HP Inc. has announced changes to its partner portals, training site, and financing programs aimed at helping its nearly 21,000 Partner First program members sell faster in a market increasingly hungry for subscription-based purchasing options.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based manufacturer unveiled the updates on day one of its Reinvent partner conference in Houston.
In a process set to begin in April and unfold gradually over the ensuing six to eight months, HP will roll its Partner First portal into its Sales Central site to create a unified sales, marketing, administrative, and operational resource. The combined tool will help partners complete deals faster by reducing the number of interfaces they must interact with during and after the sales process, according to Dave Lobato, head of worldwide digital sales engagement platforms at HP.
“When you have folks within your business who have multiple touchpoints when they’re trying to conduct business with us, reducing that actually helps them be more efficient and effective,” he says.
The merged portal, which will utilize the Sales Central name, will feature a support chatbot designed to help users search for needed answers about 80,000 active HP print and PC products as well as over 240,000 discontinued SKUs. Users locate information three times faster on average using the bot, according to Lobato, and save 35 to 55 minutes per week.
Coming to Sales Central as well this summer is a gamification-as-a-service offering designed to boost completion of interactive sales training programs by rewarding users for participating in course-related challenges and competitions. The new resource, which will include a virtual store where users can redeem accumulated points, increased engagements rates by more than 3,500x in pilot tests.
“It’s very compelling to users when they come into a platform and there’s some sort of competitive environment,” Lobato says. “It just improves their ability to learn, it improves their ability to transfer knowledge, it improves their ability to engage.”
Sales Central is one of HP’s most popular resources among partners, Lobato adds.
Also in the works for an official launch later this year is a new financing program called HP Integrated Financial Solutions. Unlike prior offerings, the new one will partner with multiple funding sources, including two “strategic global providers” plus a mix of additional local and regional institutions. Expanding from one financing partner to many will reduce risk for HP by widening its credit options and also increase access to global markets, according to Head of Worldwide Leasing and Financing Deborah Baker.
“If you deal with a single provider, you’re only in as many countries as that provider is in,” she says. “Once we’re able to leverage a multi-vendor strategy, then we can really begin to scale across all of the countries that we’re interested in moving into.”
The new program will benefit partners as well, Baker continues, by delivering instant credit approvals, automated document management, electronic signature collection, and other new capabilities to mobile as well as desktop devices. “Portals and mobile apps will enable channel partners to provide quotes and close deals anywhere, anytime, while providing a really best-in-class customer as well as partner experience,” Baker says.