Refuse To Lose’: Dell EMC Primes Its Partners For A Storage Revolution
@Dell EMC is waging an all-out assault on the storage market, investing $2 billion, hiring 1,200 new storage sales specialists, and initiating for the first time channel storage sales quotas aimed at driving big share gains in 2018 through partners. Leading Dell EMC’s storage charge is a trio of tech veterans: @Marius Haas, president and chief commercial officer for Dell EMC (pictured, far right); @Joyce Mullen, the company’s recently minted global channel chief (pictured, center); and @Scott Millard, an EMC veteran who is now vice president of global channels specialty sales at Dell EMC (pictured, far left). Dell EMC is determined to stop storage share losses with a new aggressive “refuse to lose” sales strategy, Haas said. [Related: Dell EMC Ups Its Storage Game] “We are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” said a fired-up Haas in an exclusive interview with CRN. “It now needs to be real clear that we expect our team members and our partner ecosystem to really rally around the storage business. There are competitors out in the market and for some reason, in some cases, they have done better than we have. So we’re taking an approach around, ‘Hey, we’re going to take a ‘refuse to lose’ approach in the business.” [Sponsored Suggested Post: IoTConnex Virtual Conference On Demand Discover new IoT research and insights. Hear solution provider success stories. Find your IoT opportunity.] At the heart of the storage sales offensive are new robust storage compensation incentives for solution providers and the Dell EMC sales reps working side by side with those partners. Hopkinton, Mass.-based Dell EMC plans to grow in the neighborhood of 5 percent to 10 percent above the market in its high-end and midrange storage business during fiscal year 2019, which begins in February, Haas said. The growth will “no doubt” come at the expense of competitors including NetApp and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, according to Haas. “We clearly need to make sure that we have the right resources to go in the right depth, to have the right architecture conversations that also enable our partners to sell the full breadth of the portfolio into all markets aggressively, from the high end all the way down to the low end,” he said. Dell EMC has hired 1,200 new specialty sales personnel dedicated exclusively to storage, including data center partner managers and channel specialty sales executives focused on the partner-led selling motion around storage, converged infrastructure and data protection. The company also has a parade of new storage products set to be rolled out in its new fiscal year. Those products stem from the massive $2 billion the company spent on storage-specific research and development in fiscal year 2018 in preparation for the storage charge. Dell EMC is counting on channel partners, who account for about 70 percent of Dell’s midrange storage business, to drive the share gains. The company is incenting partners to attack the $14 billion midrange market in 2018 by implementing, for the first time, a storage-only quota for partners. In the past, Dell has a combined storage and server quota, but that’s no longer the case. “We are getting real precise around the expectations of our sellers to say, ‘Storage is critically important. You’re going to be driving it.’ We got a phenomenal storage team that came to us with the EMC acquisition. Now what we want to do is turn that into an engine that is just going to drive extremely hard,” said Haas. “We’re also going to create training programs, enablement programs, MDFs and back-end rebates commensurate with our ambition to clearly have an aggressive share gain plan next fiscal year.” Michael Thomaschewski, CTO of hybrid infrastructure at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based Dell EMC partner ranked No. 87 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500 list, said the rejuvenated storage charge and new resources undoubtedly will boost Long View’s bottom line. ￼ “Adding 1,200 employees is nothing to sneeze at. That’s an astronomical investment on [Dell Chairman and CEO] Michael Dell’s part and his organization,” said Thomaschewski. “The doubling down on this is really sending a message to the market: ‘We are not going anywhere and storage is still something everybody needs, and we see a huge growth opportunity in it.’ That’s a key way of driving the market toward a particular direction that I think they’ll be successful at.” Dell EMC began the storage offensive in earnest in November with new all-flash versions of its midrange Compellent SC series, giving partners one SKU and all-inclusive software. The company also recently enhanced its Unity product line offering to include deduplication and synchronous file replication for zero data loss with protection for critical cloud data. “The product set is on fire,” said Thomaschewski, adding that Long View’s Dell EMC storage sales were up nearly 10 percent in 2017 compared with 2016 with a large spike in all-flash sales including XtremIO and Unity. In addition, Dell EMC recently added its 14G PowerEdge servers to its hyper-converged appliance, VxRail, along with specialty pricing for partners. Dell is reducing the standard price for VxRail and Unity for partners by “double digits” with the goal of “getting partners to a winning price faster,” said Dell EMC’s Millard. “It’s priced to win. We are looking to significantly increase our volume and win rates in midrange with our partners,” Millard said. Dell EMC plans to accelerate the storage innovation march in 2018 with significant new investments in next-generation flash technology for its SC and Unity product lines, said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing, storage and data protection at Dell EMC.