Hewlett-Packard (HP) is set to introduce a number of incentives aimed at helping VARs make the transition from product reseller to service provider.
Taking the application service provider (ASP) model as the standard platform for IT services, HP executives said the vendor would commit $4m (£2.5m) of resources to encourage resellers to become agents for the ASP market.
As well as providing cooperative marketing funds for resellers that work with ASPs to generate leads, HP will also set up an agent depot portal, an online resource providing VARs and ASPs with services such as credit management and lead generation information. The vendor also said it will encourage PC and printer resellers to become trade agents and "enter the ASP ecosystem".
Beatrice Masini, channel and mid-market sales and marketing manager at HP, said the strategy would "redefine the channel model" for VARs that target medium-sized firms, the so-called sweet spot for the ASP model.
"ASPs need to cast a wide net, and for this they need feet on the street.
Margin is moving from the sale of product to the sale of services, but the Internet has not changed the fact that the customer will buy from a local representative they know and trust.
"But no one is entitled to discount. Discount is a function of the value you bring to the table. This is margin for value," Masini added.
Although HP eventually aims to bring its entire network of 1,700 European resellers into the agency model, Masini said in the first instance the vendor will target its 40 largest VARs, which account for 90 per cent of its indirect business in the region.
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