Dell’s John Byrne: 5 Big Reasons Partners Need To Bet On Dell

‘We’re pretty proud of taking share in server, storage and client. We just want more. We want to win more with the channel,’ says John Byrne, president of North America sales at Dell Technologies.

Dell Is ‘Full Speed’ Ahead

Dell Technologies’ fiery channel advocate and North American sales leader, John Byrne, is bullish about his $94 billion company’s future in 2021 and beyond as Dell continues to spend more than $4 billion annually on R&D.

“If we think about the future and helping our customers transform across our full portfolio, the next areas we’re looking at are artificial intelligence, edge, cloud, data management, 5G, security—that’s where we’re headed,” said Byrne, president of North America sales at Dell. “It’s very exciting.”

Byrne oversees all of Dell’s North American sales, including channel sales, as the Round Rock, Texas-based company continues to shift its sales motion and leaders toward being even more partner-centric.

In an interview with CRN, Byrne discusses gaining storage market share, new partner incentives, Dell’s innovation engine “at full speed” during the COVID-19 era, and improving channel engagement.

Keeping The Innovation Engine ‘At Full Speed’

Our purpose is impacting human lives through technology. We are living it every moment and every day. You look at what happened over the past year: getting our customers to basically work remotely, getting our kids to educate remotely, helping our customers set up emergency centers—our purpose is real.

If you think about the innovation engine behind it, we’re spending more than $4 billion per year on R&D. That commitment has not changed. If you look over the last year, we have launched [dozens of] products during a pandemic.

We have to keep the innovation at full speed if we want to continue to be that essential infrastructure partner. If we think about the future and helping our customers transform across our full portfolio, the next areas we’re looking at are artificial intelligence, edge, cloud, data management, 5G, security— that’s where we’re headed. It’s very exciting. Our innovation across the whole portfolio is accelerating. [Dell Technologies Vice Chairman] Jeff Clarke’s ability to simplify the portfolio, to make it clearer, is also getting better.

Boosting A Partner-Centric Sales Motion, Simplifying Channel Engagements

We brought all of our channel sellers into the core sellers and brought them under myself. Why? Because we want to simplify the engagement for all of our channel partners. I want our account executives and our channel teams and support teams all together saying, ‘How are we going to win this for the channel? And how do we engage the channel properly?’

So now all the partners have to do is come to our AEs [account executives], get a deal registration and everything is there. That’s simplicity of engagement. We’ve now seen our partner NPS [Net Promoter Score] grow significantly year over year. With the power of our own organization and sales team, the power of the partner community, I do believe it’s the power of the ‘and.’

In North America, I have 10,000 sellers helping us sell. We are led by tens of thousands of channel sellers with our broad portfolio, lucrative back-end and lucrative front-end [incentives], there’s tech refreshes and competitive swaps [incentives] as well as MyRewards [partner program]—we’re going to make a lot of progress.

Market-Share Gains In North America

IDC has come out with the latest Q4 share data on server and storage. We took more share again in storage. In North America, we took another 124 basis points, we’re just shy of 39 percent share of the market. This is anywhere between 3X and 5X [larger] against some of our biggest competitors.

You look at hyperconverged, we’re at 57 percent share of the market. In high-end [storage], we’re at 58 percent share. In backup, we’re 72 percent share. In unstructured [data], we’re 40 percent share. We’re proud of that. And it only happens because of our channel partners. We want to win in the data center with our partner community.

We’re now at 29 percent share of the midrange storage market in North America. We’re No. 1 by far versus our closest competitors. We’ve driven significant new customers into our business through the channel. We want to do more. We want continue to exceed the 29 percent share in the midrange. We’re seeing this acceleration of data. The transformation journey is here right now.

New 20 Points For Partners Selling PowerStore, PowerScale

We’re going to provide our partners selling PowerStore up to 20 points on the front end. We already have this lucrative back-end incentive on PowerStore, so now you also have a very lucrative front end. As we are gaining momentum, we also want to add our PowerScale portfolio including Isilon. It’s stackable. So we have our back-end rebate, new front-end points, then you add all of the tech refreshes, competitive swaps, etc.—we think our partners are super excited. It will only help accelerate what is happening with their business. We’re making it very clear to them that all they have to do to get access to this is get a deal registration.

We just want our partners to get even more. In terms of PowerStore, midrange is the heart of the market. It’s 50 percent [of the total market]. Now we have this world-class PowerStore product that is a great offering that we believe is the No. 1 product in the marketplace.

Dell’s ‘All In’ On Channel Partners

For us, we’re all in on the channel. We want to win the data center with our channel partners. We have the broadest portfolio on the planet. Whether you want to talk about client, server, hyperconverged, core storage, primary storage, backup or virtualization—we want partners to win and make money.

Those partners selling one portfolio, they’re doing a nice job, but those partners who are selling two or three lines of business are making a significant amount of more money, their customers are happier and it’s providing a lot more profitability into the partner ecosystem. … We have to make it simple for partners to engage with us. So a lot of the work [Dell’s global channel chief] Rola [Dagher], myself, [Dell’s global sales leader] Billy Scannell are working on is making that engagement more and more simple.

We’re pretty proud of taking share in server, storage and client. We just want more. We want to win more with the channel.