proven HP services methodology. The company is rolling out a pilot program around the transformational consulting sales model effective May 1 with a formal rollout slated for Nov. 1.

[Related: HP Launches Program To Help Partners Navigate Split]

Sponsored post

The transformational services focus is a "breakthrough" moment for HP and its partners, said Mark Dallmeier, vice president and CSO/CMO of Tempe, Ariz.-based HP Platinum partner IT Partners, No. 424 on the CRN 2014 Solution Provider 500 list.

"This is HP recognizing that the customer and the marketplace wants to be engaged differently," he said. "Customers want a value-added, higher-level, more holistic conversation. They don't want manufacturers pushing products on them. What they want is the right solution at the right cost to drive the right business outcome."

The fundamental shift in customer and partner engagement puts HP ahead of competitors that are simply pushing enterprise architecture, said Dallmeier. "HP is spot on with its enablement model," he said. "Anytime you have a $120 billion company like HP bringing intellectual property, methodology and tools and frameworks around transformation into the channel it is going to exponentially accelerate partner transformation. HP is moving its channel ecosystem higher up the food chain and is becoming a force to be reckoned with in new style IT."

The single sales certification replaces nine existing product-sales-focused certifications. The existing technical-engineering-based sales certifications for sales engineers, which focus on areas such as converged infrastructure, storage, networking, software and services, remains in place.

"All of our competitors are focused on particular product areas whether it is server, storage or networking certifications," said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for PartnerOne Strategy at Hewlett-Packard. "This is revolutionary in the industry. We are truly helping partners get the skills to help them grow their business.’

The new sales certification model is focused on helping solution providers drive services-based business outcomes for customers with an eye toward helping those customers increase sales or reduce costs, said Eitenbichler. Partners will be able to ’understand the customer, validate the opportunity and qualify the opportunity," he said.

The sales certification centers on four market opportunities: transforming to an on-demand infrastructure; securing digital assets; empowering a big-data-driven enterprise; and enabling the digital workplace.

"Our sales certification will help partners ask the right questions in those four transformation areas and then there will be sales tools, sales plays, reference architectures and other enablement content made available to partners," said Eitenbichler.

"To train partners and make them get a certification on a particular product is what they may have needed 10 years ago," he said. "What they need now is the ability to ask the right questions of the customer to identify areas where IT can help customers grow their business or reduce costs."

Product-based certifications have led to a dumbing down of the sales process that has resulted in partners often missing "opportunities" even after the customers have given them direct feedback on business outcomes, said Eitenbichler.

HP is still working out the final details on the specific enterprise sales certification requirements for Silver, Gold and Platinum partners. "The exact number will be announced closer to Nov. 1," he said. Those certification requirements will vary by country.

Partners will get training credits get for participating in training sessions around specific technologies such as storage, networking, and converged infrastructure. Those training credits will be required to maintain partner status.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is aligning all of its assets around empowering partners to have transformational business-outcome-driven discussions with customers, said HP Vice President, Global Channel Services Dave Twohy.

"We are expanding the discussion that a partner can have with the customer, extending their capabilities and helping them change the dialogue with clients from a reactive discussion to a proactive discussion," he said. "This goes beyond support and implementation services. This is transformational services designed to help customers understand their current environment, their desired environment and then put together a specific bridge to get there."

HP also is deploying a Center of Excellence with a dedicated team that can help partners produce the "deliverables" from the transformational consulting engagements, said Twohy. The consulting services are the "glue" that is going to fuel the new style IT solutions such as the Helion hybrid cloud, he said.