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Feeling The Channel Love
Dell's channel success is tied to the fact that its evangelism starts at the top. Michael Dell ensures the channel love trickles down to all facets of the company. He even helps solution providers close deals. Last summer, he traveled to a customer site on behalf of Redapt, a Redmond, Wash.-based solution provider, and helped the VAR close a $12 million deal.
"He's had communications with us to discuss different accounts and he is someone we've been able to turn to on occasion," said Jamie Rosvall, director of marketing at Redapt.
Redapt has worked with the vendor to transition some large accounts that wanted to buy from the solution provider and not direct from Dell anymore.
"We were able to have those accounts put in our name. Dell is very easy to deal with. Every year since we've been a channel partner [since 2007], our sales have increased with them," Rosvall said.
Dell's channel progress is also well understood by executives in terms of pushing the vendor's open strategy.
"Channel partners play an important role in this. Most customers' environments in traditional computing is very heterogeneous," Anderson said. "The trend is even multiple flavors of servers. For [other vendors] to say, 'You have to do it all, soup to nuts, one flavor of everything,' that's unlikely."
Dell also has had success in retaining channel partners obtained through acquisitions, Johnson said.
"As we look at acquisitions, one thing we look at is synergy potential where we can either provide for that channel partner a broader portfolio or, quite frankly, it's the other way around where we bring new product to existing channel partners," Johnson said. "What they look for is solutions that provide true value. If you do, they can usually extract margin from that and there is tremendous alignment where we are trying to go and where channels make a lot of money."
Dell's internal sales force, with a channel-neutral compensation plan, has learned to work with partners to great success, said Michael Dell.
"We have almost a quarter of commercial business with partners now, globally. That's a pretty substantial change," said Dell, who said he meets with partners himself three or four times a week. "I think the areas we're focused on, with data center, EqualLogic, PowerEdge, PowerConnect, Kace, those are areas that resonate with partners. But there's still a lot of room to grow in those areas."
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