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Your MVP is complete. Some seed funding is in the bank, or maybe even a Series A. You’re anxious to see if your product flies off the shelf. It’s time to make that first sales hire.
This is a big step. The right call can establish the rocket-ship revenue chart every founder dreams of. The wrong call can be bring down the company.
At HubSpot, I hired over 200 salespeople. I made a lot of mistakes. I figured a few things out. Over the years, I have leveraged this experience to help dozens of startups with this critical first sales hire decision.
Mistake #1: Hiring a senior leader
“Yes! We just recruited the director of sales at the public company we are looking to disrupt.”
No! Trouble awaits.
Often startups get greedy and go after the big name leader in their space. Here is the issue - this leader has not sold on the front-line in years. The first question she will ask when joining the company is “where is my assistant?”. You need someone who is closer to the front line and is willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
Mistake #2: Placing too much weight on industry experience
Me: “What is the top criteria you are looking for in your first sales hire?”
Startup Founder: “Experience in our industry”
I receive the above answer 99% of the time. It does not sit well with me. The answer sounds logical. Domain experience is certainly straight forward to assess. However, all too often, startups put too much emphasis on candidates’ industry experience and miss real weaknesses in their abilities.
Don’t get me wrong. We hired plenty of sales people at HubSpot from our industry. However, believe it or not, it was a minority case. Most folks came from outside of the marketing software space and even outside of software and tech altogether. I would rather have the below average performers stay with our competitors. Go find the rock star from a dying industry and bring them into your space.
Mistake #3: Placing too little weight on go-to-market strategy experience
When your first sales hire joins the company, the go-to-market strategy is typically not developed. Who should they call? Big companies? Small companies? Should they focus on closing the C-level decision maker or getting the end user into a free trial? Will they sell direct or through a partner channel? Will deals require an in-person visit or can they be completed over the phone? Will they work with inbound inquiries or outbound cold calls?
Most sales people and sales leaders will simply try to replicate the go-to-market strategy from their previous employer. It worked then. It should work again, right?
As a founder, consider your buyer, your product, and your company strategy when determining your company’s ideal go-to-market approach. Be sure your first sales hire has experience with that approach or is at least willing to adapt and learn.
Mistake #4: Overlooking sales process development experience
“Yes! We just hired the top sales person from our Fortune 500 competitor. This salesperson was ranked #1 out of 1800 sales people. She is going to crush it here.”
I agree. This salesperson is talented. However, these will be her first questions when she arrives at your company:
§ “Where is the pitch deck?”
§ “What is the sales process I should follow?”
§ “Where is the list of top 10 objections and how I should handle them?”
You’ll be scratching your head, “I thought that is why we hired you”.
When this top salesperson started at your Fortune 500 competitor, she attended a month of training, walking through the blueprint of success. She is great at following the blueprint. In fact, she is the best.
However, can she build the blueprint? Probably not. You need someone that can work in a far less structured environment and at least lay out the foundations of the company’s first sales process.
Mistake #5: Hiring a “product pitcher” rather than a “consultative seller”
Believe it or not, the most valuable result from your first thousand sales calls will not be the early customers or revenue these calls produce. Instead, it will be the plethora of feedback from the market, allowing your team to continue to understand your buyer persona, iterate on your product, and perfect your market message.
Unfortunately, many salespeople will approach these early calls as an opportunity to dump as much information about the product and its beautiful features on the prospect, an approach we call “show up and throw up” in the industry. Chances are, your features and message are not quite right. The salesperson will fail to engage the prospect and throw up his hands, “it’s not working”.
The key question is “why?”.
Alternatively, a consultative seller will leverage the first sales calls to learn about the prospective buyer. They will learn about their goals, learn about the strategy they have to pursue these goals, and learn about the challenges they are facing in these pursuits. A consultative seller will be able to come back to the team with the same “it’s not working” result but they will understand why. As a result, the organization can continue to refine its approach and tighten the product/market fit even further.
