3 Ways Your Big Business Can Use Partners to Target SMBs



  • Building strong partnerships has become essential for delivering technology solutions to customers—especially when it comes to deploying IT at SMBs

HPEs Alessandra Brambilla discusses how HPE leverages the channel ecosystem to break into the SMB market

In today’s fast-changing business and IT environment, it’s safe to say that no vendor can go it alone. Building strong partnerships has become essential for delivering technology solutions to customers. This is especially the case when it comes to deploying IT at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

It’s certainly the case with HPE, which is working with multiple channel partners to help SMBs implement the technology they need in order to compete better and to deliver what their customers and employees want and expect.

Both the channel—the ecosystem of partners who resell products from original manufacturers such as HPE—and SMBs are an important part of the company’s business. This is particularly true for HPE’s Enterprise Group, which provides servers, networking technology, data storage systems and infrastructure solutions.

HPE sells most of its SMB products through the channel because channel partners have strong connections to niche markets such as SMBs. These channel partners are companies that have expertise in different markets such as healthcare, energy, financial services, etc., and they sell HPE products to companies in those sectors.

“Our SMB strategy is almost all channel-driven,” says Alessandra Brambilla, vice president of Enterprise Group Channels, EMEA at HPE. “We work with the partners to drive transformation for our customers. At the same time, we can maximize our market coverage and the revenues that we generate from these businesses.”

Because the SMB segment is extremely fragmented, it is almost impossible for a vendor working on its own to properly meet all the needs of an SMB customer, Brambilla says. That includes providing ongoing upgrades, maintenance and support.

“The partners have a very important role in integrating what HPE is providing in terms of technology solutions with their own intellectual property, to better address the specific needs of each of the SMB customers we have,” Brambilla says. “We don't provide the full solution for SMB customers. We provide the components of the solution and the partners provide added value from their understanding and their relationship with the customer. They provide some components of the solution based on their own intellectual property.”

Many of the channel partners already have ongoing relationships with the SMB customers. As a result, they're in a better position to understand a particular customer’s industry as well as its challenges and requirements.

Three ways to sell to SMBs

HPE has three major “phase motions” to support its partners within the SMB space.

  1. One is the territory business model, integrating the partners in an SMB ecosystem. “We maximize the coverage of the mid-market, integrating our salesforce with a partner’s salesforce to generate more demand,” Brambilla says.
  2. The second motion is the transactional business model. “That means targeting the volume business building capabilities within the partners and within HPE to shape the demand in the market to a limited number of high-velocity SKUs,” Brambilla says. “We align the demand with the product selection and the stock rotation and optimize the price positioning within the market.”
  3. And the third motion is the SMB Marketplace that HPE is piloting now in the U.S. It’s a lead generation marketplace for selected partners with ecommerce capabilities to showcase attach storage services options and other offerings. The goal is to generate demand from inventory at competitive prices.

These three motions enable HPE partners “to focus on the parts of the market that bring us the best return on investment, accelerating revenues and aligning our assets,” Brambilla says.

Teamwork makes the dream work

One example of HPE’s partner strategy in action is an IT infrastructure upgrade at Lucas Oil. The company wanted to consolidate systems to maximize productivity, growth and systems uptime while keeping costs in line, and engaged with HPE partner PCM to build a virtualization solution, network upgrades and disaster recovery.

With PCM’s help, Lucas Oil implemented a combination of HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen9 Servers for high density general-purpose computing and HPE MSA 2040 performance-optimized SAN with flexible connectivity options and support for flash media. Among the benefits it has seen are increased systems uptime and significant savings in power and cooling.

“Our channel partners are a critical factor in our success in the SMB space,” Brambilla says. “We need them in order to grow that business.” 

Compete big—at any size. To discover how HPE can help your SMB find the right IT for your business priorities, CLICK HERE.