HP defends Agent Program against accusations of direct dealing

HP defends Agent Program against accusations of direct dealing

HP has hit back at partner criticism of its Agent Program, insisting it is a “complementary channel” for resellers, rather than a play for direct business.

Last month some systems integrators claimed the program was effectively a referral program for HP to take reseller customers direct.

The program offers a one-off margin of about five per cent to partners who refer customers to HP’s direct sales force via a 1300 number or the Agent Direct area of HP’s online store,

But HP Teleweb director, Kaaren Lewis, who oversees the Agent Program, said it was “a comp­lementary channel program in place for our partners”.

“This is just a buying model that’s available to them,” Lewis said. “We take the credit risk, do the order management, housing and freight. But we still rely on our channel to drive that relationship.

“There’s no strategy around taking that business away. For us it’s about incremental business, not about switching business. We want our channel selling more HP than any of our competitors products.”

Lewis claimed the number of participating resellers had doubled since April, when 280 agents had signed to the program.

“Partners have voted yes to the program,” she said.

While the Agent Program currently sells mainly Compaq product, Lewis said the range was expanding “every day” and it was planned to become a merged HP and Compaq shop.

“Hopefully we’ll be through that process in the next half,” she said.

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