HP Canada rolls out new SMB Elite channel program

Published: May 4th, 2009

HP Canada (NYSE: HPQ)is about to launch a new SMB channel designation, called SMB Elite, to improve its chances in the highly competitive segment.

SMB Elite will be unique under HP’s umbrella PartnerOne.ca program because it’s the first plan that is not attached to a solution set or specific product, but a market segment. SMB Elite will include: fast-tracked qualified leads, market development funds, and zero per cent financing.

One of the unique offers in SMB Elite is the Total Care Access Card.

This card will be available in June at a cost of $49. It will be sold by channel partners and offers buyers about $500 in special promotions, incentives and other discounts.

The Total Care card is a collaboration tool for HP and the partner community, said Michael McAvoy, director, small and mid-sized business, HP Canada.

The card is used similar to a hotel room key. There is a unique 16 digit code. The card holder punches in that code online and from there can choose from a roster of offerings such as free hardware recycling, free shipping back to HP, $50 rebates on Insight Control Management, 25 per cent off on HP specialty media and CarePaqs, exclusive discounts on Microsoft Office, and more.

The card can be obtained through distribution. “There is margin just on selling the card and resellers can bundle it with other opportunities. It is up to them and it’s meant to change the conversation and help them sell the hardware for a little more, but really it allows the talk to go around to services and support, which is what resellers want to talk about with customers from a profitability standpoint,” McAvoy said.

According to Rose Genovese, channel program manager, HP Canada, based in Mississauga, Ont., small-to-medium size business will remain a priority investment for HP this year and beyond with channel partners.

The tactics behind SMB Elite is that HP products and solutions are already correctly positioned in the market place and this new program may elevate those products to a new level for the SMB.

“We are also expanding our sales coverage and will give these partners SMB inside sales support, while they learn the program. This will give them a financial advantage,” Genovese said.

HP Canada will also provide an information portal site called SMB Expressway for this program.

“This program will help customers identify who the HP resellers are. Who has the training in SMB and it will better market these guys as experts in this segment,” she said.

Genovese admitted that the tough economic times are impacting the channel, customers and HP, but believes a program such as the SMB Elite will help the channel differentiate them from the competition.

There is also a sort of bonus plan for SMB Elite partners. Depending on their growth incentives or their training exam scores they could achieve Blue Carpet spiffs.

“We offer these benefits around the concept of mutual profitability and growth so that we can better work together,” she said.

SMB Elite will also contain a branding component where partners can get a preferential ranking on HP’s partner locator tool along with special advertising in print or online publications. “This is about recognizing top partners and who stands out from the crowd,” she added.

Currently, Genovese said that HP Canada does not have a target amount of partners set for this new program.

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