Dell EMC Channel Chief Byrne Pushing Solution Providers To Sell More Product Lines

Dell EMC Global Channel Chief John Byrne says solution providers are selling far too few Dell EMC lines of business, and he plans to drive them to sell across the IT giant's complete product and services portfolio.

"When we look at the partner community today, they're selling less than 1.6 lines of (Dell EMC lines of) business [on average]," Byrne told CRN. "We want them to be selling more. That means they're not selling all of Dell's lines of businesses. We want them to."

The full portfolio sales push is aimed at capitalizing on the $70 billion IT behemoth's massive investment in R and D and its broad and deep product and services portfolio, said Byrne. "We are spending 2x on R and D than IBM, 2x on R &D HPE, we dominate Gartner's Magic Quadrant," he said. "No one else has the portfolio that we have. We want our partners to be selling the full portfolio of products."

Byrne's push comes as Dell EMC gets set to roll out the new terms of its unified channel program in January. Dell EMC announced today the company will "status match" partners into the new program, essentially moving top tier partners from either the Dell or EMC program into the top tier of the new program and so forth.

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Under the new unified program, partners will have a couple of ways to advance through those tiers, including selling broad swathes of the Dell EMC portfolio or booking significant revenue from a more limited set of products, while attaching more services.

Byrne was careful to point out that he doesn't want Dell EMC's full portfolio channel efforts to seem "artificial," and he conceded that the company won't necessarily force solution providers out of their comfort zones. For example, he said, large enterprise partners that sell across server, storage and networking products won't be required to sell PCs.

Related: Dell EMC To Pay Rebate And MDF To Legacy EMC Partners For January 'Gap Month'

Michael Tanenhaus, CEO of Mavenspire, a Dell solution provider based in Maryland, said he is 100 percent behind the Dell EMC full portfolio offensive. "It's one portfolio," Tanenhaus aid. "They told people to study up on the other product lines they are not selling. I think it's reasonable. They don't want people telling only part of the story. They want you telling the whole story, and that was true in the Dell world, too."

"It's our end of year, and we're doing everything in our power to demonstrate that we can sell both sides of the portfolio," Tanenhaus said. "And our new year's resolution is to drive it even further by the end of the Dell fiscal year."

Sonia St. Charles, CEO of the Davenport Group, a Minnesota-based solution provider that works with Dell, said pushing partners to sell more product lines is both understandable, but challenging.

"It's a fine balance they walk," St. Charles said. "If a partner's expertise is in one or two product sets, I don't think you should punish partners for succeeding in what they do well."

Davenport's data center business stretches across all of Dell's server, storage and networking lines and the solution provider does work with Dell PCs at times. The challenge for partners, that like Davenport were all-in with Dell, is getting up to speed with the EMC portfolio, St. Charles said.

"I do understand Dell's perspective, but it's going to be years before we have the level of expertise on the EMC product line that we do on the (Dell) Compellent product line," St. Charles said. "It's hard to have the same expertise when you've been working with a product for 10 years or more and have experience with those customers."