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Dell has quietly launched a new program with a select group of solution providers in which Dell's direct sales force utilizes the channel partners for pre-sales configuration and post-sales implementation and support.
Traditionally, solution providers have been asked by vendors to mark up and sell the vendor's professional services, but the new program entails Dell marking up and selling the VAR's services, executives said.
The GeoPartner Program allows Dell direct sales reps to leverage local partners to deliver services but carry the sale on Dell paper in order to recognize the revenue and profits towards their own sales quotas, according to executives.
Greg Davis, vice president and general manager of Dell's global commercial channel, called the idea "reverse engineering" and said that between 20 and 40 solution providers are part of the program.
"Partners participate in the medium business space talking to customers about server consolidation. You might migrate them into VMware, etc. There are customers that want to interact with Dell direct. The customer values that relationship, but they need to do the same migration," Davis said at Dell's recent Dell World conference in Austin. "Rather than try to do it ourselves, there are lots of Dell partners in the local SMB market space. Let's subcontract those. We sell to the customer on our paper. It's a nice opportunity for some partners. It's a nice for Dell to utilize the resources of our resellers."
SL Powers, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based VAR, has helped Dell's direct sales team close several deals and helped Dell with some services capabilities upon deployment too, said Bob Hochmuth, vice president of sales.
The partnership blossomed after a Dell sales rep, Keith Hannah, was assigned to SL Powers, who helped facilitate meetings between additional Dell field reps and executives.
Eventually, Dell's direct sales team requested help with a deal that it had been trying to close for almost three years. SL Powers sent a pre-sales team to meet with the customer, and Dell closed the deal within 30 days, Hochmuth said.
"They said, 'Holy smokes, you just put that revenue on our books.' So they approached us with this GeoPartner relationship, and they sent jobs to us," Hochmuth said.
That first deal closed last May, and SL Powers has teamed with Dell on six additional engagements, with the VAR's profits hitting the five-figure mark, according to SL Powers.
"This relationship is still really in its infancy. I believe we are gaining momentum as our name and reputation is recognized by Dell team members in our regions," said Robbie Macdonald, director of sales operations at SL Powers.
The majority of our engagements focus on storage and virtualization, but every environment is different, Macdonald added. "Most of these engagements call for software migrations/upgrades as they transition to a new hardware platform. We have also been engaged with other deployments; one notable project was a 1,000-user Websense deployment in Washington [state]," he said.