Dell channel partners are responding exceptionally well to the company’s new software competencies, training programs and go-to-market initiatives, leading to a substantial increase in registered deals and revenue through the PartnerDirect program.
Dell introduced new software-specific enhancements and initiatives in September 2013, allowing partners to sell software solutions and secure associated rebates to grow their businesses.
“If you look back over the past three or four years, Dell as a whole has been evolving to become more of an end-to-end solution provider,” said Marvin Blough, Executive Director of Worldwide Channels and Alliances for Dell Software. “Rather than just PCs and servers we knew we needed to change our model because there’s a lot of change going on in the business.”
Pointing to the channel-wide impact of the cloud and mobility, Blough noted that Dell’s program transformation also was driven by its slew of acquisitions.
“We took about 12 different companies and put them together into the Dell Software Group,” he explained. “All those companies had varying degrees of channel go-to-market. For example, SonicWALL was 100% channel, while Quest was 50% or so.”
There also were different approaches to partner programs. “We spent the first year trying to pull those together and harmonize the different channel programs,” Blough said. “We took all those different programs and migrated them into partner direct. It was clear from partners that they wanted a single program to work with.”
Channel partners have embraced the new opportunity to offer customers the end-to-end solutions Dell is now touting, putting the software division on a strong growth trajectory. In fact, deal registration has increased 61% year over year and the value of those registered deals has grown 32% quarter over quarter. Revenue has increased 15% since Q2 2013 and Dell’s channel has grown to represent approximately 60% of Dell’s global volume.
The changes made to Dell’s channel program provide partners with a number of benefits, offering new paths to Premier status, rewards for training and sales achievement through Dell Partner AdvantEdge, marketing and market development funding for lead generation, and white glove support from the Certified Partner Resource Desk.
Dell also gives partners the option to focus on specific software divisions and offerings. “We wanted to give partners the flexibility to focus on security, for example,” Blough said. “That way, they could become certified and get the highest level of title and position within the program.”
More than 11,000 individuals at 3,500 unique partner organizations have completed more than 37,000 Dell Software training courses over the past year. Course completion also has increased by 102% worldwide. Data protection and security training were spotlighted as especially popular: 40% of all training courses completed were regarding data protection and 27% were focused on security.
“This is way beyond what we expected,” Blough said. “We’re seeing huge demand and appetite for the training we released regarding our software products, and there is a ton of interest from Dell partners so they can get to know the software products.”
Up to $23 billion dollars of business is now flowing through partners, Blough reported, representing 37% of Dell’s total revenue.
Due to resounding support from channel partners, Dell is by no means setting a limit on growth goals for the channel business. “There are no limits for us,” Blough said. “It’s a huge opportunity for us and the Dell product portfolio and we’re looking to our partners to reach more customers.”
However, Dell does plan to experiment with its training programs, starting with implementing more in-person events. Blough noted that the most significant feedback from partners thus far is that they’d like to receive more advanced technical training via workshops and hands-on classes.