Home / cloud computing / ‘Refuse To Lose’: Dell EMC Primes Its Partners For A Storage Revolution – Page: 1

‘Refuse To Lose’: Dell EMC Primes Its Partners For A Storage Revolution – Page: 1

Dell EMC is waging an all-out assault on the storage market, investing $2 billion, hiring 1,200 new storage sales specialists, and initiating for the first time channel storage sales quotas aimed at driving big share gains in 2018 through partners.

Leading Dell EMC’s storage charge is a trio of tech veterans: Marius Haas, president and chief commercial officer for Dell EMC (pictured, far right); Joyce Mullen, the company’s recently minted global channel chief (pictured, center); and Scott Millard, an EMC veteran who is now vice president of global channels specialty sales at Dell EMC (pictured, far left).

Dell EMC is determined to stop storage share losses with a new aggressive “refuse to lose” sales strategy, Haas said.

[Related: Dell EMC Ups Its Storage Game]

“We are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” said a fired-up Haas in an exclusive interview with CRN. “It now needs to be real clear that we expect our team members and our partner ecosystem to really rally around the storage business. There are competitors out in the market and for some reason, in some cases, they have done better than we have. So we’re taking an approach around, ‘Hey, we’re going to take a ‘refuse to lose’ approach in the business.”

At the heart of the storage sales offensive are new robust storage compensation incentives for solution providers and the Dell EMC sales reps working side by side with those partners.

Hopkinton, Mass.-based Dell EMC plans to grow in the neighborhood of 5 percent to 10 percent above the market in its high-end and midrange storage business during fiscal year 2019, which begins in February, Haas said. The growth will “no doubt” come at the expense of competitors including NetApp and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, according to Haas. “We clearly need to make sure that we have the right resources to go in the right depth, to have the right architecture conversations that also enable our partners to sell the full breadth of the portfolio into all markets aggressively, from the high end all the way down to the low end,” he said.

Dell EMC has hired 1,200 new specialty sales personnel dedicated exclusively to storage, including data center partner managers and channel specialty sales executives focused on the partner-led selling motion around storage, converged infrastructure and data protection.

The company also has a parade of new storage products set to be rolled out in its new fiscal year. Those products stem from the massive $2 billion the company spent on storage-specific research and development in fiscal year 2018 in preparation for the storage charge.

Dell EMC is counting on channel partners, who account for about 70 percent of Dell’s midrange storage business, to drive the share gains. The company is incenting partners to attack the $14 billion midrange market in 2018 by implementing, for the first time, a storage-only quota for partners. In the past, Dell had a combined storage and server quota, but that’s no longer the case.

“We are getting real precise around the expectations of our sellers to say, ‘Storage is critically important. You’re going to be driving it.’ We got a phenomenal storage team that came to us with the EMC acquisition. Now what we want to do is turn that into an engine that is just going to drive extremely hard,” said Haas. “We’re also going to create training programs, enablement programs, MDFs and back-end rebates commensurate with our ambition to clearly have an aggressive share gain plan next fiscal year.”

Dell EMC is counting on channel partners, who account for about 70 percent of Dell’s midrange storage business, to drive the share gains. The company is incenting partners to attack the $14 billion midrange market in 2018 by implementing, for the first time, a storage-only quota for partners. In the past, Dell had a combined storage and server quota, but that’s no longer the case.

“We are getting real precise around the expectations of our sellers to say, ‘Storage is critically important. You’re going to be driving it.’ We got a phenomenal storage team that came to us with the EMC acquisition. Now what we want to do is turn that into an engine that is just going to drive extremely hard,” said Haas. “We’re also going to create training programs, enablement programs, MDFs and back-end rebates commensurate with our ambition to clearly have an aggressive share gain plan next fiscal year.

Michael Thomaschewski, CTO of hybrid infrastructure at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based Dell EMC partner ranked No. 87 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500 list, said the rejuvenated storage charge and new resources undoubtedly will boost Long View’s bottom line.

“Adding 1,200 employees is nothing to sneeze at. That’s an astronomical investment on [Dell Chairman and CEO] Michael Dell’s part and his organization,” said Thomaschewski. “The doubling down on this is really sending a message to the market: ‘We are not going anywhere and storage is still something everybody needs, and we see a huge growth opportunity in it.’ That’s a key way of driving the market toward a particular direction that I think they’ll be successful at.”