I hope these five mistakes help you hone your skills as you embark on the exciting phase of scaling sales. The next logical question is where can I find candidates that avoid these mistakes. Here are a few ideas.
1. A recently promoted sales manager at a reasonably sized business. They are not too far from the front-line but also have some experience in sales process development.
2. A failed entrepreneur with formal sales training in their past. They usually score high in the consultative selling arena and experience with unstructured environments.
3. A top-performing salesperson that was around in the early days of their previous company’s growth. They may not have built the process. However, they certainly watched someone do it and had a hand in it.
Any other ideas?
This is a guest post by Mark Roberge. If you liked this article, check out Mark Roberge’s new book that launched this week, “The Sales Acceleration Formula”, about his experience in building the HubSpot sales team.
For years, we've been reporting on HP's troubled Enterprise Services business unit. That's the group that handles consulting, outsourcing, and other hands-on services for big HP customers.
On Tuesday, HP executives said that the company's promised turnaround rests on this unit finally getting its act together.
On Tuesday, HP reported earnings for the quarter ended in January. Revenue was down 5% overall from last year's quarter, across nearly all units.
But Enterprise Services revenue dropped 11% from a year ago.
On the quarterly conference call with analysts, CEO Meg Whitman and CFO Cathie Lesjak spanked Enterprise Services (or ES) with a back-handed compliment.
HP had just offered grim guidance on profits for the next quarter, and explained that most of that was because of foreign exchange rates. They insisted when measuring performance using constant currency, they would end 2015 with flat overall revenues. That means HP would stop shrinking.
"ES, this will be the key," Whitman said. "We expect better revenue performance from ES in the second half."
She described the situation like water draining out of the tub.
"Think of it like the bathtub and the water is going to stop draining out of the bathtub as fast as it has, so the water we pour in ought to lead to a rising level in the tub," Whitman said.
Then she qualified that even if ES revenue isn't exactly rising, she expects the unit to have "a much slower rate of decline by the end of the year .... But we have to continue to execute."
Cathie Lesjak agreed precisely that "HP ES is key" to flat revenues next year when comparing constant currency.
Earlier in the day, HP had announced a huge, 10-year, multi-billion customer contract with Deutsche Bank where the bank hired HP to build it a more efficient data center that uses "hybrid cloud" technology. Lesjak told analysts on the call that HP has also already won another big deal that hasn't been announced yet.
"Key account runoff that we've been talking about really abates in the second half of the year," she said.
In other words, the customers that have decided not to renew huge outsourcing contracts with HP will be mostly cleared out.
The situation isn't entirely HP's fault. Giant decade-long outsourcing contracts have gone out of vogue these days. Companies today are using more cloud computing, buying apps as a service, and updating their data centers to be less expensive and more efficient, a trend called hybrid computing.
But HP is also facing a ton of competition for this highly lucrative hybrid computing work from old competitors like IBM and new ones like Red Hat.
The numbers certainly show that the bleeding at HP Enterprise Services has to end. The group's revenue decreased 11% last quarter from a year ago. It dropped 7% the quarter before, 6% the previous quarter, and down by another 7%, and another 7% ... you get the idea.
This unit has seen its fair share of HP's 55,000 layoffs that are still going on. Employees at the unit tell us managers come and go like a drive-through.
HP's massive layoffs will continue beyond 55,000 people, thanks to its plans to separate into two huge companies, CFO Cathie Lesjak indicated on Tuesday.
This shouldn't be a shock.
As soon as HP started talking about its plans to split itself from one ginormous company into two enormous ones, people started asking about layoffs. Both Lesjak and CEO Meg Whitman have been hinting for months that the separation would probably involve more cuts.
HP is so big, with more than 300,000 employees, that when it separates it will create two Fortune 50-sized companies. Any such reorganization normally includes job cuts.
Plus, HP is already in the midst of a headcount reduction that began in 2012 and has grown from an initial target of 27,000 to 55,000.
