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HP rolls out carpet for VAR sales reps

New program gives option of putting rewards into RRSPs or buying HP stock

Hewlett-Packard Canada partners will be able to get cash or incentives for taking online product training courses under an overhauled partner program.

The Blue Carpet Program replaces the manufacturer’s three-year old “Better Together” program with enriched offerings to encourage reseller staff to sell HP solutions.

Not only will partners be able to put money into their RRSPs or buy HP stock, they’ll be able to get their rewards weeks earlier than the existing program.

“We really wanted to give our partners and our partner sales reps a flexible rewards program that will compensate them quickly,” said Rose Genovese, a channel program manager for HP Canada’s solutions partner group.

The plan, offered only in Canada, promises payback in up to three weeks, compared to up to eight weeks under the old program.

It continues paying resellers for selling HP hardware and software, but will now pay between $10 and $20 for Webinars on Care Pack services, software, storage solutions and mobility solutions.

Genovese said 16 modules are on the Web now, and more will be added.

Participants can take sales and training rewards loaded onto an HP-branded American Express debit card that can be spent anywhere Amex is accepted, put cash into RRSPs (starting in January), make a charitable donation, buy HP stock or spend it on HP commercial and consumer products at the HP online rewards store.

Under the old program rewards could either be spent at the store or sent to the recipient by cheque.

Kitty Atkinson, vice-president of sales and marketing at Tenet Computer Group of Toronto, with annual sales of about $20 million, is enthusiastic about the new program. “It’s good for us because our reps are being trained and getting compensated for it,” she said Tuesday from an HP conference in Niagara Falls, Ont. where partners were briefed on the program.

“A lot of the time they (sales reps) have do to it after hours, and this is a way of paying for their time.” She also likes that the program incents sales staff to attach HP hardware and peripherals as much as possible.

“We wanted a program that was geared to helping (partners) succeed in their business,” said Genovese. “We know driving attach is going to increase the value of the (sales) deal, and therefore increase profitability.”

To help VAR owners and managers, the HP Canada PartnerOne site will also let them track how many courses their employees are taking and how they’re doing on exams. That information had been a “black hole,” said Genovese.

“In developing loyalty we really wanted to ensure they (VAR employees) are coming to the site more often to have a look at what’s there. In the past it was more or less a claiming site . . . now it’s more on an interactive site.”