Keeping Customers and Channel Partners In Mind

A few months ago, I ate my words when Dell announced an enhanced partner program. While I thought they’d never understand how to do this, they proved me wrong by launching quite the partner program based on a solid year of research they did with their partners before going live. Back at their launch, I applauded Dell for bringing more profitability to partners who showed investment in their offerings by designing a tiered program. I also was excited that Dell was thinking about their end customer’s needs when building the partner program.

Fast forward a few months down the road and Dell has stuck to their word. Again, I’m eating mine. They’re doing what I believe is essential in developing strong partner programs: keeping the partner and the end customer in mind.

What are they up to?

Late last week, Dell announced on a call with their partners the launch of a handful of new Small Business Server Bundles they can offer customers. These bundles are perfect for entry-level businesses and are business-ready, prepped with the software and power small businesses need. Even better? Dell knows that in this economy small businesses may be hesitant to make larger tech investments. Because of this, they have created a financing option channel partners can offer customers.

What’s the purpose of these bundles? How do they help partners?

We know it doesn’t do partners well to engage in a partnership program where they don’t see the growth in their business or feel supported in helping their customers. Despite this, company after company repurposes what they produce for their direct sales team before sending it onto their partners. Partners only thrive by growing their customer base and providing solutions they can support. They need end customer centric trainings and offerings from vendors to thrive as channel partners.

Dell has caught onto this. Instead of perceiving their partners as competition in closing deals, they’re creating solutions that their partners can easily sell in response to their customers’ needs. By offering their newly announced small business bundles, Dell’s partners now have a handful of options that speak directly to their customers: fully equipped and ready to go bundles, a variety of price levels and options for financing.

So, as a vendor, what can you learn from this?

I’ve said before that partner program benefits like these bundles and trainings on how to sell them are often perceived as partner perks not givens. The truth is, investing in your partners’ sales success means your success as a vendor. The better your partners do selling to their end customer, the better your bottom line.

Dell has taken a big step forward in their partner program by focusing on helping their partners more easily close deals. What can you learn from this? Focus on your partners’ customers’ needs and then help them sell, sell, sell. In the end, Dell’s showing us it will do you, the vendor, well.

Who else is doing this well? As solution providers, are you engaging with Dell or others?

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