It’s All in the Channels



HP India is inventing newer ways to propel its products into India’s
channel dependent IT market.

The latest initiatives seem to be reaping benefits for HP. Having increased
its market share, it is now bullish on gains in the government sector too.

The channel structure for HP in India comprises registered resellers at the
roots, around 350 business partners and 150 premier business partners in the top
tier. Partners are categorized into these three tiers on the basis of the volume
of business they bring in and their reach in the particular area. Currently, HP
has been focusing on consolidating this structure and filtering out members who
do not make any quantitative or qualitative addition to HP’s market share. The
company is also trying to purge an inter-tier layer, sub-distributors. It also
plans to induct new business partners, who have not done any business with HP in
the past, in order to drive its recent strategy of capturing the government
sector.

SMART
MOVE:
The training of HP sales
reps as well as those of partners and resellers is a hot new
initiative
The
new strategy
  • Focus on the government sector
  • Training of business
    partners for specified number of days

  • Individual time-bound targets for
    sales representatives
  • Providing business partners with
    support linkages
  • Increased interface with its channel
    partners
  • Consolidating its premier business
    partners
  • Providing incentives directly to
    sales representatives of dealers

The training of HP sales representatives as well as those of its business
partners and registered resellers, is a significant aspect of the new strategy.
The company is creating a consolidated database of its sales representatives
across the country. HP intends to allocate individual targets to each member of
its sales team. It is also trying to personalize the incentive schemes for these
sales representatives and ‘e-points’ is a step towards this.

According to Vibhor Bansal, programs manager, SMB, HP India, e-points lets
the scheme members (sales representative) avail of various gifts on the points
he or she has earned through selling various HP products. And the gift could
range from a modest toaster to a nine-day trip to exotic locations like
Australia. ‘‘E-points is a program aimed at boosting the loyalty of the
sales force across the nation and express confidence in them. The idea is to
personalize incentives, so that the efforts of these sales representatives are
recognized,’’ explains Bansal.

HP is also aggressively enrolling new sales representatives for this scheme.
The company currently has approximately 1,400 sales representatives in India,
out of which, close to 800 are active. To entice better channel partner
participation, HP is working out programs like storage plans, color plans and
final tier performance plus (FTPP) or sales representative plans. But then,
interfacing with such a huge channel community is the biggest challenge ahead
for HP and it is also working out strategies to increase channel interaction.

The company already has an account management team in place and an external
agency that is running the show. It is also using the Web extensively to manage
communication with its channel partners. Another major challenge before HP is to
make these schemes run seamlessly and in an unbiased manner. To counter this, it
has appointed Serve Gold as the audit agency to review the sales proofs for its
e-points program.

Commenting on the present strategies, Rajkumar Rishi, country manager,
commercial business, HP India, said, "HP has felt the need to strengthen
its roots in the channel network for a smooth sailing business in India. Making
the channel relations impeccable will only help us. This strategy is aimed at
making our communication better and to educate the channel partners for our
benefit."

Asim Raina and Shweta
Sharma
/CNS

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