Published: October 1st, 2016

BOSTON – HP Inc. has updated the Partner First program with an emphasis on speeding up routes to market for channel partners.

The new updates are led by a streamlined structure for membership and compensation. There will also be a spruced up Co-Marketing Zone for solution provider campaigns. New to the program is the HP Social Media Center where the channel can showcase their expertise through social business networks.

According to HP Inc. Canada channel chief John Cammalleri, the revamped Partner First program can now recognize that different partners have areas of strength. With that these partners can attain the partner level that is based on their strengths.

John Cammalleri
John Cammalleri

“So if a partner sets up a program with an overall revenue number based on their expertise HP Inc. can align with that partner better because we have recognized their strengths. And, based on your expertise you can earn platinum, gold and silver status,” Cammalleri said.

Solution providers will also see more specialization opportunities inside the Partner First program enabling them attain the Partner First status level they desire. “We are not only recognizing revenue or the volume path, but that revenue is now based on the expertise of the partner,” Cammalleri added.

Secondary to this new feature, HP Inc. has a piece in the program where revenue does not play a factor specific to tech specialties such as device-as-a-service (DaaS) or graphics. “These are straight-forward ways for a partner to grow regardless of the area they play in. HP Inc. will have recognized you as a Partner First partner,” he said.

Under this new plan, distributors have the flexibility to increase support to HP Inc. partners at all levels. Channel partners at platinum, gold and silver levels can now access all of the company’s sales tracks such as volume selling and global systems integration. This strategy also supports the new direction HP Inc. is taking with the channel to align with the partner’s area of expertise.

Solution providers should note that the volume selling track is on print supplies and hardware sales. The other tracks focus on developing competencies around key HP Inc. products and services. Cammalleri told CDN these competencies will focus on the new market opportunity with acquisition of Samsung’s printer business that currently has an addressable market of $55 billion, DaaS and mobility.

In terms of compensation, Partner First now has adopted a global standardized model for paying their partners. The new framework gets rid of some of the major redundancies, reduces variables on which partners are measured and is based around three mainstays: core compensation, specialists and new business opportunities.

“The compensation is also aligned to the way we want to deal with partners. This way we can help them achieve the financial benefits in the areas of strength. If you are a really good printer partner you can make money and if you are good in all the areas then you are really going to make a lot of money,” Cammalleri said.

The HP Co-Marketing Zone Plus has been re-worked by HP Inc. to be a one-stop resource portal for the channel. Solution providers can use the portal to create customized, co-branded marketing campaigns. New to the portal are target customer lists along with marketing collateral, electronic direct mail, microsite marketing tools, and event marketing or search marketing management.

“By upgrading the partner marketing zone we’ve made it easier for solution providers to attract new customers and add more value to existing customers,” he said.

At the HP Global Partner Conference, the company acknowledged the growing influence of social media. The company said that social media is now part of the sales cycle and nearly 75 per cent of procurement decisions is aided by information obtained through social media networks.

With that Partner First now has a Social Media Center as part of HP Sales Central. Channel partners can use this content to share with customers and other stakeholders. There is also customizable content available that can help the channel better position themselves in the market. Social Media Center is currently in pilot mode, but HP officials believe that it will be made available worldwide by the end of the year.

HP Inc. Canada president Mary Ann Yule told CDN that the company has developed several “cool” new innovative areas for Partner First. She believes that Partner First will be a starting point for new business conversations for the channel.