Dell uses partner feedback to improve channel partner program

After hiring two consulting organizations and analyzing partner feedback, Dell launched a new enhanced global channel program structure last month. The company's PartnerDirect program now offers channel partners two new tiers – premier and preferred – based on their commitment, training and certifications.

"True small shops … are going to find the certification and revenue commitments still within scope," Bob Skelley, global channel partner program and channel executive director at Dell, told information technology channel news blog The VAR Guy. "We really structured this – with the feedback of our partners – so that it is attainable."

According to Greg Davis, the vice president and general manager of Dell Global Commercial Channels, the improved benefits are "based on input … received directly from our partner community."

In a bid to encourage partners of all sizes to become certified, Dell is not charging for training. This will make it easier for products to be sold across the board.

Companies that were previously known as Dell certified partners are now categorized as preferred partners. Those that reach this level are Dell solutions experts who reach a minimum annual revenue threshold and have at least one certification from the company. Preferred partners receive enhanced deal registration terms of 120 days, including access to Dell-generated leads and extended storage product deal registration.

Members of the highest tier, known as premier partners, demonstrate a high level of commitment, maintain a minimum annual revenue threshold and have at least two certifications from the company. The new benefits they receive include rebates on certain products, access to the Dell Product Incentive Program that provides additional channel incentives, unlimited concurrent deal registration and 180-day deal registration, priority access to support and potential access to leads generated by the company.

The benefits for registered partners remain the same.

According to Heather Margolis of Channel Maven Consulting, writing for information technology channel news blog The VAR Guy, involving partners in the process of program enhancement helped Dell to formulate a better program.

"Dell is thinking about the customer when putting in place commitments from and benefits for its partners," writes Margolis. "It doesn't do much good to require partners to do something that, in the end, doesn't actually drive more business or help partners support customers."