New storage incents and rebate changes highlight Dell EMC partner program improvements

The beginning of the new Dell EMC fiscal year in February is always the time for the most significant changes to their partner program, although the company acknowledged the changes this year are more about fine-tuning.

Joyce Mullen, president of global channels, OEM and IoT Solutions, Dell EMC

On Wednesday, Dell EMC presented their partner program changes for the upcoming fiscal year. While no dramatic changes to the still relatively new program were announced, some enhancements were made. The areas of focus were also remarkably similar to last year – storage, services, and bringing in net-new business.

“This year is about refinements,” said Joyce Mullen, president of global channels, OEM and IoT Solutions, Dell EMC. “We have no plans to make any major overhauls. We are refining processes to make it easier to do business with us.”

Mullen reiterated Dell’s objective to get the amount of business done through partners up to $50 billion, up from the current $43 billion.

“We know exactly what it takes to get to $50 billion dollars,” she said. “You told us consistency is really key and we are committed to that.” She indicated that their most recent data, for Q3, showed that global channel revenue was up 9 per cent, and that the channel brought in 33,000 new customers. Distribution revenue was up double digits year-over-year. Client business done through the channel was up over 15 per cent, while server revenue was up 26 per cent. Dell partners also earned over 56,000 credentials in the last year.

“The Partner Net Promoter score with us was at an all-time high,” she said.

Mullen introduced the big picture themes for the upcoming year early on.

“We need you to sell storage all day every day, and we are making improvements there to enable you,” Mullen said. “We want you to attach services, and we want you to bring in new customers.”

New storage spiffs were actually unveiled at the end of the program, but they are the item most likely to catch partner attention.

Scott Millard, Vice President of Global Channels Specialty Sales for Dell EMC, indicated that partners will see a torrent of new storage product unveiled in the runup to Dell Technologies World at the end of April.

“Expect a barrage of game-changing announcements,” he said.

Dell EMC announced last year that they were making a significant number of new storage hires to work with partners, and Millard said that this had had a positive impact.

“Data centre sales executives have been inserted into the deal registration commercial process for Tier One conflicts,” he said. “The result is that 15 per cent of deal registrations that had been rejected were  changed to approved. We also eliminated the Compellent configuration and quoting backlog, and continue to invest in partner enablement and shared services resources. We have also dramatically reduced transfer pricing on Velocity [VxRail and Unity] products to get you to a winning price faster.”

Millard then turned to his headline news, in what he described as their largest series of incentive payments ever. They are introducing a new incentive of $250 for completing a valid deal registration proposal with their Quick Proposal tool.

“Sales reps and SEs can also earn one per cent of deal size, up to $10,000 each for selling modern architectures,” he said. “They can earn up to two per cent, up to $20,000 each, for cross-selling any storage deal with data protection. They can also earn three per cent of deal size up to $30,000 on any competitive swap on net-new accounts.”

Kim DeLeon, Vice President, Global Channel Programs at Dell EMC, reviewed the 2018 program framework, most of which remains the same as last year.

“In 2018, base rebates will start at Dollar One, like last year,” she said. “However, services rebates will now start at Dollar One, with services gates being removed.”

New business rebates have also been enhanced to open up additional storage opportunities.

“Data protection is now independent from storage when calculating New Business Incentives,” DeLeon said.

Client, Peripheral and Display [CPD] rebates are also increasing in most regions.

“We want to reward you for attaching not only services, but also for attaching our ecosystem of products,” DeLeon said. “CPD now pays from dollar one with no gates.”

The training requirements deadline has been extended and is now aligned with revenue deadline at the end of the program year, Feb 1, 2019.

“The requirements have been simplified and unified across training paths on a  1-2-3 basis, with one competency for Gold, two for Platinum and Three for Titanium.” DeLeon said.

Another enhancement is the introduction of maintenance training.

“Partners who completed training last year can enroll in refresher courses, which are shorter and typically only take a third of the time to complete,” DeLeon indicated.

Eight new solutions competencies will also be rolled out in 2018. Three of them will be available now, at the start of Q1. They are software-defined infrastructure, hybrid cloud and connected workforce competencies.

“Much of the content is foundational and will count towards other competencies,” DeLeon said.

Erica Lambert, ‎Vice President, Global Channel Services Sales at Dell EMC, introduced what she termed some significant enhancements to services rebates.

“You start earning earning rebates from Dollar One on clients, servers and networking,” she said. “You earn one per cent with ProSupport and 1.5 per cent on total revenue, and 3.5 per cent on other services.” That includes 3.5 per cent on deployment education and consulting relating to storage.

Cheryl Cook, Dell EMC SVP, Global Channel Marketing, reviewed changes that are being implemented in simplifying tools, processes and operational experience, including the formalization of a distribution advisory board.

She indicated that their priorities are: improvement of the deal registration approval process; more support of direct-channel engagement and collaboration; enhancement of the partner pricing and quoting experience; increasing capacity for deal registration; configuration and quotation partner support; increasing special pricing support; enhancing reporting and analysis; improving data hygiene and governance; and driving more robust communication and engagement.

“We have simplified our marketing training for partners, which is the same as our internal teams take,” Cook said. “Marketing courses are critical for driving awareness around tools and MDF programs.”

Cook introduced some MDF changes, although she indicated they will continue to offer both earned and proposal-based MDF, which they see as being a differentiator in the marketplace for them.

“You told us that we had room to improve on the overall claiming experience, so we have simplified it to decrease the administrative burden,” she said. “We are looking to significantly decrease the administrative burden you have been experiencing with MDF.”

The changes begin with removing front-end documentation, travel stipends and expense forms for most earned MDF.

“You can now also get approval for future activities, even with a $0 balance, to help  you go to market quicker,” Cook said. Partners can now also upload multiple activities at once through a new bulk upload template, to decrease MDF administration.