On Tuesday's earnings call, Lesjak said 2,800 people had "exited the company" during the quarter that ended in January. Not all left via layoffs: We know long-term HP employees who have taken early retirement packages or left for new jobs.
So far, 44,000 people have been cut under HP's 2012 plan. By October, when HP's fiscal year ends, "55,000 people are expected to exit. However, we do anticipate incremental opportunity for operational improvements identified through the separation process," said Lesjak on the call.
In other words, she doesn't know — or isn't saying yet — how many people the company will cut as it splits but it sees an opportunity to cut more.
We've talked to some HP employees, and they aren't particularly worried. That's because while cutting, HP is also investing in hot areas like cloud, networking, and advanced systems, and there are long-term career options for many people in those business units.
Earlier this week, it came out that Lenovo had shipped a piece of software called Superfish on a bunch of new computers.
the software was a potential security nightmare. It hijacked security certificates from web sites that the user was visiting, which could have allowed hackers to steal user information using the same technique.
Lenovo formally apologized for Superfish yesterday, and admitted that even before the security problems became obvious, it was considering removing Superfish because it "frustrated some users without adding value to the experience."
This was an extreme example of what's come to be called "crapware" — software that PC makers ship on new machines not because it provides any particular value to the customer, but because these software companies pay them for distribution.
PC makers have done this for decades. It's one way they can make a little extra money in what has long been a commoditized market.
Most PCs are roughly the same — they run the same versions of Windows and have a lot of the same hardware components, so the only way PC makers can really compete is on price. Bundling this kind of software helps them fight this race to the bottom.
But there's one PC maker that doesn't need to bundle crapware: Microsoft.
The Surface hasn't been a great business for Microsoft. The first version of Surface ran a specialized tablet-only version of Windows that could not run older applications. It was a flop, and Microsoft had to write down almost $1 billion in unsold inventory.
But eventually Microsoft moved away from the tablet focus and turned Surface into more of a MacBook Air competitor — only with a detachable keyboard and a touch screen. The current version, the Surface Pro 3, has been selling pretty well and has been profitable for Microsoft for the last two quarters.
The thing is, Surface was never meant to be a huge money maker. Microsoft makes its money on software, not hardware.
Surface was meant to show the best possible user experience for Windows. It was to show how Microsoft had designed an operating system that worked on traditional PCs and touch-screen tablets. It was to show off interesting hardware innovations, like the detachable keyboard. It was meant to spur Microsoft's hardware partners to take advantage of Windows 8 in the same way.
And while Windows 8 had some fundamental problems, at least you knew that if you bought a Surface, Microsoft wouldn't load it down with a bunch of junky software from other companies.
Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft is rethinking its Windows business. But the Superfish incident shows that there's still a really good reason for Microsoft to keep making its own PCs.
Former Kleiner Perkins partner Trae Vassallo testified in court on Tuesday that she was harassed by the same partner that Ellen Pao named in her discrimination lawsuit against her former employer.
Both women worked for Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a famous venture capital firm that's invested in tech giants like Amazon and Google.
Pao is seeking $16 million in damages from the firm, alleging the firm discriminated against her, denying her promotions and chances at big deals, because of her gender.
As part of her suit, Pao claims she was pressured into having an affair with partner Ajit Nazre, and was subjected to harassment after it ended. The firm eventually fired her. Nazre left in 2011.
Kleiner Perkins has said that Pao failed at the firm because she was difficult to get along with, and did not have the necessary skills to thrive. In opening arguments, attorney Lynne Hermle said Pao was asked to move on because she had failed to perform as a junior partner at the company.
Vassallo was the equivalent of a junior partner — the same as Pao — before becoming a general partner at Kleiner. She left the firm last September.
In her testimony, Vassallo described an uncomfortable incident with Nazre in 2009, when she said he made unwelcome advances toward her under the pretense of a work meeting.
"We went to a bar in Palo Alto to talk green tech strategy," she said. "He started touching me with his leg under the table. I stopped him immediately."
