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Dell EMC partners see final details of integrated channel program

Dell EMC's integrated channel partner program is now live. Channel exec Cheryl Cook highlights the program's key features.

Dell EMC today has launched its highly anticipated integrated partner program, which aims to capture "the best of the best" characteristics of its premerger programs.

The official launch of the Dell EMC Partner Program comes about five months after Dell's $58 billion acquisition of EMC in September 2016. Through the program, the merged companies have attempted to unify their respective channel communities under one roof, combining the best of both channel worlds without compromising the program's core values of simplicity, predictability and partner profitability.

"[We have] really tried to provide a simple, predictable and profitable experience with our program," said Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances at Dell EMC.

Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances, Dell EMCCheryl Cook

The program features four membership levels -- Gold, Platinum, Titanium and the exclusive Titanium Black tier -- with two paths for Dell EMC partners to increase their statuses based on their business models. Dell EMC will base tier eligibility on revenue, including a minimum level of Dell EMC services revenue, as well as training and certification requirements.

The first eligibility path focuses on channel firms that specialize in a single line of business, such as Dell EMC's storage or client portfolios. For these partners, meeting specific revenue thresholds will matter more than training and certification requirements, Cook said.

The second path is for partners that embrace the Dell EMC portfolio broadly, take a cross-selling approach, and obtain the required training and certifications to do multiple lines of business. In recognition of their investments in training and certification, these partners will have lower revenue requirements than those with a single line-of-business approach.

"We have established revenue ranges, and [partners] have time to achieve [their] levels," explained Kimberley DeLeon, vice president of global channel programs at Dell EMC, in a webcast for partners this morning. She said Dell EMC partners will have until Dec. 31, 2017, to complete the necessary competency requirements for their desired tiers. Partners must complete revenue requirements by Feb. 2, 2018.

Benefits for Dell EMC partners: Stackable rebates, MDF

The Dell EMC Partner Program looks to promote a number of partner behaviors, including winning net-new customers, pushing services, participating in training and selling the full Dell EMC portfolio.

"When you look at the benefits and the rewards structure that we've created, we have genuinely wanted to align our measures, metrics and rewards around strategic priorities that drive a richer mix and a positive customer experience, obviously, and growth and new business for [Dell EMC]," Cook said.

Partners can access stackable rebates that include base rebates and rewards for business growth, services and new business. In the case of selling Dell EMC storage technology, partners can obtain a potential payout of about 20%.  

"With the new Dell EMC Partner Program, you have the potential to earn from 1.5 times up to eight times what you were earning before," said John Byrne, president of global channels at Dell EMC, in today's webcast for partners.

He also noted the importance of services in the new program. "We want you to grow faster. Whether you're delivering your own services or you want to augment with ours, we got you. We don't want to compete; we want to win with you. Services are about bringing value to customers with consulting, deployment, support and education," he said.

Cook said the company has made significant financial investments in market development funds (MDF). "In the area of marketing, we're actually increasing our overall MDF by 8% year on year, but the proposal-based funds -- the ability for partners come to us with unique plans and proposals -- we are increasing by a third," she said.

Emphasis on deal protection, LOB incumbency

A partner can have confidence and can engage with us and know we're going to protect them from conflicts with our direct sales force.
Cheryl Cookvice president of global channels and alliances, Dell EMC

At the Global Partner Summit in October, Byrne emphasized the new program would have "zero-tolerance" deal protection policies. 

"The ultimate form of deal protection for a partner is deal registration," he said. "There will be zero tolerance for any violation."

To that end, Dell EMC is launching a deal registration program with a "globally enforced Partner Code of Conduct," according to the company. Along with this, Cook noted the company has introduced a "two strikes and you're out" model for enforcing the rules of engagement around partner-registered opportunities that Dell EMC has approved. If Dell EMC's direct sales force violates or compromises a protected opportunity in any way, the seller will not receive compensation. If a second violation occurs, Dell EMC will terminate that employee.

"A very strict, very public, very intense policy for zero tolerance, if you will -- another example to the partner community that we want to earn their trust," Cook said.

Additionally, Dell EMC will expand protection for partner-led accounts. Later this half of the year, Dell EMC plans to launch the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) Incumbency program to help protect Dell EMC partners' storage, server and networking businesses.

Cook said she believes the ISG Incumbency program will be well-received by the partner community. "A partner can have confidence and can engage with us and know we're going to protect them from conflicts with our direct sales force," she said.

Partner portal, training model

On Feb. 20, Cook said Dell EMC will launch a single unified portal for all partners. Through the portal, partners can access a range of resources and tools, such as deal registration, a rebate calculator, and training and certification.

Cook noted that Dell EMC's training resources draw from both Dell and EMC's previous models. Whereas Dell had a competency-based model that recognized and rewarded companies for their areas of expertise and training, EMC had an "industry-recognized training and enablement program" and provided individual certifications for a partner's employees.

Dell EMC will take both models forward, recognizing competency at the company level, while allowing individual employees to earn certifications, she said.

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