IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

HP Launches Partner Education Platform with Enhanced Sales and Marketing Resources

Called HP University, the new training service is designed to help partners master the skills needed to prosper in an industry evolving from one-time product transactions to solution selling and recurring revenue models. By Rich Freeman

HP Inc. has rolled out a new training platform designed to help its partners hone the skills needed to promote and sell solutions rather than products.

Called HP University and officially available today, the new offering was unveiled on the second day of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP’s Reinvent World Partner Forum in Chicago.

HP University incorporates, replaces, and significantly expands upon HP’s previous partner education programs, augmenting the product, certification, and specialization resources the company has long made available to its channel with new self-paced and instructor-led sales and marketing training.

Those new courses draw heavily on materials HP developed internally in the months following its 2015 separation from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to help its own salespeople master unfamiliar skills like selling services and utilizing social networks as sales tools.

“We went through a complete revamp of our training catalog,” says Thomas Jensen, HP’s vice president of worldwide channel sales strategy.

The sales courses the company created are now available to its partners too. A new internal marketing curriculum still being finalized will become available through HP University as well during the vendor’s 2018 fiscal year, which begins in November.

Jensen, who declined to discuss fees in detail, said the new offerings are priced to cover HP’s development and delivery costs only, rather than to produce a profit.

“Our business is not training, so we don’t need to make money on it,” Jensen says. “We’ve done benchmarking across training vendors across the globe and we come in at the very, very low end of any benchmark that we see.”

The decision to add “soft skill” resources on topics like sales and marketing to HP University responds to requests from partners eager to embrace new solution-oriented, recurring revenue business models but unsure of how to do it.

“The channel is struggling to get there,” Jensen says. “We are going to give them access to our [in-house] catalog, because nobody else does.”

The rising importance of as-a-service products and solution selling will ultimately impact HP’s entire partner program in ways the company has just begun exploring.

“We’ve been used to measuring volume and sort of selling and rewarding our partner community based on volume,” Jensen says. “Eventually, the way we structure partner programs will have to change and the way we operate will have to change.” HP is discussing those changes for the first time with its worldwide partner advisory council this week, he adds.

Yesterday at Reinvent, HP announced a slew of new security, mobility, and management capabilities for its expanding A3 printer family. The Reinvent conference concludes on Wednesday.