Channel Marker

Sep 5 2008   2:31PM GMT

Surprise, surprise: Dell ignores partners yet again

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

It’s official: Dell’s practice of ignoring channel partners in its news announcements is a trend.

For the third time since May, Dell made no mention of its resellers during a major* news announcement. And as any journalist will tell you, if something happens three times, that’s a trend.

Earlier today I had an hourlong conference call about some Dell virtualization news coming out next week. There were five Dell executives on the call and at least two spokespeople. Nobody mentioned the channel at all during the call. So when the Q&A session rolled around, I asked about partner opportunities related to this news.

One exec admitted he wasn’t the right person to talk about it — and acknowledged there were no Dell channel people on the call who could talk about it. Then he said he’d “be happy” to put me in touch with the right person.

Great. That’s just what I want right now. More phone time with Dell.

(And to top it off, I just got an email from Dell PR that says they won’t be able to put me in touch with a channel spokesperson after all — less than two hours after an exec said he’d “be happy” to. Thanks a lot, guys. Really.)

After that, another exec chimed in that Dell partners, at least in her department, receive the same training and resources as the direct sales teams.

“It’s just everyday practice now,” she said.

Ohhhh, so that’s why Dell never mentions partners! The transition from channel enemy #1 to partners’ best friend has gone so smoothly, so quickly, that Dell now sees its VARs as part of its one big happy family. Riiiiight.

Let’s review what Dell has done the last few months:

  • May 7: Dell puts out a press release about its new virtualization push. The release doesn’t mention channel partners at all, which I write about on Twitter. Dell takes note.
  • Aug. 12: Dell issues a press release about its new line of laptops and again ignores the channel. I write a blog about it, and the Dell Channel Blog says, “We are actively going to showcase partner benefits in all upcoming launches.”
  • Sept. 5: Dell announces an upcoming launch and does not actively showcase partner benefits.

The issue isn’t the dedication of Dell’s channel team to its partners. It’s the attitude of the rest of the company, which has grown to be as successful as it has because of Dell’s direct sales strategy.

Dell’s channel team says they’re trying to get everyone else on board with this new approach, but after three glaring omissions, it’s clear that’s not working. It’s a troublesome trend that could spell major problems for Dell’s partner program.

*Truth be told, this announcement is pretty underwhelming. But Dell played it up as being important, and that’s the real issue here. If Dell thinks something’s a big deal, its partners should be involved, and they haven’t been.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Darryl
    So many partners have fallen for Dell's lies. They only care about Dell. Like the old moral says about the frog and the scorpion, the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across the river on his back. The frog says if I do that, you'll sting me and I'll die. The scorpion promises the frog that he won't do that. So the scorpion climbs on the frogs back, about halfway across the river the scorpion stings the frog. The frog asks the scorpion, why did you do that knowing you'll die as well. The scorpion tells the frog, what do you want from me, it's in my nature. Make a deal with the devil and you'll always get burned. All the partners care about is making the money. I like to make money too, but if I die without any, at least I'll have my dignity.
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  • Mike
    Darryl, As our channel team has mentioned numerous times, trust takes a long time to build. Partners that have given Dell a chance (and their customers the choice of our offerings) have seen that our channel offerings are geared to promote a long lasting and trusting relationship with Dell. The only plan of action for us is to deliver the best experience for our Partners and let word of mouth do the rest. Yes, our program has some growing to do, adjustments to be made, but it's a constantly evolving platform and we're always looking for ways to improve it and change it to suit the needs of our Partners. As for Colin's post here, take a look at his follow up post on the 9th:
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