Dell EMC began the storage offensive in earnest in November with new all-flash versions of its midrange SC Series, giving partners one SKU and all-inclusive software. The company also recently enhanced its Dell EMC Unity product line offering to include deduplication, cloud-tiering and online data-in-place upgrades.

“The product set is on fire,” said Thomaschewski, adding that Long View’s Dell EMC storage sales were up nearly 10 percent in 2017 compared with 2016 with a large spike in all-flash sales including XtremIO and Unity.

In addition, Dell EMC recently added its 14G PowerEdge servers to its hyper-converged appliance, VxRail, along with specialty pricing for partners. Dell EMC is reducing the standard price for VxRail and Unity for partners by “double digits” with the goal of “getting partners to a winning price faster,” said Dell EMC’s Millard. “It’s priced to win. We are looking to signicantly increase our volume and win rates in midrange with our partners,” Millard said.

Dell EMC plans to accelerate the storage innovation march in 2018 with signicant new investments in next-generation ash technology for its SC Series and Unity product lines, said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing, storage and data protection at Dell EMC.

One of the big bets for the new year will be in the form of game-changing machine-learning technology. “We’ll have new technologies and products that double down on not only having better intelligence around the data, but being able to automate action around that information and be more effective, more secure and more efcient in how we provide value to our customers storing their data,” said Grocott.

Dell EMC also is planning to continue to advance the integration of both SC Series and Unity into the cloud. “Being able to natively tier into the cloud and being able to provide insight into your data that’s both on-premise and off-premise will be a big focus of ours as well as we move more to a hybrid cloud world,” said Grocott.

Although Dell EMC’s server and client business has been on fire, the company’s worldwide enterprise storage business was flat year over year during the third quarter of 2017 with sales of $2.2 billion, according to research firm IDC. Dell’s external enterprise storage sales fell 4 percent during the third quarter to $1.6 billion. However, Dell EMC still holds a commanding leadership position in the global external storage market with 28.8 percent share, followed by NetApp at 12.5 percent, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise with 11.4 percent, according to IDC.

To combat the flat storage sales and turn up the heat on the the competition, Dell is doubling down on partner programs and incentives to drive channel profitability, aiming to displace its rivals.

The company’s new #GetModern program provides partners with the same assessment and proposal tools used by Dell EMC’s internal sales teams to facilitate data center sales. In the U.S., partner reps and sales engineers can earn up to $10,000 each for selling all-flash arrays or converged infrastructure, as well as 1.5 percent of the deal value if it includes a competitive swap of up to $30,000. Dell EMC also is paying $500 to partner reps and sales engineers for proposal and registration, and $1,000 for demand generation, even if the solution provider fails to close the deal.

Over the past few months, the program already has led to $750 million in the pipeline for the channel, according to Millard. “We are really putting our money where our mouth is with regards to the key programs we’re driving with our partners,” said Millard. “These midrange announcements around new programs and products are just the beginning of a wave of announcements you’re going to see over the next six months.”

One partner reaping the benefits of the #GetModern program is Waltham, Mass.-based Winslow Technology Group.

The program’s tools and proposal templates have helped the solution provider generate a total of 105 new proposals around all-flash products like Dell EMC Unity, SC Series, Isilon and VxRail.

“That’s 105 customers getting proposals. It’s no coincidence that, as a company, we’ve already hit our storage target for the quarter after only six weeks. We are right now blowing out our storage number,” said Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group. “Our salespeople and our solutions architects are being incented nicely to put those proposals together, so now it gets the activity going. It’s a win for the customer because they get a nice package that they can sell internally, but then our salespeople get additional compensation for it. That’s extremely effective.”

Another program driving channel storage sales is Dell’s new Future-Proof Storage Loyalty Program, which includes a customer three-year, satisfaction guarantee; trade-in credits toward new Dell EMC storage products; a storage efficiency guarantee; all-inclusive software; and one year of built-in Virtustream Storage Cloud for new buyers of Dell EMC Unity storage products.

Millard said Dell built the Future-Proof Storage Loyalty Program to be the top storage partner program in the industry “It doesn’t cost anything extra for a partner. So there’s no additional cost and if you look at competitors’ programs, their return policy is typically 30 days—ours is three years,” he said. “So right out of the gate you can see the uniqueness of the program.”


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