Over the last year, Dell EMC has been firing on all cylinders to engage its existing channel partners and rope in new ones. From rolling out a unified channel program to unveiling a lucrative incentive scheme to simplifying partner training, the IT giant seems to have cracked the code to winning new partners and retaining existing ones.
An impressive 70 percent of Dell EMC’s APJ partners reported increased payouts and in FY17-18, the company witnessed a 35 percent spike in net new customers in the Indian market.
Ng Tian Beng, Senior VP & General Manager – Channels, APJ at Dell EMC, in an exclusive interaction with ChannelWorld, throws light on the company’s new channel partner program, focus on emerging technologies, and the secret sauce to partner loyalty.
What are the three trends you've noticed in the channel business in the APJ region?
We’ve seen four major transformations in the channel business:
1. Digital transformation: We see numerous organizations entering the digital economy by moving their applications to the cloud.
2. The other trend we're witnessing is in IT transformation. Organizations are deploying the latest technology like hyperconverged, software-defined infra and all-flash.
3. The third trend is around workforce transformation. This revolves around end-point transformations and is resulting in end-point devices becoming more connected.
4. The fourth transformation is around security. This aspect extends to securing the datacenter as well as securing end-point devices.
Our strategy is to be able to encompass all the four aspects of digital transformation. We have the broadest portfolio in the IT industry, and that makes us uniquely positioned in the industry.
For security, we have RSA and Secureworks; in terms of infrastructure, we have a massive presence - in terms of servers, storage, desktops or notebooks; to enable digital transformation, we've acquired Pivotal - one of the key enablers that help companies accelerate the process of writing and deploying an app.
Our alliance with VMware makes our position stronger due to the capabilities brought by Airwatch and NSX.
With channel partners working with multiple vendors, how does Dell EMC ensure 'stickiness' and loyalty among its partners?
Our channel program was initially focused only on Dell EMC. But starting this year, one of the big initiatives we've taken is that we've started working across the other six brands within the company.
We've started working on our channel program across other companies like VMware. Over time, we will be extending our engagement with the other companies like Pivotal and RSA.
We've also brought in something called 'line-of-business incumbency'. We give them an incumbent partner and this brings about the 'stickiness' factor as it acts as a protection provided to them.
In terms of incentivization, what changes has Dell EMC brought about in its channel partner program?
In terms of incentivization, we have really started focusing on storage - we're doubling our storage incentives. We invested USD 2 billion last year for developing new solutions around storage. We've also announced a plan to hire 1200 new storage sales specialists.
$250 in points for just completing a proposal.
1% of deal size – up to $10K in points each, for selling modern architectures.
2% of deal size – up to $20K in points each, for cross selling any storage deal with data protection.
3% of deal size – up to $30K in points each, for displacing a competitor.
We're giving USD 250 to the sales rep for just making a proposal. Now this is where the money gets really attractive - we're giving our partners incentives ranging from one percent of the deal size up to USD 10,000 each for the sales and pre-sales person of partner companies.
Dell EMC is also focusing on incentivizing sales for its modern architecture solutions; its modern architecture includes all-flash and hyperconverged infrastructure.
If partners sell modern architecture solutions from us, for instance Dell data protection solutions, they get anything between two percent of the deal size to USD 20,000 per sales person.
Additionally, if a partner succeeds in displacing a competitor it stands to win anything between three percent of the deal value to USD 30,000 for both the pre-sales and sales personnel. We believe our incentive program is the most attractive in the industry.
Could you throw some light on Dell EMC's focus on hyperconverged infra. What added advantage does the company bring to the table?
We sell two types of hyperconverged solutions - one is running on VxRail and the other one is based on Nutanix's solution.
We've observed hyperconverged infra to be the fastest growing segment of the storage market. A lot of customers are turning towards it because of the ease of combining compute, networking and storage.
Companies do not have to purchase separate components and invest resources on managing storage, compute and networking. It makes it very easy and economical to manage infra with a layer of software on top, and this is the reason we're seeing a lot of our customers turn to hyperconverged.
Presently, channel partners' interactions are not restricted to just CIOs. What does Dell EMC do to ensure that its partners are equipped to drive better conversations with stakeholders?
Training partners on every single LOB - from compute, to storage to HCI - happens on a regular basis. Our 'Heroes program' is a rigorous course that caters to the training aspect for partners.
We lay a lot of importance around training, and if a partner does not pass the test, it can be out of the metal partner category (gold/platinum/titanium). We audit every six months to get a read on where they stand. So that's the level of seriousness we have around the training process.
We also help our partners spot and capitalize on large opportunities, increase ROI, and walk them through the whole sales lifecycle through our-investor-ready' program.
It's been a year since Dell EMC launched the unified channel program. How has Indian enterprise reacted to the roll-out?
The unified program was designed around three principles - simplicity, predictability and profitability. And I'm happy to say that we've definitely executed our vision.
“In terms of incentivization, we have really started focusing on storage - we're doubling our storage incentives. We invested USD 2 billion last year for developing new solutions around storage. We've also announced a plan to hire 1200 new storage sales specialists.”
Ng Tian Beng, Senior VP & GM– Channels (APJ), Dell EMC
The good news is that 70 percent of our partners in APJ got paid more, compared to the year before the roll-out.
Additionally, we've made the training program a lot simpler for our partners, because the feedback we received was that the training program was pretty difficult to pass. So, we've reduced the minimum number of modules and hours a partner has to take up by 50 percent.
Predictability is another huge factor as it's responsible for raking in higher profits. If your business is not predictable, you're not going to see profits coming your way. In APJ alone, we bagged 4,700 net new customers, and in India we have had 1,600 - that's a 35 percent spike over a year.