Channel programs News

Partners Praise Dell EMC Channel Hiring Blitz As 'A Great Thing For Us'

Matt Brown

Dell EMC is looking to fill nearly 400 channel-related positions, and partners are hopeful the hiring blitz is a sign that Channel Chief John Byrne will elevate Dell EMC's program as one of the industry's best.

Nearly 170 of the positions are based in North America, and cover everything from channel marketing, to inside and outside account executives and managers, to sales engineers, product marketers and sales managers, according to the Dell EMC jobs website. The vast majority of the jobs have been posted since the beginning of the year.

The channel hiring effort comes as a surprise to some partners who assumed Dell's $58 billion acquisition last September would result in job cuts. Partners say the channel-related hiring activity also provides hope that Byrne will bring some "desperately needed" stability and expertise to the Dell EMC program.

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"It'll help partners a lot, and it's desperately needed," said a top executive at a data center solution provider and former member of the Dell partner advisory board. "They have strong power at the top, and [Chairman and CEO] Michael [Dell] has said he's going to work with the channel. If John Byrne has Michael Dell's ear, he can hire high-quality people who know the channel. You can't put account executives in there with no understanding of how the channel works."

Partners told CRN that like many major vendors, Dell's channel operation had suffered high turnover, which has made it difficult for partners to predict pricing, rebates, and marketing budgets consistently. Since Dell established its channel program in 2007, partners have complained that conflict between solution providers and Dell's direct sales reps has been far too common.

Having a more robust channel team would go a long way toward cutting down on that conflict, the solution provider executive said. "We have a customer we took from 12 employees to 1,200 employees, and the next thing you know, Dell's in there taking it direct," he said. "Dell EMC has scale; it has vast services and solutions, it has marketing, it has a brand. They need to take these good things and take the time to learn partners and understand that partners are good at selling services and selling solution development."

So far, the signs from Byrne – including the current hiring push and a move lauded by partners recently to kick two British solution providers out of the program for violating its "zero tolerance" deal registration rules – have been encouraging.

"They're working through territory assignments and coverage models," said Scott Harper, director of territory sales at Softchoice, a Toronto-based solution provider that works with Dell EMC. "We've seen a lot more clarity on account coverage. They've been clear on the split between commercial and enterprise and how they're going to market. I'd say job well done."

"I thought it would be the opposite," Harper said, regarding channel hiring. "With two large organizations coming together, you'd expect some overlap, and eventually some cuts, but I haven't heard that from the leaders I've spoken with."

For some partners, who Dell EMC hires is just as important as how many it hires, said Jason Cherveny, CEO of Sanity Solutions, a Denver, Colo., solution provider that works with Dell EMC. "If they're hiring specialists they don't have, that could be really good for Sanity Solutions," Cherveny said. "If I had a core sales rep and that core sales rep has seven product specialists to call upon to help with a campaign, I have that same access, and that could be a really good thing."

"If they're hiring a bunch of salespeople to replace my sales team, that's not good for me, but a bunch of inside salespeople can help me with orders. That allows me to spend more time with the customer helping them with a solution and less time with paperwork. That would be a great thing for us. If they're channel folks, that's a good thing. It gives us more access on Dell's dime. Any company is hiring if it's looking to grow, and Dell is looking to grow."

Byrne's unified Dell EMC Partner Program rolled out at the start of the company's fiscal year in early February. It splits partners into Gold, Platinum and Titanium tiers, and has an exclusive Titanium Black designation for elite partners. The program boosts rebates for storage, server and PC gear and provides significant incentives for selling services, new business and for partners that sell Dell EMC exclusively.

Overall, Dell EMC is advertising more than 3,000 open positions. In addition to the nearly 170 North America channel-focused jobs, the company is seeking to fill dozens of channel jobs in the EMEA region, China and Europe, as well as several in India, Africa and Central and South America.

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