Vassallo said she told Nazre that she wasn't interested in a relationship and that he was "hot and cold" toward her after the incident.
Although Vassallo told Kleiner about what had happened with Nazre, he allegedly continued pursuing her when both of them were in New York in 2011.
"He set up a dinner with a particular person who's very well known in an industry and could be very helpful to one of my portfolio companies, and asked if I wanted to join the dinner," she said.
When Vassallo arrived at the restaurant for dinner, the third member of their party was nowhere to be found, she testified.
"I started to think, maybe this meeting wasn't a real meeting," said Vassallo.
After the dinner, Vassallo said Nazre showed up at the door of her hotel room in a bathrobe and slippers.
"I eventually pushed him out and closed the door," she said.
When Vassallo met with partner emeritus Ray Lane about what had happened he allegedly joked "you should be flattered," and asked what she wanted him to do.
Under cross-examination Vassallo said that Kleiner investor John Doerr was committed to bringing women to the firm. But the firm's lawyers did not ask her about the alleged incidents with Nazre.
Madeline Stone / Business InsiderWith a suite of mobile apps, educational materials, and automated tools, Betterment says it wants to make it easier for people to manage their personal investments.
Last week, the company announced it had raised an additional $60 million in Series D funding led by Francisco Partners. The round, which valued the company at nearly $500 million, brought the startup's total funds to $105 million.
Investors include Citi Ventures, Northwestern Mutual, Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, and Anthemis Group.
The 90 employees work out of gorgeous, light-filled offices in New York City, where they can relax in a wood-paneled library or enjoy free, professionally cooked meals several times a week. (Another startup, Homepolish, helped Betterment with the interior design.)
We recently stopped by to check it out for ourselves.
A TV ad for British mobile handset company Kazam (watch it in full below) has been banned in the UK on the grounds that it was likely to objectify women.
The ad, created by Ogilvy & Mather, aimed to showcase "the world's slimmest phone," Kazam's Tornado 348. The black and white footage featured a woman in only her underwear, slinking through a house.
The camera then cut to a scene where she ran her finger down her cleavage, bit her lip, then proceeded to move her hand over her hip and thigh. Later on in the ad, the camera cut to a close-up of her bottom.
The ad sparked eight complaints, who objected to the spot because "it was overtly sexual and objectified women, and because the content bore no relationship to the advertised product," according to the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) adjudication published Wednesday. Eight complaints may not seem like a lot, but it only takes one complaint for the ASA to investigate an ad to see if it is in breach of the UK's advertising codes.
The ASA ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. (However, at the time of writing, it still appears on Kazam's YouTube page.
The ad watchdog noted that the ad focused almost entirely on the actor in her underwear and the sexually suggestive nature of the spot was heightened by the music, and also the fact that the scenes in the ad had little relation to the Kazam Tornado 348. The ASA concluded the ad was likely to cause "serious offense" to some viewers, on the basis that it objectified women.
In response to the complaints, Kazam said its ad was actually playing to the idea that the phone was so slim it could easily be forgotten if it were left in a shirt pocket. The spot was meant to play out a "well-known scenario" (ironing your shirt in your underwear before you go out) but with the added twist that the phone was so slim, the actor didn't realize she was ironing over it.
Kazam also added that it was careful to ensure the ad was only broadcast during programs appropriate to the "tongue-in-cheek" nature of the ad, and shows that were unlikely to be viewed by children.
Clearcast, the UK's broadcasting clearing body, said while the scenes in the ad were "slightly sexual" it did not believe they were "gratuitous or likely to cause offense." Nevertheless, the spot was given an "ex-kids" restriction.
Business Insider has contacted Kazam for comment about the company's opinion on the ruling and will update this article when a response has been received.
Here's the banned Kazam TV ad in full:
Presumptive 2016 presidential candidate Hilary Clinton isn't buying into the wearables trend.
Clinton was interviewed by Re/Code's Kara Swisher at the Lead On Conference in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday.
