Michael Dell: Dell Channel Sales Transformation Is Ahead Of Plan


Michael Dell, for his part, said the channel charge is showing up in sales recognition garnered by Dell direct reps working hand-in-hand with channel partners.

"We just had our annual [sales] recognition event, and the folks that are coming up on stage and getting recognized are the reps that have figured out that you win with the channel," said Dell. "Our message is clear and consistent, and we continue to grow the share of relationship. The reps that are doing the best have figured out that they can leverage themselves tremendously with channel partners. It is as simple as that. We are very happy with the progress, growing nicely, growing faster than the market."

Dell himself pointed to the success the company has had with FusionStorm, No. 56 on the CRN SP500 list with $449 million in annual sales.

Daniel Serpico, president and CEO of FusionStorm, Dell's SMB Partner of the Year for two years in a row, said his alignment with Dell is driving significant new business. Currently, Serpico claims, his company is on track to double its Dell business from $35 million to $70 million in 2014 -- stealing existing sales from Dell competitors. “Dell continues to drive net new business for me," he said. "We have a lot of tired HP and Oracle business that is primed for Dell solutions. But this is not a simple share shift. This is net new top line business for us, and we couldn’t be happier.”

“In February, Dell put a stake in the ground with this program," Serpico said. " It’s the culmination of what I’ve seen from Dell over the past few years. Dell isn’t just talking about being more partner friendly, it is. The 200,000 accounts is just icing on the cake.”

Michael Dell said the company is ready, able and willing to help partners that have had trouble engaging on the 200,000 joint account opportunity with Dell. "If there are some that need help we are happy to work with them to figure out how we engage," he said. "I would say in aggregate the numbers are absolutely impressive and growing very very nicely."

Marty Wolf, president of Martin Wolf M&A Advisors, Walnut Creek, Calif. one of the top channel deal makers, said it is not surprising that Dell has turned to behemoths like Insight, PC Connection and SHI to drive gains with the new account planning strategy.

"PC Connection, Insight and SHI are better equipped to go into those accounts than Dell itself," said Wolf. "They are lower cost operators and they aggregate customers, they are good at developing customers. The [product] unit itself doesn't matter that much. What matters is the cost that they can provide a solution and make it work. These guys are experts at adding other product procurement to lower margin sales. It's a no brainer."

Wolf said he sees more opportunities for computer makers like Dell to get creative and drive strategic relationships with solution providers in an era of considerable channel consolidation where size and scale are critical. "When you look at the traditional channel, there is lots of room for vendors to shift share by having more creative partnerships," he said. "If Dell decides to get creative, there are all kinds of opportunities for them, as there is for HP."

Dell said he see a bright future ahead for Dell and its channel partners. "It feels awesome," he said.  "It feels great.  I think that we have been able to tap into some real excitement among partners and customers and the momentum of the business.

STEVEN BURKE contributed to this story.

PUBLISHED APRIL 7, 2014