Components & Peripherals News

Dave Shull On Why HP Partners Need to ‘Change The Dialogue’ With Customers And The ‘Astonishing’ Road Ahead

Steven Burke

New HP President of Workforce Services and Solutions Dave Shull has already met with dozens of HP partners in an open dialogue on how to structure partner compensation for partners in a “lifelong” customer relationship services model.

What is the HP Workforce Services and Solutions customer and partner sales proposition?

We are selling PCs and printers today. We are going to build on that and create a new relationship with the customers and we want that to be a lifelong relationship with the customers.’

That changes our financial metrics. That changes our go-to-market strategy. That changes our services and our offerings. That is what brought me to HP.

What can partners glean from your Dish experience and what should they be thinking about as they look at driving a lifelong relationship with the customer in conjunction with HP?

Remember at Dish we were making a couple of big transitions. We were making a transition from traditional satellite to a world of streaming. So for the first time we had to rethink our relationship with our customers to say, ‘I want to put Netflix on the set top box. I want to put Amazon Prime on the set top box.’ Now you are talking to channel partners saying, ‘We have to collectively go out there and be able to sell all of these other different services on top of the set top boxes because that is what the customer wanted. They wanted that flexibility.

The other thing we were looking at at Dish is the transition from pure satellite to 5G. We were expanding the aperture quite a bit in terms of what we were going to offer as a company. That is what was happening as I was leaving Dish. We launched Sling TV when I was there.

You could imagine the dialogue with the partners a lot of whom had grown up in sort of a traditional big dish – small dish satellite world. We were telling them ‘ ‘Guess what we need you to expand into these other different worlds as well.’

The partners were mom and pops who had built their business over decades on the basis of selling satellite dishes door to door. There were thousands of those partners.

Every year we would get them together in a big channel event. So it is not that different than what we are walking into here at HP. Of course we have massive distributors. We have some very, very large global VARs. But we have a lot of entrepreneurs who are running their core businesses, they are selling day in and day out, they have the relationship with the customers. They have been selling those customers our PCs and our printers which we love and we appreciate. Now we are saying, ‘We have got to have a different conversation. We have got to have a broader conversation. Everytime you touch that customer think about the lifetime value of that customer.’A lot of them are doing it already. So what can we at HP come in and do that helps them?

The customer needs are straightforward: it is flexibility because the CIOs are not sure what is going to happen in this hybrid world. It is peace of mind which is security and everything tied to cybersecurity going on in the world. And then it is just make it work. Give the customer something simple so they can just make it work. Those are the three big customer problems.

So from an HP point of view we are saying – for thousands of customers we are relying on our partners for those end user relationships. So it is about us coming in and having a frank dialogue about what do you want me to do and what do you want to do so that we both make money and start to lock in this lifelong relationship with the customers. We are starting that dialogue now.

Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at

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