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HP holds partner advisory board meet

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DQW Bureau
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In their bid to understand the problems and challenges being faced by the

partner community in the country across different verticals, HP recently

conducted a partner advisory board meet. A total of 25 channel partners across

various product categories from India participated in the board and shared their

experiences. This is the first time that the company has rolled out the

initiative and the event will now become an annual feature and will be followed

by feedback sessions on a quarterly basis. The board was designed in a manner

that premium partners from every region were present at the board to give an

insight into the market and the issues being faced by the partners in the

respective region.

Talking about the same, Sameer Mathur, Head Solution Partners

Organization-Personal Systems Group, HP India stated, “Majority of our

businesses is managed through partners and since they have a vast experience in

varied verticals we thought that it is a great opportunity to take feedback from

them in terms of our products and policy. This will help us work more

collaboratively.”

He further added that HP wants to look at their existing channel policy in

terms of product price point, strategies and customer satisfaction and cover

every other element that touches the customers through partners.

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During the meet, partners shared feedbacks and the company also clarified the

role it wants the partners to play in increasing the company's marketshare and

penetration. During the meet one of the partners suggested that the company

should collaborate with some of the partners to reach out to newer sets of

customers.

Elaborating on the same Mathur said, “Prior to this we had never thought of

using our existing base of partners to reach out to newer customers and this is

one initiative that we are going to rollout soon. We are now going to create a

plan based on the feedback taken from the partners. This is the response that we

have got at the first level and in the second level we will identify the markets

and verticals that we have to explore.”

The company is also looking to be more flexible in terms of catering to the

need of the customers. Mathur added that many of the company's clients look for

certain products that are slightly de-featured and thus we are going to make our

plans and strategies in a way that it caters to the customer's requirement along

with partners. The company will also focus majorly on their printing business

and will work collaboratively with partners to increase their overall

marketshare in the printing space. HP will also rollout initiatives in terms of

growing awareness and increasing the penetration of the color printers products.

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In addition to this, the partners also gave response to the company's

existing channel policy. It may be noted that last year HP's direct sales team

locked horns with it's partners and went about poaching many of the customers

that actually belonged to the partners.

Throwing light on the same Mathur mentioned, “HP has a hybrid model of

addressing certain customers directly and still others through partners. Last

year there were certain problems between our direct model and our partners,

following which we launched a new initiative called rules of engagement policy

wherein we designed a documented framework in which we mentioned the accounts

where we will not interfere and allow our partners to operate directly and which

are the spaces where HP wants active participation from partners. This framework

will ensure that we don't have situations where conflicts will arise between the

company and the partners.”

The above policy has already been rolled out amongst the partners and the

company has recently completed its first round of communication with the

partners. However, there are certain issues to be addressed from the execution

point of view and the company is working on the same.

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Apart from this, some of the partners also drew HP's attention to another

area that will help them drive business comprehensively. Partners suggested that

the company should make investments into their (partner's) key sales and

management members so that they in turn can help the business to grow.

Indicating the same, Mathur said that over the past few years a lot of HP's

partners have scaled up to become a relatively big organization from a small

one. Prior to this the partners were managing the operations of the company on

their own, but now the proprietor are playing the role of the CEO's and have to

run their organization through their sales team. Thus the partner now has to

manage the organization, create leaders in the same and has to look at the

various business processes. This has generated the need for developing leaders

in the company who can manage operations effectively.

The partners have thus requested the company to invest in developing such

leaders through management, academy and motivational program.

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