Channel partners are calling the sweeping changes Dell made Wednesday to its channel program a game changer for their businesses that will add up to significant new sales in 2014.
At its Dell World conference taking place this week in Austin, Texas, the company announced a major overhaul of its channel program that heavily incents Dell Direct sales to work hand in hand with channel partners in an effort to accelerate sales of data center solutions and drive new business.
"We have been waiting for years for this. We now have very clear go-to-market rules of engagement with Dell Direct," said Jed Ayres, the senior vice president of partner management and marketing for MCPc, a $262 million Cleveland-based national solution provider. "With the new incentives for direct and channel sales reps to work together, we see this as a huge win for our bottom line. It's like throwing gasoline on the fire for our Dell business."
Starting Feb. 1, when the Round Rock, Texas-based company said the new incentives kick in, Dell will move roughly 200,000 previous Dell Direct accounts into the channel where they will be managed jointly with channel partners and Direct reps. Part of those incentives include a 20 percent "compensation accelerator" for its direct sales team to generate new enterprise business with Dell channel partners. Dell also announced it would quadruple investments in demo and field equipment, as well as in its partner bonus programs.
"Now it's not lip service, this is real and will make a big difference for partners," said Bruce Freshwater, CEO of Sierra w/o Wires, a Pittsburgh-based Dell partner. "There is little doubt that the compensation that Dell is creating for its direct team will translate into new sales for partners like me," he said.
Freshwater, like some other Dell partners, have long complained that Dell's channel-friendly rhetoric hasn't completely matched what actually takes place on the ground. "At the end of the day, [Dell CEO] Michael Dell can't just repeat he's channel friendly. But with these changes, Dell has signaled to me it's ready to walk the walk."
Dell's channel program changes come weeks after the company underwent a major internal shakeup that put both direct and indirect sales under one organization overseen by Bill Rodrigues, Dell's newly appointed vice president of global channels and alliances.
NEXT: Partners Look To Double Business In 2014