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Whitman vows to end channel conflict at HP

Direct sales teams made to honor partner-led deals

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Direct-sales staffers who continue to pilfer deals from under the nose of channel partners do not have a long-term future at the company, top brass at HP claim.

A Rules of Engagement template has been devised by the vendor, designed to give confidence to partners that their investment in certifications to specialize in products and services will be protected

In a keynote at the Global Partner Conference, CEO and president Meg Whitman said partners had "literally built" HP's business over the years, and clarified the firm's position regarding channel conflict.

"Now have a very clear policy about taking business away from our channel and going direct," she said. "My message is that this simply will not be tolerated.

"Everyone in the HP organisation is crystal clear on the behavior we expect. I am holding myself and the executives accountable for that," she added.

The news was met with applause from the 2,100 audience of "elite" channel organizations, suggesting this was a pain point for more than a few of them.

She added there are accounts that HP will take direct, but there must be "no mystery" in the process, and that partners who have done months of work on a deal will be paid even if transacted by HP.

Peter Ryan, senior veep at HP's Enterprise Group, told The Channel that there is "more exec level engagement with the partners than ever before.

"If we don't do that it sends the wrong message to the [wider] sales force," he claimed.

All HPers will be trained on the Rules of Engagement from partner business managers to the direct sales force, he said.

Firing staff for pinching deals may prove problematic given the different employment legislation across the globe.

But Ryan said for those that flout the policy, there will be implications .

"If [someone] does not behave [in a way we expect], we'll coach and encourage them," he said. "If they don't feel conformable with that, they are probably not going to have a long-term future at HP".

Ryan said HP wants channel partners to go for certifications and will use registration to protect that investment by making the sales cycles on a deal more visible.

Roughly 70 per cent of HP's business is transacted through channel partners. ®

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