The 145 Canadian partner companies attending the annual HP Americas Partners Conference left Las Vegas with new country-specific demand generation, rebate and marketing plans for 2005. 

Dave Frederickson, vice-president of HP Canada’s

solution partner organization, said the subsidiary has never done anything this large from a partner perspective and that all these programs support ease of doing business, colloboration and growth.

Called PowerTools, the demand and lead generation programs will attempt to further HP’s efforts with the channel on co-branded messaging for the marketplace. In this plan, solution providers will be able to leverage HP communications to help them get in front of C-level executives. One initiative will see HP Canada send remote controlled race cars with HP messages such as server consolidation, adaptive enterprise and balanced deployment on imaging/printing to customers — but with a catch. For the customer to operate the toy car, they will need to contact a partner who has the remote control. 

HP Canada also introduced the Assigned Rebate Model (ARM) program. Resellers are assigned the rebate from a particular distributor, including Ingram Micro, Tech Data or Synnex. Currently, this program is in the pilot stage, Frederickson said. The program will be first rolled out to PartnerOne Diamond and Platinum partners starting in April.

The ARM program will also address the growing problem of grey market. IN the past, distributors purchased HP products and partners received a standard price for those products before asking for the rebate. With ARM every price will be on the specific business opportunity. “The partners buy at one price and they do not have to claim back the rebate, so that particular customer also knows the price they are getting,” Kent said.

Frank Abate, president of Mississauga, Ont.-based Infinity Technologies, was chosen by HP Canada to test the ARM program. “From a cash flow perspective, by moving it to an upfront cost is very helpful. ARM looks after cash flow and removes the grey market option for VARs who still dabble in it,” Abate said.

He added that grey market activity has dramatically decreased from a year ago. “HP has done a good job in this respect and the ARM program just closes one more loop hole,” Abate said.

Frederickson said HP Canada is also trying to cut down the turnaround time for issuing rebates and eliminate some of the administration around claiming rebates. Currently, rebates are paid out every 45 days, he said. In some cases, HP Canada will eliminate rebates altogether with aggressive prices on specific SKUS to go after SMB and larger accounts. “No dicker sticker. Here is the price and it is set up so there is no back-end rebate,” he said.

HP Canada also wants to dramatically cut down the 45 days it takes to issue rebate checks. In that regard, the subsidiary is automating the rebate process on certain products so that partners no longer have to fill in claim forms. Partners will also be able to check rebates online. “It is predictable so they can manage cash flow better, which is a big part of the total partner profitability message,” said Heather Kent, vice-president of marketing for HP Canada.

HP has banged the collaboration drum throughout the conference. The event included approximately 1,000 one-on-one meetings. About 150 of those meetings will involve Canadian partners, Frederickson said. Back home, HP Canada inside and outside sales representatives will be trained on the rules of engagement so that the company is sure of what the channel can deliver in terms of vertical solutions with ISVs, for example.

“Part of our job is to connect the dots and have those engagement discussions. What is the plan? How do we go to market together? What are the roles and responsibilities? It goes back to being predictable,” Kent said.

Abate, who has attended many HP Americas Partner Conferences, said he has noticed the increased focus. “They know they have to aggressively co-market and co-lead with the channel for almost all customers in Canada because they do not have the headcount to deal direct with customers,” Abate said.

The final program revolves around the Campaign Central Partner Portal. According to Kent, the company is expanding it by adding the SMB Network program and leveraging new HP global marketing initaties. “We want to make sure we are co-branding with partners. This will help to localize partner marketing efforts. They can take advantage of the marketing (materials) HP has created so that it is cost-effective for them. We are making a big splash,” Kent said.

With this program, partners can expect at least 30 per cent cost savings, she added.

Frederickson said that the projected ROI for these programs will be 686 to 1. “That means for every dollar invested by a partner, they could receive $686 dollars in revenue,” he said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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