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Hewlett-Packard announced Oct. 30 that it is opening thousands more clients to partners in 2007 in the final throes of its named accounts transition to define direct- and indirect-led channels.

The IT giant also adjusted compensation policy for its sales personnel to make more channel-neutral decisions when approaching the unnamed accounts.

The steps put the ball in the partner’s court, said John Thompson, HP’s vice president and general manager, Solution Partner Organization—Americas.

“This puts [those accounts] into a partner-led approach,” Thompson said. “We expect the partner to step up and lead the entire motion in this space.”

HP will also deploy territory sales representatives and a specialist approach to engage accounts in an “integrated” manner, across business units—Personal Systems Group, Imaging and Printing Group and Technical Solutions Group business unit—to identify and communicate opportunities and grow share of wallet in each account, HP executives said.

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HP expects the territory and specialist approach to accounts to encourage higher attach rates. The three units previously maintained separate territory organizations, often with separates partners and sales representatives approaching mutual customers or failing to communicate opportunities to each other, and left money on the table, HP executives, partners and analysts said.

Partner managers in each territory will be product and technology specialists with knowledge of the economics, business models and sales life-cycles of a specific technology, such as storage or servers, Thompson said.

The specialists will work with partners in the territories to grow business for each business group within an account.

The measure could equal “multi-billion dollar partner [and vendor] opportunity,” Thompson said.

“You have a lot of partners out there who are selling primarily printers [with IPG], but maybe 10 percent of their business is in storage,” Thompson said.

“Now, a lead specialist will be responsible for growing that storage business among the printer community and creating an opportunity along document management.”

The practice is already common, but not universal, among account and partner managers at HP.

The move requires new training for partner managers in additional product sets and revamped processes to eliminate barriers to coordination, HP said.