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HP Relying More On Channel Sales

Hewlett-Packard has started to turn over to the channel previously direct accounts that were buying through its call center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Part of its new SMB sales engagement strategy, the move comes just weeks after the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor said it would stop making outbound telesales calls from its call center after years of bitter channel conflicts caused by telesales reps calling into solution provider accounts, often offering better pricing.

“HP wants to be out of the face-to-face business,” said Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, a solution provider in Green Bay, Wis. “We are the guys who are fighting the fight, not the ones booking the fight,” he added. “If we can tell them how to win the fight, I think they’ll win.”

Pete Busam, vice president and COO of Decisive Business Systems, a solution provider in Pennsauken, N.J., agreed that he’s started to see a dramatic turnaround in how HP works with the channel on SMB accounts. “We’ve just gotten e-mails all of a sudden from them [HP’s call center] for customers that they’ve made appointments with, and they’ve asked us to handle the appointments,” Busam said.

Last month, HP promised that the call center would stop making outbound sales calls. As part of the new strategy designed to clarify rules of engagement governing HP’s business class products, including PCs, workstations, industry-standard servers and business-class storage, the company also said that it would unveil a named-account list to identify where it will engage customers on a direct basis.

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