HP outlines 2006 partner strategy

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HP has moved to reassure its channel over its direction with the release of its go-to-market strategy for 2006.

HP has moved to reassure its channel over its direction with the release of its go-to-market strategy for 2006.

Launched at the vendor's annual Partner Principle meeting, the strategy offers partners dealing at the high end of town a proposition: you sell more add-ons, upgrades and attachments, and we won't take your customers.

Specifically, the announcement clarifies the company's rules of engagement around when and where HP reserves the right to service a customer account directly.

Explaining the scenario, HP's Solutions Partner Organisation director, Martin Dare, said HP currently directly serviced around 85 customers in the 1000-seat plus market in Australia. "Then there are another 450 customers, half of which our channel partners service and half of which represent competitive opportunities for us both," he said.

"If our partners cross-sell, up-sell or attach product whenever they can in their customer accounts, we will not take them direct."

HP would work with partners to pitch a joint-value proposition to the 200-odd accounts not yet assigned to the vendor or the channel, Dare said.

According to Dare, there was no specific minimum amount of product partners had to up-sell, cross-sell or attach to a sale in order to retain a customer.

Instead, HP would work with the partner to determine what was possible in a given customer account. "If a customer is happy with a competitive product we won't force this down their throat," he said. "We also won't risk destabilising the partner's relationship with a customer either."

Partner demands for a higher degree of certainty in business planning prompted the change in HP's go-to-market model, Dare said.

"Our previous rules of engagement weren't specific over what triggers would cause HP to go direct," he said. "These changes provide partners with the detail they need."

The pull-back of HP's direct sales was sustainable through the reciprocal increase in channel sales, Dare said. "We believe the increase in channel sales will more than compensate us," he said. "But we won't ever go completely indirect as customers will always want choice."


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