HP Making Strides To Simplify Partner Engagement

Matt Smith, director of channel marketing for the Printing and Personal Systems Group at HP, during a presentation Tuesday at XChange Solution Provider in Orlando, said one of the most valuable things the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor can give its partners is time.

"Partners tell me, 'If you can give me back two hours of my day, with that I can transform my business, spend time with my customers or coach my kid's baseball team," Smith said.

[Related: XChange: IBM Helping Partners Capture Cloud, Analytics Opportunities ]

With that aim in mind, HP has set out to make itself easier to engage with, make it easier for partners to close deals and make it easier for solution providers to reinvest in their own businesses.

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For example, HP as of May 1 is extending the amount of time solution providers have to spend market development funds to six months, up from the current three months.

Smith also pointed to last summer's launch of the HP Partner Concierge, which provides Web- and phone-based support for solution providers seeking quick answers about product specs, program details and pricing promotions.

The portal aims to arm partners with the information they need to close deals in two minutes, he said.

In addition, Smith pointed to the breadth of HP's product portfolio, which spans "from desktop to data center" as a key weapon in its arsenal.

"The greatest asset that we have is our portfolio," Smith said.

For a small-market solution provider such as Baton Rouge, La.-based Gulf South Technology Solutions, which targets small business customers, the strength of the HP portfolio makes all the difference, said Haggai Davis, director of sales at Gulf South, which exclusively sells HP hardware.

"In southern Louisiana, everything is relationship-based. We ask our customers what hurts the most and then figure out what solutions they need. Because HP has so much to choose from, it does help," Davis said.