Today's EMC is not the same hard-charging direct sales company of years past, said Bill Scannell, EMC's executive vice president, Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa.
A large part of EMC's enterprise and global revenue, and all of its midmarket and commercial business, goes through partners today, Scannell said.
Pointing to CRN's yearly Annual Report Card study, in which solution providers score their vendors' performance in a range of categories, Scannell said: "If you look at the ARC survey, we used to be at the bottom of that ranking. Now we are at the top. We are the No. 1 company to do business with. Partners like the margins they are making on EMC. They like the EMC strategy. They like working with EMC."
And EMC's sales reps like working with solution providers in part because of the financial incentives that are built into their compensation to engage with the channel and in part because bringing in a channel partner early into a deal frees them up to move forward and develop new business, according to Scannell.
Then there's the big stick EMC wields when needed to keep its direct sales reps in line. How big?
"It is a good-size stick the first time, and it is the ultimate stick the second time," Scannell said.
Meanwhile, chief among the changes to EMC's channel engagement is Enterprise Select, a program under which the company is moving all of its existing and future new accounts to the channel except for a few hundred enterprise accounts that have worked with EMC or that are strategic to EMC, said Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president of global channel sales. Outside those few accounts, a list of which partners can get from their EMC sales reps, all accounts are opened up to the channel.
Enterprise Select builds on the move EMC made about four or five years ago to automatically hand all SMB and midmarket opportunities to solution providers, Ambulos said.
"The partner has the ability to deliver all the services as long as [they are] certified," he said. "It made this a great place for our partners to establish a good foundation for EMC and work tightly with our sales organization."
Under Enterprise Select, if an EMC sales team finds a new opportunity, it will engage the partner quickly so it can move on to develop new customers, Ambulos said.
"The bottom line is, there's an existing run rate that we've had before that we're moving over to the channel," he said. "There's an EMC sales engine that's still there. [Our sales reps will] find an opportunity. They have to work it with a partner. We've established that everything has to go through a partner. You can't take the deal direct. The partners get the services."
EMC direct sales reps also get an uplift to their commissions by taking enterprise accounts through channel partners, and an additional uplift for taking customers through partners as part of the Enterprise Select program.
EMC recognizes that getting its solution providers into services builds incentives for them to do more business with EMC, Ambulos said. "Services might be 10 [percent] to 15 percent of the revenue opportunity, but 30 [percent] to 40 percent of the margin," he said. "And at the end of the day, it's a way for partners to really establish themselves as the trusted adviser because they'’re doing the design and implementation."
NEXT: VAR Weighs In On Enterprise Select