Dell EMC's 'Golden Partner Opportunity': Enterprise Preferred Program

Dell EMC's Enterprise Preferred Program is dramatically shifting the company's enterprise customer landscape from direct to indirect accounts.

Gregg Ambulos, senior vice president of Dell EMC's North American Channel Sales, said thanks to the successful enterprise partner program implemented earlier this year, 64 percent of Dell EMC’s enterprise business is now coming from channel partners, up recently from 34 percent.

"We're seeing our business grow dramatically in this space. Our mix went from 34 percent to 64 percent in just one quarter working with and through our partner community. So 34 percent of our business was indirect, now it's 64 percent. [We] want that to be in the high 80s [percent]," said Ambulos, during a Dell EMC session at The Channel Company’s 2018 Best of Breed (BoB) Conference on Monday. "This is a golden partner opportunity to work with us, get involved with the sales team, help us get into these accounts and have investment protection."

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The Enterprise Preferred Program grants channel partners access to around 2,000 customer accounts where Dell feels it is under-penetrated. The Round Rock, Texas-based infrastructure giant provides partners with special front-end pricing, incremental discounts, new acquisition deal registration and competitive prices. In a move to reduce Dell EMC sales rep and channel partner conflict, the company is protecting its own sales team commissions on these accounts, meaning that sales reps will be incented to work more closely with solution providers.

"It shows the seriousness that Dell EMC has about putting the channel front and center for some of the key businesses and key customers that they're trying to get," said Dan McCormick, executive vice president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based Dell EMC partner and 2018 CRN Triple Crown winner.

"They see that we are the opportunity for them to go win some of these accounts. They weren't getting the job done to the level that they thought they should," said McCormick. "So out of all the alternatives they could have chosen, they turned to the channel and said, 'Can you help us with this? How could we win this together?'"

Ambulos said Dell EMC is granting partners 20-plus points of margin on the front end when a solution provider registers a storage opportunity through the program. The vendor is also providing incumbency for a partner that gets into an account.

"So if you break in that account with us, then you're going to be the partner of record in that account. What that means is that if Dell EMC finds an opportunity in that account, we have to work it with and through you," said Ambulos. "Talk about investment protection – this is a huge program."

Jack Kaiser, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Waltham, Mass.-based Aqueduct Technologies, said solution providers "benefit greatly" by good margins on a first deal.

"That 20 percent is important because many times there's a long sales campaign, lots of investments in our engineering and sales team – so it can be a long sales cycle. So guaranteeing that we're going to make money at the end, and it doesn't become a price battle, is important to us because we know that the first investment will pay off," said Kaiser.

Last week, Dell EMC launched a similar Commercial Preferred Program for partners with the same incentives and sales enablement from the vendor.

"These are big programs. Get involved," said Ambulos. "We cannot do it without you. I've been in this business now for 20 years, back from the old heritage EMC days. Now with the Dell EMC family, we've never been more committed."