HPE Storage Leader Andrew Manners On New Channel Partner Sales Incentives

An HPE North America Storage Sales Game-Changer

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's new dedicated North America storage business unit is doubling the incentives for new business logo wins for channel partners as part of an all-out drive to grow the storage business by 25 percent in the current fiscal year, says HPE North America Storage Chief Andrew Manners.

HPE is also making big new investments including 50 new dedicated storage sales reps and a whopping five times increase in inside sales resources chartered with working hand in hand with partners to drive sales growth.

Last but not least, HPE is enforcing a strict 100 percent channel go-to-market model on all Nimble and midrange 3Par products.

"We have the best portfolio in the industry by a mile," said Manners, speaking about the Nimble and 3Par portfolio, which is powered by the highly acclaimed artificial intelligence-based InfoSight software that HPE says proactively resolves 86 percent of storage issues. "We have got a greater ability to address the problems that our customers are facing than anybody in the industry in every customer segment."

Manners, an 18-year HPE veteran who was tapped by HPE North America Managing Director Dan Belanger to lead the new storage organization, says InfoSight is a game-changer for both partners and customers.

"I receive every escalation that HPE has in North America on my phone and in the last six months I have not received any escalations for customers in an InfoSight environment," said Manners, who has won kudos from partners for his storage leadership in the sales trenches. "It changes the entire game."

Talk about how much faster and how much more money partners can make with the increased focus.

We are going to grow the total storage business 25 percent this year. So it is a significantly bigger opportunity for the partners. To do that we have got to aggressively go after new logos. So we are going to double the incentive on new logos for our partners. We are going to have a deal desk dedicated to new logo pricing to accelerate the partner's ability to pursue business.

What kinds of new sales resources are you adding to the dedicated business unit?

We are increasing our sales organization by 50 new dedicated sales resources in the field—a 10 percent increase in sales and presales capability. We are also growing our insides sales resources by five times from 20 to 100. That will be driving lead gen for new accounts.

We are also going to have each one of our district managers adopt a partner. So the top 50 most strategic partners will be aligned to a storage sales district manager. What we are doing is aligning our sales motion and the channel sales motion so that we have tighter engagement between the two organizations—the partner and our own sales organization.

We are enforcing that all midrange 3Par and Nimble are 100 percent through the channel. There is no conflict in those products. That is why we are dedicating the relationship between our top partners and our sales district and sales SA [solution architect] leadership so that they'll be on monthly calls reviewing the business helping our channel PBMs [partner business mangers] and our storage PBMs to grow the business. So it is the responsibility of the dedicated business unit to grow the channel.

What kind of impact do you expect the new dedicated storage sales district managers have on partners?

We want them to be 100 percent involved in the channel's success and 100 percent dependent on the channel for success. What we are doing is moving the initiative closer to the field to the individual sales reps and solution architects.

How important is the dedicated new logo deal desk with a one hour turnaround on pricing aimed at winning new customer deals?

Over the last six months we have had a third-party independent company reviewing every win and loss. The biggest impact on loss is speed of pricing—getting pricing to the customer.

Our customers are moving at lightning speed so we need to move at lightning speed. The number one reason we lose deals is because we haven't provided the customer the pricing in the time frame they require it.

It's a first for storage. We are following a lot of the Aruba [best practices] designs to get us faster and more nimble.

What we are doing is making the [storage] district managers the decision-makers without layers of management making decisions. We are pushing pricing controls to the district managers. Speed on pricing is the number one reason we are losing business and as such it is the number one priority to fix. So we are going to have different discount thresholds on new logos and the authority to proceed will be with the sales leadership, not with the executives.

Talk about the plan to get out of the gate fast with the new incentives.

We kicked this off on Nov. 1. In January for the first time ever we are bringing the entire storage organization together for a kickoff in Orlando. There will be 550 dedicated North America HPE storage people in a single room with the team united.

What are the kind of innovative storage deals that are being done on GreenLake?

You start at a strategic level with the customer talking about how they want to consume IT. The ability to go to a consumption model is very attractive. There are organizations that we started with storage, then added servers, software licensing and then services with GreenLake.

So we are bringing customers the ability to change the complete way they consume IT or straight transactions when someone wants to buy an array with a consumption model. So there are two different [sales] plays we are running—transactional sales and then enterprisewide consumption.

Customers have procured IT through a capital expenditure model for many years. Now with cloud customers have learned how to consume IT through a consumption-based model.

Companies are operating in a hybrid IT world where they have on-premises and off-premises assets. This allows them to have the same consumption models for both on-premises and off-premises. It also allows them to price and compare the models at the same time. In the consumption model, we are producing a more economical experience on-premises than off-premises.

What is the number one sales play HPE partners have got to make with storage?

Our point of view is intelligent storage built on the autonomous data center powered by InfoSight, data mobility across the portfolio for hybrid cloud and consumption procurement. Those are the three tenets of the model that we are taking to market.

Compare the HPE storage and consumption portfolio to the competitors.

We have the best portfolio in the industry by a mile. We have got a greater ability to address the problems that our customers are facing than anybody in the industry in every customer segment.

Customers aren't sitting there saying they want more drives running at 1,500 RPMs. They want to solve problems and our portfolio allows them to do that.

Talk about the return on investment customers are seeing from implementing InfoSight.

With InfoSight 86 percent of problems incurred within the IT [storage] environment are solved without the customer being involved in the resolution. I receive every escalation that HPE has in North America on my phone and in the last six months I have not received any escalations for customers in an InfoSight environment. It changes the entire game.

How has the HPE storage value proposition changed with the rollout of InfoSight?

Every customer has a complex environment with multiple vendors and multiple products and the ability to maintain those environments is one of the biggest issues they face. An outage costs an enormous amount of time and money for a customer. Avoiding outages is one of customers’ primary focuses. So the ability to deliver an [IT] environment with a product that intelligently solves problems for them is critical. They can't look past that.

Can you tell me about a recent win that shows the power of the HPE storage and consumption model?

We had an extremely large energy company going through a digital transformation. They are now reading meters digitally. They didn't have the capital to make the acquisitions required for the transformation. With our consumption model they were able to move workloads on to the HPE infrastructure—off of antiquated IBM systems—without the need to refresh budgets with a large capital expenditure.

How big is the opportunity for partners to make more money and at the same time change the customer digital transformation experience?

The storage market in the U,S, is a $20 billion opportunity. The size of the market is huge with the explosive growth of data and the fact that data is core to every customer's business makes it critical to the customer. It is one of the largest available markets for partners to pursue. It is services rich and the partners have ample services to deliver. This is about utilization of their assets as well as increased profits.

How do you feel about the coming year running the North America storage business?

We have the best portfolio and the best value proposition for a customer. It is in our hands now to execute and we are enormously confident that we will execute beyond expectations.

What is the call to action for partners?

Believe and lead with HPE storage.