Most of the conversation was devoted to more heady topics, but at one point Swisher asked whether Clinton was a Fitbit wearer or was holding out for the Apple Watch.
Clinton replied that she'd been given three Fitbits and Jawbones, but she never really took to them. "You can tell I am not doing Fitbit," Clinton reportedly said. "Do I really want something telling me I should do what I know what I should do?"
They also talked about:Women in technology. In a speech preceding the interview, Clinton noted that the percentage of female computer scientists had dropped from 38% in the 1980s to 18% now. She said that she wanted to "unpack" that statistic a little bit to figure out what was going on and how to fix it. She noted that a lot of tech companies have a "Wild West" environment that's not very kind to women. Net neutrality. Clinton said she's in favor of it. Specifically, she agrees with the current proposal that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to use its authority to regulate internet providers the same way they regulate telephone companies, forcing them to treat all internet traffic the same way. "It’s a foot in the door. It’s a value statement, but it’s not the end of the discussion." Edward Snowden and the NSA. She could "never condone" what he did, noting that he "stole millions of documents." But she did say that the NSA needs to be more transparent about what it's doing, saying "People felt betrayed."
Her Apple fandom. She owns an iPhone (and a Blackberry, which is standard government-issue for highly secure communications), as well as an iPad and an iPad mini. Apparently, she's not an Android user. When she'll declare. "All in good time." She said she's talking to a lot of people and still has some items to cross off her list before she officially enters the presidential race.
HP is about three months into its plans to cleave itself into two huge tech companies and it's finally figured out how much this process will cost: about $2 billion.
HP will spend $1.3 billion of pre-tax separation costs in its current fiscal year (2015) and another $500 million in its next fiscal year (2016), said HP CFO Cathie Lesjak on its quarterly earnings conference call.
There's also approximately $750 million of foreign taxes to pay after it pockets about $200 million foreign tax credits, HP mentioned in the materials it published with its quarterly conference call.
"The scale of this separation is unprecedented in it's size and complexity," explained Lesjak.
Added CEO Whitman, "We are separating into two Fortune 50 companies. It's hard to imagine that there are two Fortune 50 companies embedded inside HP."
That means there's a whole bunch of one-time costs to pay: building out two individual IT systems, plus consulting fees, legal fees, real estate expenses and those foreign taxes thanks to HP's huge international presence.
And this doesn't include any layoffs that might come as part of the separation costs. And they will come, Lesjak confirmed on Tuesday, although she didn't announce how many jobs will be cut.
HP reported middling earnings and gave weak guidance on Tuesday, sending its stock down more than 7% after hours.
One Snapchat feature is getting "tens of millions" of views, Gigaom reported Tuesday.
Snapchat's "Our Story" shows a crowdsourced, aggregated group of individual users' Snapchats based around an event, such as Oktoberfest, a collegiate football game, or the Westminster Dog Show.
Our Story launched last summer, and lets users who are at an Our Story event — and have their location services — enabled share their Stories with a broader audience.
In line with the rest of Snapchat's features, each Our Story feature lasts 24 hours before it self-destructs.
Some users are seeing more than a million views on their individual Snapchat Stories that get featured in Our Story. This could be an indicator for how Snapchat performs as a broadcast medium.
Gigaom says some users are getting astronomical numbers of views on their Stories:
Dana Krangel, a marketing manager for a social headphones company, landed the first snap on the CES "Techies in Vegas" story. It saw over 27 million views. "I didn’t even realize it made it to the Our Story until all these random people from my past started posting on my Facebook wall," Krangel told me. "My sister doesn’t have Snapchat and our 13-yr-old niece sent it to her. Someone in New Zealand even tweeted it at me."
However, it's unclear whether figures — like Krangel's 27 million views — account for multiple views made by the same people. By comparison, the Grammy Awards had roughly 28.5 million viewers this year, which was "the second largest audience for the awards broadcast since 1993," according to CBS. And, Gigaom points out, the series finale of Breaking Bad had 10.3 million viewers.
