Dell Taps Bob Skelley To Fill North American Channel Vacancy


Bob Skelley, an early architect and champion of Dell’s channel program, was promoted to executive director of North American channel sales at Dell. The seven-year Dell veteran steps down as Dell’s executive director of global channel programs. Dell is scheduled to formally announce the executive move later Wednesday.

“I’m excited about getting back in front of the partners on a more regular basis and being out in the field and working with our teams more closely,” Skelley said in an exclusive interview with CRN.

Skelley will take a bigger leadership role in Dell’s channel sales, overseeing North American channel sales reps and managing Dell’s regional channel partner program. Skelley will both recruit partners and work with existing regional VARs to enable them to grow their business, he said.

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Dell’s channel represents 37 percent of the company’s $60 billion in annual revenue. Skelley said the portion of the channel he will oversee, regional VARs, represents about one-third of all channel revenue for Dell, or $7.5 billion.

“Part of my job is about promoting a cultural transformation around working with the channel to assure that Dell products and solutions are best represented to the customer community,” Skelley said. “Part of my mission is to bridge the relationship between the sales team and the partner community so that they work together in the field. It’s essential that Dell addresses the total opportunity in the marketplace today.”  

“Bob has a battle-worn channel resume that instills a lot of confidence in partners like myself,” said Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based Dell partner. Tanenhaus, and other channel partners CRN spoke to, said Skelley had the channel chops to both help partners grow their business and eliminate a lot of the direct vs. indirect confrontations that happen in the sales trenches.

Skelley joined Dell in 2007 with the acquisition of EqualLogic where he was the company’s channel chief. When Dell acquired EqualLogic it assimilated much of the company’s existing partner program, using key components as the basis to get Dell’s own partner program off the ground.

Skelley will report to Jim DeFoe, vice president and general manager for Dell’s North America global commercial channels. Skelley fills the position and job functions largely left vacant when Frank Vitagliano was promoted in November 2013 to vice president of North America global commercial channels. Vitagliano said Dell will fill Skelley's old position.

Over the next two months, Skelley said, he will be reaching out to as many partners as he can to learn about what their needs are.

“I believe fundamentally that the first step in enabling partners is really understanding their business and having a frank discussion on how they want grow, where they want to go and how do they plan to get there. Then it’s my job to figure out what Dell has in its arsenal and how we can work together to achieve those goals. The wrong way to go about it is just layering Dell’s channel program onto a partner. You have to learn about what they are trying to do first and then figure out what we have that’s going to adapt to that.” 

PUBLISHED JUNE 25, 2014