Dell officially opened its latest chapter Wednesday with the launch of the long-awaited Dell channel program, offering registered partnerships to resellers it once fought tooth and nail against with a promise that the company is prepared to restrict its direct sales force to keep it from stealing channel business.
With the launch of the Dell channel program, the company flipped the switch to turn on a dedicated web site for solution providers that will manage conflicts as resellers register deals, access its product lineup and manage logistics with Dell, company executives said. The Web site was designed with Salesforce.com, and encrypts solution provider data to prevent Dell's massive direct sales force from using it to win business away from resellers.
"Our vision is that any service we provide at Dell, we can provide it through our channel partners," said Greg Davis, vice president and general manager of Dell's Americas channel organization. "These are truly, I think, innovative steps for Dell."
The launch comes several months after company executives began saying publicly that the company would heighten its involvement with the channel, and amid increasing pressure on the company by value-added resellers to spell out the specific terms and conditions of its program.
Specifically, Dell said it will:
* Launch a formal deal registration program that allows registered and certified partners to submit potential client sales -- of at least $75,000 -- to Dell's channel executives, who will then grant the reseller exclusive status on the deal or show that it had already had a steady business relationship with that client.
* Work to double its current lineup of 15,000 resellers within three years.
* Immediately move 1,000 accounts that Dell's direct sales representatives had been working on to Dell's channel sales organization, so resellers could begin calling on those accounts.
* Provide logos to both registered channel partners and, separately, to certified channel partners that have met requirements to specialize in one of several core focus areas, starting first with a managed services specialty.
* Have its channel sales outgrow its direct sales out of the gate, continuing or building off its current pace.
* Provide enhanced support for solution providers upon the program's launch, with an eye toward providing dedicated support and increased numbers of field sales representatives for resellers later on.
Next: Deal Registration Changes?