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Dell Technologies partner updates for FY21 focus on simplicity

Heading into a new fiscal year, Dell Technologies rolled out nondisruptive changes to its three-year-old channel program. The company also highlighted a streamlined GTM strategy.

At the start of its fiscal year 2021, Dell Technologies is delivering on its promise to maintain a steady partner strategy. The vendor unveiled this week a series of updates bent toward simplification and easier business management processes.

Dell recently announced changes to its go-to-market (GTM) strategy following the departure of Marius Haas, the company's president and chief commercial officer, who retired this month. With Haas' exit, Dell moved to consolidate its commercial and enterprise organizations under Bill Scannell, president of global enterprise sales and customer operations. Scannell now leads the unified sales organization, which he said will remain tightly aligned with the Dell Technologies partner community.

In a webcast this week, Scannell affirmed his commitment to Dell's channel strategy that evolved from the 2016 merger with EMC and VMware. "There is an expression: 'If it's not broke, don't fix it.' Our channel organization, our business, [are doing] extremely well, so the last thing that I am going to do is come in here and try to change the world," he said.

Scannell noted the updated GTM strategy will remove some of the complexities that partners previously faced operating within five global theaters. In the past, Dell Technologies partners had to "deal with different country managers, different theater managers, different segment managers in each of those regions." Partners will find the sales processes with Dell easier organized under one leader, he said.

We are going to be able to make decisions in one place and cascade them down the organization without negotiating that through different organizations.
Joyce MullenPresident of global channel, embedded and edge solutions, Dell Technologies

"Now, yes, we will segment within regions, within countries, within theaters, so we will organize around our customers and how our partners go to market, but this should really simplify how our partners work with us and offer a much greater degree of consistency in who they deal with and how they deal with us in the field," he added.

Joyce Mullen, Dell's president of global channel, embedded and edge solutions, remains in charge of the Dell Technologies partner community under Scannell. "Our partners have been asking for this: for one combined sales organization so we can all spend less time navigating the internal Dell Technologies team and more time delighting customers," Mullen said. "I think it is going to make us faster and more responsive. ... We are going to be able to make decisions in one place and cascade them down the organization without negotiating that through different organizations. I think our partners are going to love it."

Solution provider program enhancements

Over the next 12 months, Dell Technologies partners will see several updates to the Dell Technologies Partner Program for Solution Providers, said Darren Sullivan, senior vice president of global partner strategy, programs and operations, in the webcast.

With the aim of making the program more profitable and simpler for partners to manage, Sullivan said the company plans to execute the following:

  • Expand its Partner Preferred Program "by adding new target customers for server acquisition to the existing storage accounts."
  • Consolidate its product rebate structure, decreasing its seven lines of business categories to three lines of business -- client, server and storage.
  • Eliminate partners' quarterly target process and incorporating more program automation to make it easier for partners to forecast their in-quarter earnings and reduce the number of adjustments required after quarter-end.
  • Introduce an integrated quoting platform for Dell's storage, server and networking portfolio.

Additionally, Sullivan noted Dell will continue to offer its New Business Incentive (NBI), which rewards partners for acquiring new customers and lines of business. Dell will also provide its Competitive Swap rebate for deals that displace a competitive product in accounts not included on Dell's named NBI list.

Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president of North America channel sales, elaborated on the Partner Preferred Program. The program identifies more than 500 customer accounts that the company wants partners to penetrate. Under the program, Ambulos said, a partner that establishes a Dell server footprint within one of these accounts can receive benefits such as Partner of Record status, which provides protection for all Dell server opportunities within the account. Partners can also receive increased front-end discounts, as well as base rebates, "regardless of the sales price, which can be stackable with New Business Incentives where applicable."

Changes to the Cloud Service Provider Program

Dell Technologies supplemented the program updates for solution providers with revisions to the cloud service provider (CSP) track.

Jay Snyder, Dell's senior vice president of global alliances, said the CSP program changes were shaped by partner feedback, especially around the program's revenue demands. "One of the biggest pieces of feedback we have heard is around revenue tier requirements. We have recognized that a global revenue requirement may not work in all countries, so we have adjusted the program revenue requirements needed for tier promotions for partners that primarily operate in smaller markets," he said. "These different revenue requirements will help provide more attainable tier advancement opportunities and benefits for these partners in smaller markets."

Additional CSP program benefit and requirement changes included the following:

  • Modified rebates. Snyder said overall program rebate percentages for Platinum- and Titanium-level CSPs will remain the same, but Dell removed most of the rebate accelerators. "They were not materially changing business outcomes, and we want to be able to look at other ways to help our partners drive and achieve value, such as the new 2x accelerator on VxRail for CSP partners earning the CSP Dell Technologies Cloud competency," he said.
  • Augmented sell-out compensation. Dell's program benefits for sell-out compensation now includes deals with authorized CSP partners. He said Dell will compensate its core sales reps on deals that involve authorized partners, "which increases collaboration with sales instead of creating competition."
  • Simplified point-of-sale report requirements. Dell is freeing partners from having to submit monthly point-of-sale reports. Instead, the vendor will send partners a monthly end-user validation report, which asks them to verify the information Dell provided.
  • More CSP training offerings. CSPs can now earn CSP Dell Technologies Cloud competency, "which counts toward training-hour requirements and provides our sales reps with visibility to your specific business as a competency option for Dell Technologies [CSP] opportunities," according to Snyder. He added that these partners will also receive a 2x accelerator on their rebates for qualified VxRail purchases.

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