CRN Exclusive: Dell EMC Commits $150M To Incentives, Stresses New Business, Exclusivity In New Program

Dell EMC is pumping $150 million into incentives during its upcoming fiscal year with an emphasis on boosting back-end rebates for legacy EMC partners.

Channel Chief John Byrne told about 3,000 partners during a webcast Monday that the investment is "$150 million invested in you, the partners." It addresses what solutions providers see as one of the main differences between the Dell and EMC programs.

While solution providers considered the legacy EMC program more predictable and easier to understand and navigate than the Dell program, they had also seen back-end rebates cut steadily in recent years. Dell partners could earn back-end rebates between 5 and 10 percent, while EMC's back-end rebates had been cut to between 1 and 4 percent, according to solution providers.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Dell EMC Protects Legacy Server, Networking Deals From Direct Sales Meddling]

Sonia St. Charles, CEO of the Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider that worked exclusively with Dell before the $58 billion Dell EMC merger in September, said that while the major investment in rebate dollars certainly signals Dell EMC's willingness to be fair to partners, but says the firm must be careful.

"What we heard this morning was positive – a positive move toward leveling the playing field. Overall, I'm optimistic," St. Charles said. "My concern is that this will be good for EMC partners and not have so much impact on the Dell partners. The size of partners that have come over from EMC versus traditional Dell, the math doesn't come out in our favor. It's going to be in the details."

Monday was the first time Byrne's team has discussed the mechanics of the new, unified Dell EMC partner program with solution providers, and while the execs didn't offer many specifics, they did offer a glimpse of the shape of the program to come.

The $150 million investment comes along with a "revenue multiplier" reward for partners who go all-in with Dell EMC and increased MDF. The moves are designed to help bring order and fairness to the unified Dell EMC partner program, which is set to go into effect Feb. 8.

Kimberly DeLeon, who heads global channel programs, said the Dell EMC program will pay rebates on the first dollar of eligible transactions, and program rebates will be stackable. She also said selling services will be stressed, and partners will be able to either resell Dell services or their own services, though reselling Dell services comes with additional rebates.

Similar to Dell's existing program, there will also be new business incentives for winning new customers or new lines of business within existing customers, DeLeon said.

DeLeon also said Dell EMC will reward exclusivity by offering partners that sell only Dell EMC server, storage and networking a 1.25x revenue multiplier that can be used to accelerate partners through Dell EMC's program tiers faster.

"A lot of us saw the EMC program as not being up to par with Dell's and some others, and it sounds like Dell has really listened to that," said a top executive at a large solution provider that works with Dell EMC, but did not attend the webcast. "It sounds like they're really trying to drive opportunity and earnings for us. So I'm all-in. Who wouldn't want that?"

For Mark McKeever, principal at Tempe, Ariz.-based solution provider MicroAge, the new moves help ensure that Dell EMC's program will be competitive. "I love the way Dell handled their channel, but they have competitors, so are they going to be easier to do business with? More competitive? More compatible?"

As Byrne's team draws closer to officially launching the unified Dell EMC partner program, they're slowly providing details around what partners can expect.

On Monday's webcast, Byrne said the overall message is to sell across the entire Dell Technologies portfolio and to win new business.

"Do you sell storage? Add server," Byrne said. "Do you sell server? Add PCs, add storage. Get trained. Take advantage of opportunities to get smart fast. Attack the market together. Sell new business, bring in new logos, sell new lines of business. You will be rewarded handsomely."

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