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Dell EMC's Wilson Lays Out Path To Partner Profitability, Spotlighting $150M Channel Investment

Dell EMC's global channel marketing leader, Mary Catherine Wilson, spoke at CRN's XChange Solution Provider conference on Sunday about ways partners can boost profitability in 2017.

Dell EMC channel partners looking for new ways to grow profitability in 2017 should focus on four areas: selling more of the company's broad portfolio, making inroads into new business, driving more services sales and tapping into Dell EMC training, tools and expertise and tools, said Mary Catherine Wilson, director of global channel marketing for Dell EMC.

The most profitable Dell EMC partners are selling across the company's entire portfolio, Wilson said, which consists of seven brands: Dell, EMC, VMware, RSA, SecureWorks, Pivotal and Virtustream, she said. "Our channel vision is we want your customers, through you, to be able to have this broad portfolio," said Wilson during her keynote presentation at CRN's XChange Solution Provider 2017 conference in Washington D.C. this week.

Wilson said Dell EMC's new unified channel program --which launched a month ago, nearly doubling the storage rebates from the legacy EMC program and rewarding partners handsomely for selling hyper-converged and converged infrastructure solutions -- is lucrative for partners winning new business. "[Its] very lucrative when your selling to new customers [and] also lucrative when your selling services."

[Related: XChange: Channel Can Be Disruptive By Turning Best Practices On Their Heads]

All the while, partners can take advantage of the $150 million channel investment Dell EMC is making into channel businesses in the form of rebates and other incentives, Wilson said during a keynote address at the XChange Solution Provider 2017 conference, which is being hosted this week in National Harbor, Md., by CRN parent The Channel Company.

"This year we committed $150 million incremental dollars into the business. We have done so in rebates … an 8 percent increase in marketing developing funds. A 3-[times increase] in our proposal-based marketing funds -- we want you to bring proposals forward to us. We want to understand how we can jointing generate demand in the market," said Wilson.

"There's a huge investment in tools. These are education tools for your sales makers," she added. "There are sales tools from configuration to cost savings, then marketing tools that your marketers can use to scale their businesses as well."

Louis Ardolino, director of operations for TBNG Consulting, a Milford, Conn.-based solution provider and Dell EMC partner, said the company is "stepping up their channel engagement for sure."

"We're going to keep leveraging more [of their portfolio] to make us become more lucrative," Ardolino said, in an interview with CRN after listening to Wilson speak at XChange. "This is a good sign for the channel."

TBNG is already selling several areas of Dell's vast portfolio including converged infrastructure and around VMware, and is now planning to expand more into Dell security, Ardolino said.

"We're going to take their security angle now for sure with customers," he said.

Wilson said Dell has grown its channel by 33 percent since the company went private about three years ago.

"We've reached the tipping point at Dell EMC. We're 50 percent channel," she said. "The channel is a $35 billion business."

One key focus that has helped boost channel sales and engagement is Dell's commitment to simplicity, she said.

"We now have one program globally around the world. We have one partner portal for you to use. We have one mechanism to register deals. So we're trying to keep that as simple as possible," said Wilson.

Ardolino is bullish about his company's ability to increase profitability with Dell EMC in 2017 thanks to its increased channel investment. "We already leverage [Dell EMC] a lot in our company ... We're going to keep leveraging them more to help us be more lucrative," he said.

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