HP Overhauls PartnerOne, Aggressively Recruiting New Partners

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Hewlett-Packard Tuesday rolled out an overhaul of its PartnerOne channel program backed up by a partner recruitment effort that could add more than 3,000 new solution providers to the fold.

The new PartnerOne initiatives were unveiled at the company's Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week where 2,000 of the $120 billion company's partners -- representing more than $35 billion in sales -- will gather to gauge HP's channel commitment.

At the heart of the channel charge is what HP is calling a simplified "pay for performance" PartnerOne program backed up by a recruitment initiative. HP, in fact, is looking to add 2,500 new partners in its Enterprise Group, 500 new partners in its Software Group and 200 new cloud service providers.

"We are recruiting like crazy," said Doug Oathout, vice president, channel and alliance marketing, for the Enterprise Group, in an interview with CRN. "We are out there trying to get value-added partners in storage, networking and servers. We are out there trying to get software partners."


[Related: Is It Too Late For HP's Whitman To Mend Channel Fences?]

The recruitment offensive comes with HP doubling down on its back-end rebate program, allowing partners to qualify for those incentives from the very first sale. That's an important change, as 40 percent to 50 percent of partners did not qualify for that back-end rebate last year because they failed to meet their HP sales quotas. Under the old program, partners did not qualify for those rebates until they hit 80 percent of their sales target.

"We're really excited about the opportunity with the new program," said one top executive at an HP enterprise partner, who asked not to be named. "This would have been a year where we might not have seen as much of a back-end bump because we had such a great year in 2012," said the partner, which posted nearly 40 percent growth in its HP business last year.

The executive said HP has made the PartnerOne program much more predictable, with less time having to be spent trying to determine channel compensation. "I know what I am going to earn and if I overachieve I can earn more," he said. "That predictability is the secret sauce. We are very bullish on HP right now. They are doing a lot of the right things, from Meg Whitman's positive channel messaging to new rules of engagement."

HP paid out $2.5 billion in back-end rebates to roughly 160,000 partners in the last fiscal year and plans to exceed that dollar amount this year, said Oathout. He said the program will allow the average partner to earn 5 percent to 10 percent more in total back-end rebates.

NEXT: HP Eliminates Rebate Caps

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