Hewlett Packard Enterprise has rolled out updates to its Partner Ready program designed to make transacting business with the company easier for resellers.
Timed to coincide with the start of HPE’s 2020 fiscal year this month, the changes include modified “instant pricing” on deals valued at less than $100,000. Partners will now receive a final quote on such bids immediately rather than go through an iterative, back-and-forth negotiation process.
“That’s the best price that we can provide based on our experience of providing thousands of prices for thousands of partners and customers,” says Paul Hunter, HPE’s global channel chief. “Our partners can be confident they’re getting the best price from us the first time around.”
Feedback from resellers indicated that they prefer receiving a firm quote fast to bargaining with HPE for a modestly better price over a longer period. “They didn’t want to wait,” Hunter says.
The instant pricing process is one of two HPE uses to get quotes out to partners. The other, called “escalated pricing” and used in conjunction with larger deals, is being streamlined for faster results as well.
“Historically, we had many levels of approval that were required as the deal got either more aggressive or more complex, and now we’re simplifying that,” Hunter says.
Another change to Partner Ready seeks to encourage more resellers to execute more demos for customers. Under new policies now in effect, all HPE partners are eligible for steeper discounts on demo gear in HPE’s innovation centers. Those lower fees apply to both hands-on and remotely delivered demos.†
Partners can now devote market development funds to demos too. “When we looked at the value and effectiveness in how MDF is spent, one of the areas that delivers the greatest return is on demo and proof-of-concept systems,” Hunter says. “We’re looking to scale the use of MDF for that.”
Enhancements to the new partner onboarding process, meanwhile, seek to help newcomers collaborate with HPE on hot sales opportunities more quickly.†
“Previously, we would make them go through a number of requirements in terms of capability and they would have to show they’ve got some expertise before we would engage in the discussion about the project,” Hunter explains. “We are reducing the entry requirements such that they don’t have to go through all of those hurdles, and we can start the conversation about eligibility and pricing right at the start.” As a result, he continues, an onboarding process that could take days to get through before can be completed in just hours instead.
Two further Partner Ready updates seek to accelerate what Hunter calls already strong momentum for through-channel sales of as-a-service solutions delivered via the GreenLake platform. First, HPE is rolling out a new standardized “quick quote” process designed to get pricing out to resellers within a few hours and in less than nine total steps.†
“Essentially, we’ve been selling tailor-made suits. Each one has been specific to the customer,” Hunter says. “What we’re looking to do is make the speed to quotes and the ease to quotes simpler.”
In addition, HPE is hiring new sales specialists tasked with generating partner-led GreenLake leads and helping partners pursue them. The goal, according to Hunter, is both to close more business with partners collaboratively in the short term and to teach them how to make sales on their own longer term.
“We’re finding that [when] we’re able to help with hunting for the first deal working alongside the partner, we’re able to teach the partner to fish, so they can fish for themselves,” he says.
HPE began selling GreenLake capacity through the channel last June and extended it deeper into mid-market opportunities a year later. As of the close of the latest quarter for which data is publicly available, partners were responsible for 25% of all consumption-based business, up from less than 5% at the beginning of 2018. The goal for the fiscal year beginning now is to reach 50%.
“We’ve seen terrific growth in our partner-led consumption,” Hunter says. “We’re looking to continue to increase the velocity.”
Building on programs like the Tech Pro community for solution architects that it introduced in March, HPE plans to invest in partner education programs as well, with an emphasis on sales and marketing resources that help partners convey the power and value of the latest HPE offerings.
“Partners were looking for us to do a better job bringing our propositions and strategy to life for them,” Hunter says, noting that resellers will soon gain access to a solution from sales readiness vendor MindTickle that the company’s own account reps have been using internally.
The latest wave of Partner Ready enhancements is less far-reaching than the deeper changes HPE announced last year, which included a whole new set of rules around rebates. “My team likes to call them essentially the small pieces,” Hunter says of this year’s updates. “They’re the details that make the program really sing and hum and work for partners.”
SMB sales are a top investment priority for HPE in its new fiscal year, according to Hunter, along with GreenLake solutions, edge computing, and storage systems. “The fifth area is continuing to invest in looking to be—and continuing to be—the best company to partner with,” he says.