HP Appoints New Head of SMB Sales and Strategy

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Meaghan Kelly will become Hewlett-Packard’s new vice president of SMB Channel Sales and Strategy, replacing Ramona Thibeault, who is retiring after only nine months on the job.

Hewlett-Packard has appointed Meaghan Kelly to lead the vendor’s SMB channel sales and strategy, replacing Ramona Thibeault, who has retired after only nine months on the job. 

Kelly will assume the role of vice president, SMB Channel Sales and Strategy for HP’s Solution Partners Organization (SPO), effective Feb. 1, and will focus on continuing her predecessor’s strategy to drive partner growth and increase HP’s revenues through the lucrative SMB channel.

"We will focus increasingly on growing our market share with high-growth partners in the SMB space," Kelly told Channel Insider. "We are putting the bulk of resources toward partners who are the most entrenched in the space, who best understand the needs of SMB customers and who have the most SMB expertise."

Like Thibeault, Kelly will be responsible for all SMB-focused strategy and initiatives across HP’s three business units and will chair HP’s SMB Partner Advisory Council. Thibeault was promoted to what was then a newly created position in May 2008.

In an interview with Channel Insider, Thibeault said her biggest challenge was to find common ground and develop consistent strategy across SMB products from the three business units, though she stressed HP already has a number of successful SMB-focused initiatives, including free on-site training initiative for SMB partners and the vendor's SMB Expressway partner Web site, which offers marketing and sales collateral, support information and other information tailored to SMBs. 

Thibeault said there are numerous opportunities for HP's SMB partners, since HP has an incredible breadth and depth of products for them to sell.

"We are soup-to-nuts—from handhelds all the way to complex servers, from consumers to business," Thibeault said.

"We have the products. What we have to do is bundle the right product combinations together to get to the right customers," she said, adding that there's not just one simple answer when looking to fulfill as complex a market as SMBs. 

Kelly says she will devote resources to improving marketing programs and facilitate greater integration with HP’s PartnerOne program and the vendor’s TotalCare initiative. She also says there will be continued emphasis on solution selling across HP’s entire portfolio of solutions.

"Partners have to see HP as their No. 1 choice. We are making sure we have the right products and solution sets to make them profitable," she says.

And storage, servers and virtualization continue to be those "right products" for HP, as customers aim for greater efficiency and cost-savings. Kelly says larger SMBs especially – those with 500-999 employees – are increasingly adopting virtualization technologies.

Above all, Kelly says, HP’s investment in the SMB channel will remain strong.

"We see no slowdown whatsoever. This is a $68 billion market that we will continue to focus on," she says.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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