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PartnerDirect strategy: Dell takes aim at HP, IBM in client space

Dell channel chief Cheryl Cook outlines the ways in which the company is enticing partners to sell competitively in the client space against HP and IBM.

Dell kicked off the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, which began Feb. 1, by announcing new PartnerDirect perks that reflect a more aggressive strategy against competitors Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM, the launch of ProSupport Plus for PCs and tablets, and the launch of new partner training and enablement initiatives.

Dell's channel chief, Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances, yesterday also hailed the success of the 20% compensation accelerator, a premium paid to Dell sales reps that work with partners. The program was launched in December 2013.

Stating that "Dell intends to take its disproportionate share of market" in the client space from competitors HP and IBM, Cook outlined an enhanced greenfield program that for the first time will offer discounts to more than 45,000 registered partners in North America, as well as new back-end incentives for Premier and Preferred partners. Dell's greenfield program targets landing new business opportunities in competitor accounts. Dell publishes and shares a list of targeted accounts with partners.

The new PartnerDirect perks for registered partners include an additional discount of as much as 20% on Dell Compellent, EqualLogic or PowerVault storage; an additional discount of up to 20% on Dell networking products; and an additional discount of as much as 13% on Dell's laptop and desktop portfolio: Precision, Latitude, OptiPlex and XPS. Up until this now, this discount was available only to Dell's 1,500-plus Premier and Preferred partners in North America.

New incentives for Dell Premier and Preferred partners under PartnerDirect include two back-end rebates: an incremental 2% on client products, including OptiPlex, Latitude and Precision; and an incremental 4% on servers, storage and networking.

Dell also enhanced its Partner AdvantEdge program for partner sales reps by adding a $250 cash card or $250 in equivalent points, as a new account bonus on software and hardware products. Points can also be redeemed for trips and gifts in the Partner AdvantEdge program.

"I'm trying to cast my net to get more competitive and drive that competitive aggressive behavior across the entire partner community," Cook said.

The vendor also announced that it would offer up to $40,000 in marketing development funds (MDF) based on sales volume in the client and enterprise lines of business. The company also said that higher-tier partners could earn up to $20,000 in both client and enterprise MDF that can be used for marketing services.

I'm trying to cast my net to get more competitive and drive that competitive aggressive behavior across the entire partner community.
Cheryl Cookchannel chief, Dell

Leveraging the same intellectual property that it offers in its ProSupport Plus program for servers, storage and networking (a predictive, proactive and preventative service offering), Dell launched ProSupport Plus for PCs and tablets in 66 countries.

Partners can opt to participate in the delivery of the service and the management of the customer experience. This gives partners the opportunity to augment the ProSupport Plus services with incremental offerings of their own, according to Cook. Or, if the partner prefers, Dell can reach out to the customer.

"We're not just putting the incentives, that we do have, in place to award and drive attach rates at the time of sale of ProSupport Plus, but we're also looking at what role the partner can play to drive a more sticky and more high-value experience for the customer," Cook said.

Announced at Dell World in November 2014 and now available to partners are a new competency in core clients, a refreshed VDI training and competency, and a refreshed workstation competency. Dell also launched two advanced competencies, one in storage and the other in security.

About one year after Dell put in place a 20% compensation accelerator for direct sales representatives who work with partners, the initiative is showing positive results. Dell reported 12,000 new customers; 7,000 line-of-business (LOB) expansions, meaning sales expansion beyond a single LOB that was doing business with Dell; and 20,000 net-new orders, of which 3,000 were storage orders and more than 4,400 were software orders.

The initiative targeted new business expansion through its Dell's high-end solutions, such as storage, networking, converged infrastructure platform systems, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), software and security.

"The program certainly seems to be driving the right behavior on the Dell side, great opportunity to the partner community and it's resulting in expansion and net-new customers and logo expansion," said Cook.

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How valuable to you are Dell's incentives and discounts around its client line?
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On a scale of 1-10, I would rate the incentives at 8/10. The incentives will have a direct impact on clients, as much as the program will deal indirectly with customers via business partners. As a client, I feel that the incentives and discounts will result in better and more sticky value experience. The partners are in a better position to deliver the service and manager customer experiences since they have direct contacts with clients.
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Aggressive marketing is always a mighty positive for any business. Your customers reciprocate by making more purchases as they feel your company is doing all they can in their advances. While your competitors trail behind only realizing what has happened too late. This strategy can be very beneficial to Dell, the only downside is that this may lead to retaliation from, in my opinion, the market leaders Hp, resulting in quite the completion.
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