Snapchat took its first step into broadcast in January with the launch of Snapchat Discover, a platform where users can view 24-hour content from brands like Vice and Cosmopolitan.
Snapchat also recently launched its first original series, called "Literally Can't Even." New episodes of the show are added to Snapchat Discover every weekend and last for 24 hours. The series chronicles the mishaps and adventures of two twenty-something women, played by Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn.
You can check out Gigaom's full report here.
AmazonWe've found the coolest iPad stand out there.
With Twelve South's HoverBar 3, you can attach your iPad to the side of your desktop, or use it as a substitute laptop.
The HoverBar comes with fit clips so that you can use it with an iPad Air, iPad Mini, or generation 2 through 4 iPads.
The HoverBar 3: $99.99.
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out Aukey Desk Stand holder: $69.99 $35.99 [49%].
And if you want something for your iPhone or iPad mani, check out Twelve South's HiRise: $34.99.
Flickr/ Leweb3Shares of online loan marketplace Lending Club are crashing after the company's first earnings report since going public.
Lending Club reported fourth quarter earnings of $0.01, missing expectations for earnings of $0.02. Revenues totaled $69.6 million, up from $33.5 million for the same period last year.
In after hours trade on Tuesday, shares of Lending Club were down as much as 12%.
For the fiscal-year 2015, the company forecast revenues in the range of $370 million to $380 million, with adjusted EBITDA expected to total $33 million to $42 million.
In 2014, revenue for Lending Club totaled $211 million while adjusted EBITDA came in at $21.3 million.
In early December, Lending Club shares gained 56% on their first day of trading.
Lending Club, which has a market cap of almost $9 billion, allows users to finance from other individuals or institutional investors and doesn't actually make any of the loans, just makes the fees on the transactions it facilitates.
The company counts among its early investors major VC firms, and Business Insider's Eugene Kim detailed its star-studded board and investors when the company filed for its IPO last summer.
Year-to-date, Lending Club shares were down about 6%.
With the Apple Watch set to arrive in just two months, Pebble, which introduced the first modern smartwatch on Kickstarter in 2012, returned to the crowdfunding platform on Tuesday to unveil its latest creation, the Pebble Time. The response has been enormous: It doubled its initial goal of $500,000 in less than an hour, and at the time of this writing, more than 28,000 backers have pledged more than $5.8 million towards the latest smartwatch.
Based on Pebble data charted for us by BI Intelligence, more than 24,000 people have bought a single unit of the new Pebble Time today, as the company offered early bird discounts ranging from $20 to $40 off its eventual retail price of $199. More than 2,000 backers purchased two watches, 52 people bought 5 watches, 18 people bought 10 watches, and nearly 50 people dropped $5,000 or more to get 30 Pebble Time watches.
Though this is obviously great news for Pebble, it's also great for smartwatch makers like Apple, Samsung, and others: It proves that there's substantial interest in this product category, so long as the device itself is useful for everyday wear.
Paul Zimmerman/Getty ImagesShane Smith, cofounder and CEO of $2.5 billion media company Vice, is a highly controversial figure.
From $300,000 steak dinners to wild, celebrity-packed parties, Smith is always pushing the envelope. His personal net worth has been estimated to be as much as $400 million.
He's also an accomplished journalist who has traveled everywhere from Libya to North Korea.
AP Photo/Ben MargotBusiness Insider is growing its e-commerce team, and we're looking for an editor with a passion for finding the best deals and products and an ability to share his or her excitement with readers in clear, compelling copy.
The ideal candidate is a conversational writer with some editorial experience who's confident and careful when reviewing products, and can describe the pros and cons of any given item with conviction.
Commerce content includes everything from awesome deals on must-have products to unique items and gadgets that are new to market. These are the things you’d want to tell your friends about. You will have the opportunity to pursue your own coverage areas, as well as build an editorial calendar to support major retail events (think Cyber Monday).
