Dell goes partner-first on storage

Vendor will hand channel significant amount of business as it looks to drive increased sales through partners

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Dell has taken the decision to go channel-first on its storage portfolio, significantly raising the volume of business that will go through the channel.

The vendor has chosen a moment when the spotlight is firmly on data and generating insights through tools such as generative artificial intelligence, as customers across all verticals look to drive further digital transformation.

Rob Tomlin, vice-president of UK channel at Dell Technologies, said what partner-first means in practical terms is incentives for the Dell sales team to push business to partners and an expectation that nearly all the storage business will now be going through the channel.

“With this announcement, over 99% of Dell’s customers and potential customers will be considered partner-first,” he said. “Dell will be paying our sales reps more, which is the first time that’s ever happened, to sell storage through the channel, accelerating commission.

“At the same time, we’ll also be protecting our partners, so when they bring customers to us, we have something called partner of record,” said Tomlin. “When they sell to that customer, they then get protected for the next three years. And our partner record programme will be actually quadrupled, so we’ll have four times the amount of customers protected.

“There’s a lot going on in the market today, and the momentum the market has with the boom of data is immense,” he added. “It creates a big opportunity for our partners and a big opportunity for our customers to see what they can do with their data and what they can do with modernising the infrastructure as they go forward.”

Tomlin said that when the vendor had made the decision to go partner-first in other areas of the business it had delivered results. “We went channel-first in the UK in a number of areas of our business just over two years ago now, and the impacts were immense for us,” he said. “We had fantastic growth. Today’s announcement, which is a global announcement, really accelerates that.”

Change of approach

The latest move is one that has also been influenced by partners who signalled their desire for a change of approach on the storage front.

“They fed back to us that if we were to remove any ambiguity from our go-to-market, it will increase the amount of investment they make and the collaboration you have with those in the field every single day,” said Tomlin.

Adrian McDonald, president of EMEA at Dell Technologies, said storage was a crucial area for those customers looking to the channel to help them drive digital transformation.

“If you talk to the companies who are moving fastest in the market nowadays, the number one thing they’re focused on is data purity, and they’re focused on the disciplines of having reliable, fresh, usable data that will allow them to get the insights they want to get in the right way going forward,” he said. “There’s a huge amount of work done around ensuring the quality of data is of the standard required.”

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