Dell resellers have heaped praise on the vendor's direct sales staff after the firm told CRN of its plans to grow its direct and channel units at the same rate.
When Dell first launched in the channel eight years ago, some partners were sceptical about Dell's direct staff, fearing that they might pinch their deals and that the firm was not committed to the channel.
Earlier this week, Dell's UK general manager Sarah Shields told CRN that the company is looking to invest in its direct and partner business in equal measure now that the split between the two has reached 50:50. She said although she wants to grow the channel business, the company is also committed to pouring cash into its direct arm.
Despite the competition between the channel and direct staff, Dell partners have praised the strategy and said its direct staff can be an asset to the channel.
Dell partner Circle IT's managing director Roger Harry said that a 50:50 split is spot on.
"It's really important that Dell has a direct business because they open a lot of doors and allow the channel to come in and work with them," he said. "If they said 'we will get rid of direct', it would be... negative. It's ideal [as it is] from a channel perspective. I was with our Dell [partner manager] today and he opened a door for us to sell networking to a client."
He added that the Dell name alone can be an important factor in getting in with customers, which some smaller, lesser-known resellers would not be able to achieve.
"They open doors for us [and make it] easier," he added. "The split is not massively important – it is nice as it is. It's about them growing both sides of the business that is the most important bit for us."
Rupert Mills, director at Dell partner Krome Technologies said that his firm works well with the Dell direct staff.
"Once you work out how to play nicely with each other, it actually works out really well," he said.
"I've been going to the Dell channel meetings since they first started and we were there on day one saying 'hang on a minute, the direct guys are stealing our deals'. But now you can tell the new [partners at the meetings] because they're the ones saying they are having problems [with that].
"In reality, until you learn to work alongside the direct guys and co-exist, it is a challenge. Often [partners] see it as them trying to take our business, but realistically, they're trying to take the direct guys' business. There are bits they're good at and bits we're good at and the trick is to play to our strengths."
He added that while news the 50:50 split will remain is not a surprise, he hopes Dell will provide some clarity on how it divvies up business.
"What interests me is whether they would start to look at which product lines are the ones they want to deliver through the channel and which ones they want to deliver direct," he said. "Or will they look at a customer split or a vertical split?
"Right now, they are on-boarding new partners, and if they suggest that the 50:50 split is not going to change, I guess the question is: are they going to grow the direct sales force to match? Otherwise, that would be challenging for existing partners. If they bring on new partners, are they looking for them to eat into our revenue, or are they going to grow the internal sales force too?"
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