Business Insider generates revenue when readers buy products through our site. You’ll be coming on board to help us build out this program, and along the way, be part of a new enterprise focused on adding value for readers. The program debuted in 2014 to great success, selling tens of thousands of products ranging from drones to clothes.
If you have experience in product journalism and are passionate about covering deals, gadgets, style sales, e-commerce sites and more, this is your dream job. Join our e-commerce team and help build an exciting new coverage area.
Responsibilities:Write deal round-ups and make product recommendations, following the Business Insider voice and style guide Research clothes, grooming products, accessories, household items, gadgets, and other things that are worth readers' time and money Source exclusive deals from retailers with the help of our business team Take feedback from readers to improve existing recommendations and generate new ideas Promote your stories on social networks Track your posts in affiliate analytics
Qualifications:Editing experience and a desire to find the best deals and products around the web An understanding of Business Insider’s audience and writing style A huge interest in shopping for great products, finding good deals, and taking advantage of coupon codes Proficiency in Microsoft Excel and Google Drive and Analytics Flawless grammar, spelling, and usage Basic understanding of Photoshop and HTML (more than basic is a plus)
APPLY HERE: Please include a resume; links to your social profiles, and a cover letter that details two products you think are great for Business Insider’s readers.
Hewlett-Packard reported earnings this afternoon, and the stock dropped sharply on a weak outlook.
The company reported $0.92 adjusted EPS vs. expected $0.91.
So that's a beat.
And it reported revenue of $26.8 billion vs. expected revenue of $27.2 billion.
That's a miss.
Analysts were actually looking for a modest increase in EPS over the year-ago quarter (1 cent) and an almost 3% decline in sales.
The stock is down about 7% in after hours trading thanks to soft guidance. HP says next quarter it expects non-GAAP EPS to come in at of $0.84 to $0.88. Analysts were expecting $0.96. HP is blaming the currency foreign exchange rate, saying that will drag next-quarter's EPS down by about 9 cents.
As for this quarter, revenue for just about every business unit was down or flat over the year-ago quarter.
Earlier today, HP released some good news. It won a 10-year "multi-billion" deal with Deutsche Bank to provide all kinds of updated tech, including software, storage and a dedicated data center built with HP's cloud technology Helion. Helion is HP's version of an open-source cloud computing operating system called Openstack.
In other words, HP will be helping Deutsche Bank build what's known as a "private cloud." That's when a company uses the same technology used by the big internet cloud computing hosting providers in its own data center. It helps a company use its IT systems more efficiently.
Meanwhile, there was also word this week of some management changes in HP's management. Marten Mickos, the former Eucalyptus CEO who became HP’s top cloud guy in September when HP bought Eucalyptus, is trimming his responsibilities, according to Gigaom.
Bill Hilf will take on product strategy, Kerry Bailey will lead sales, and Mark Interrante will head up engineering. It's now unclear what role Mickos at HP Enterprise will have once HP splits into two companies.
Here's the earnings press release:
PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Feb 24, 2015) - HP (NYSE: HPQ)First quarter net revenue of $26.8 billion, down 5% from the prior-year period and down 2% on a constant currency basis First quarter non-GAAP diluted net earnings per share of $0.92, up 2% from the prior-year period and within the previously provided outlook of $0.89 to $0.93 per share First quarter GAAP diluted net earnings per share of $0.73, down 1% from the prior-year period and within the previously provided outlook of $0.72 to $0.76 per share First quarter cash flow from operations of $744 million, down 75% from the prior-year period Returned $1.9 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends in the first quarter
HP fiscal 2015 first quarter financial performance
Information about HP's use of non-GAAP financial information is provided under "Use of non-GAAP financial information" below.
HP today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 first quarter ended January 31, 2015.
First quarter net revenue of $26.8 billion was down 5% from the prior-year period and down 2% on a constant currency basis.
