Dell’s commitment to the channel has been called into question by partners frustrated at the lack of support they receive from the vendor.
Over the past few weeks, CRN has received reports from a slew of Dell’s Registered partners who are dismayed by the vendor’s treatment of them.
Oliver Marshall, a partner at Dell Registered VAR G2 Support, said he has noticed a massive reduction in partner support.
“We used to get great links into Dell via our account manager who used to pass us on information and discounts,” he said.
“Now, it has become very difficult to get in contact with your account manager and impossible to get hold of their manager too.”
He also claims to have noticed a downturn in the availability of seed units and product sales loans over the past 12 months.
“A client wanted to upgrade 20 old Latitude laptops, which would have cost over £20,000,” said Marshall. “
We wanted a sales loan to show the client what the new models offer, but Dell would not consider it and we lost the deal.”
Martin Lulham, managing director of Dell VAR M-Tech Systems, said the only way to succeed as a Registered partner was to go it alone wherever possible.
“You have to be self-sufficient and know your products,” he said. “As soon as you need any help with products or pricing, that is when things become tedious.”
Steven Smith, owner of Dell Registered VAR Bitopia, said he has experienced problems with the vendor’s direct sales arm undercutting the channel.
“Our experience of working with Dell has been horrendous.
“The pricing available on the partner portal is often worse than what is quoted on the public site and your margin is constantly being eaten up by its direct sales team,” he said.
In Smith’s case, the situation has become so bad his firm has started to favour HP instead.
“Dell opened up its business to the channel, but you get the impression that it would much rather sell direct,” he added.
ANS Group, a Certified Dell partner since 2009, said its relationship with the vendor has soured for similar reasons.
Paul Sweeney, managing director of ANS Group, said: “It [the partnership] did not live up to expectations because there was so much conflict between the direct sales people and our own. Dell undercut us on every opportunity.”
Kathy Schneider, channel marketing and programme director at Dell, said VARs experiencing partner support problems should see some improvement over the coming months.
“The issue is that as our channel business has grown across Europe, unfortunately the growth of our internal sales force has been slightly behind the curve,” she explained.
“The plan is to reduce the number of accounts that each sales manager takes care of, a process that we hope to have completed in the autumn.”
She also advised those coming into conflict with Dell’s direct sales team to use the deal registration process to protect themselves.
“The number of partners using deal registration is growing every quarter and we have recently reduced the threshold for it to account for smaller deals and Registered partners,” she added.
As for problems with obtaining seed units, Schneider said the firm has made a number of changes to the scheme to make them easier for partners to obtain.
“It is an initiative that we have extended out to our Registered partners over the past year and pushed more investment towards, but the budget for it each quarter is finite” she said.
“It could be that when partners apply, the funding has been used up and it is not possible to supply them with units, or that the deals they are working on are not big enough to qualify.”
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