Dell’s commitment to channel

“How committed to the channel is Dell?” If you go back to the very beginning of Dell’s foray into channel that was the most prominent question partners asked us. Would Dell’s venture into channel prove to be a simple experiment that might be abandoned? Well, at Dell we’re not only still here, we’re working tirelessly to improve ourselves.

The biggest proof point we can offer is how we have stuck to our initial plans. We laid out a strategy, a set of value-add benefits to partners, how we would embrace the channel, and how we planned to grow. We made commitments to the channel and we’ve stayed incredibly consistent to those commitments over the last four years.

If you go back four years and look at what we had to do to make this successful you’ll see we had to find a way to manage conflict. Dell has a large direct sales force, and to build trust within the channel you have to have a plan for managing conflict. At this time we did two things that became cornerstone of our partner program.

First, we instituted a deal registration tool that we use in all parts of the channel business around the world. This tool helps partner identify opportunities they want to work with Dell on, and it gives dell the opportunity to see where our partners are engaged. This enables us to create an environment where resellers can feel comfortable working with Dell.

The second thing we implemented was a dual compensation program, so thousand of Dell’s salespeople are compensated for the channel business that is done within their given account set. Again, an effort to minimize conflict and create and engagement model that embraces the channel.

Now, in 2012, if you look at our acquisitions and companies in the technology space, (EqualLogic, Compellent, AppAssure, Force10 and now SonicWALL) you’ll notice that many of them rely on a channel-only route to market. As we’ve acquired these companies our priorities have been to integrate what they do best into our own programs while focusing on maintaining the relationships with their partners and protecting those partners’ businesses. We’ve done that with EqualLogic, Compellent, Force10 and it is our intention to continue to do moving forward.

As we evolve our PartnerDirect program in the future, Dell is focused continuing the value proposition we’ve been offering to our partners all along: simplicity. We aim to drive simplicity and to be the easiest company for partners to work with. Staying true to these values has been challenging, as Dell continues to acquire more companies and add to PartnerDirect’s offerings, but we are committed to it. We’re focused on partners who add great value in solutions. In order to do that you’ve got to have a level of expertise on Dell’s products and solutions.

About the Author: Greg Davis