First quarter GAAP diluted net earnings per share (EPS) was $0.73, down from $0.74 in the prior-year period and within its previously provided outlook of $0.72 to $0.76. First quarter non-GAAP diluted net EPS was $0.92, up from $0.90 in the prior-year period and within its previously provided outlook of $0.89 to $0.93. First quarter non-GAAP net earnings and non-GAAP diluted net EPS exclude after-tax costs of $339 million and $0.19 per diluted share, respectively, related to the amortization of intangible assets, restructuring charges, separation costs, and acquisition-related charges.
"With the first quarter of fiscal 2015 now behind us, the HP turnaround remains on track," said Meg Whitman, chairman, president and chief executive officer, HP. "We grew operating profit margins across all of our major business segments, increased investment in innovation, and executed well across key areas of our portfolio and in our separation activities. Our progress continues as we head into Q2."
The US dollar has strengthened considerably since HP last provided an FY15 outlook in November, 2014. As is the case with many US based companies, this currency challenge is having a significant impact on HP's financial outlook.
For the fiscal 2015 second quarter, HP estimates non-GAAP diluted net EPS to be in the range of $0.84 to $0.88, reflecting an estimated currency impact of $0.09. HP expects GAAP diluted net EPS to be in the range of $0.57 to $0.61, reflecting an estimated currency impact of $0.09. Fiscal 2015 second quarter non-GAAP diluted net EPS estimates exclude after-tax costs of approximately $0.27 per share, related to separation costs, the amortization of intangible assets, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.
For fiscal 2015, HP estimates non-GAAP diluted net EPS to be in the range of $3.53 to $3.73, reflecting an estimated currency impact of $0.30. Absent the impact of currency, the range is in line with HP's prior forecast. HP expects GAAP diluted net EPS to be in the range of $2.03 to $2.23, reflecting an estimated currency impact of $0.30. Fiscal 2015 non-GAAP diluted net EPS estimates exclude after-tax costs of approximately $1.50 per share, related to separation costs, the amortization of intangible assets, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.
"While we were able to manage the impact of currency in the quarter and deliver earnings as expected, we believe the impact on FY15 will be significantly greater than we anticipated in November," Whitman added. "We'll work hard to offset these impacts through re-pricing and productivity, but fully mitigating currency movements of this size would require reducing investments and mortgaging our future. We won't do that."
HP generated $744 million in cash flow from operations in the first quarter, down 75% from the prior-year period. Inventory ended the quarter at $6.6 billion, up 4 days year over year to 29 days. Accounts receivable ended the quarter at $12.3 billion, down 2 days year over year to 41 days. Accounts payable ended the quarter at $14.9 billion, up 13 days year over year to 65 days. HP's dividend payment of $0.16 per share in the first quarter resulted in cash usage of $304 million. HP also utilized $1.6 billion of cash during the quarter to repurchase approximately 41.1 million shares of common stock in the open market. HP exited the quarter with $13.3 billion in gross cash.
Fiscal 2015 first quarter segment resultsPersonal Systems revenue was flat year over year with a 3.7% operating margin. Commercial revenue decreased 1% and Consumer revenue increased 2%. Total units were up 9% with Notebooks units up 21% and Desktops units down 7%. Printing revenue was down 5% year over year with a 19.2% operating margin. Total hardware units were down 4% with Commercial hardware units flat and Consumer hardware units down 6%. Supplies revenue was down 5%. Enterprise Group revenue was flat year over year with a 15.6% operating margin. Industry Standard Servers revenue was up 7%, Storage revenue was flat, Business Critical Systems revenue was down 9%, Networking revenue was down 11% and Technology Services revenue was down 5%. Enterprise Services revenue was down 11% year over year with a 3.0% operating margin. Application and Business Services revenue was down 11%, and Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing revenue declined 11%. Software revenue was down 5% year over year with an 18.0% operating margin. License revenue was down 16%, support revenue was flat, professional services revenue was down 7% and software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue was flat. HP Financial Services revenue was down 8% year over year with a 1% decrease in net portfolio assets and a 14% increase in financing volume. The business delivered an operating margin of 11.2%.