Leaning forward, maintaining eye contact with a refreshing sense of vendor honesty, Geoff Wright - General Manager of Channel and Alliances, Dell Australia and New Zealand - nodded in industry agreement.
“We’re not the most channel centric vendor in the market, we know that,” says Wright, speaking exclusively to Reseller News.
“But that’s our goal. The channel is still wary because every partner will have had a deal that they believe Dell stole sometime in the past. And we now have to counter that and win hearts and minds both internally and externally.
“It’ll be a bumpy ride but our invitation to partners is to come on that ride and become part of the growth as we realise our potential in the channel. Or wait until we get there and everything is perfect but someone else has cut your lunch. That’s what we have to offer.”
A simple statement perhaps, but a welcome one for partners in New Zealand, partners no doubt tarnished by the direct nature of the tech giant in the past.
In fact, the industry had a term for it, with many resellers “getting Dell’d” during the years, as the vendor snuck in and stole an end-user deal at the last hurdle.
But with Wright now on board - experiencing a full year in the role having joined in May 2015 - the wheels of local channel change are in motion, as the end-to-end vendor makes serious strides to create deeper collaboration with Kiwi partners.
“Everyday we’re working closely with the channel in a hands on capacity, solving issues and showing our showing levels of ethics and governance to partners,” Wright adds.
“It’ll take time for partners to see it and we understand that. One partner might see it but in New Zealand the rest might not, but we’re constantly changing and supporting our channel.”
A key indicator of Dell’s changing tactics is already playing out in the numbers, with 50 percent of the company’s global revenue now coming through the channel, up from 40 percent a year ago.
“Imagine moving ten percent of revenue, that’s a big number for Dell,” Wright adds.
Wright says that closer to home, Dell has doubled its channel revenue across Australia and New Zealand during the past year, citing “lots of potential” for partners keen to capitalise on the company’s refocused go-to-market strategies.
Kiwi channel strategy
As Wright explains, Dell’s approach to the local channel revolves around two key aspects - lift and shift.
“With regards to lift, we’re offering up to ten percent rebate for partners bringing in brand new revenue and new customers,” he adds.
“And for shift, one of the advantages of working with Dell for a channel partner is being able to utilise its direct sales force. We’re arriving at a collaborative state where Dell Account Managers are compensated on deals irrespective of the route to market, so the incentive is there to work closely with partners and help get deals across the line.
“We have Account Managers who understand what’s going on with customers from a strategy perspective and can provide the advice and resources required. And when you combine that with a channel partner, that’s one hell of a team and a key advantage.”
In New Zealand, Wright works closely with James Arnold - Country Manager, Dell New Zealand - as the local team builds a foundation for further channel growth, in its 20th year of Kiwi operations.
After selecting Computer Concepts Limited (CCL) as its preferred partner for business IT equipment in New Zealand’s South Island in February 2015, Dell is continuing to transform its business model to a multi-channel approach, designed to create value for partners.
“The South Island is a channel only territory for Dell,” Wright says. “We don’t have any direct engagement with South Island accounts, just Account Managers working on the large customers in a touch only manner, with the execution fulfilled by the partner.
“In the North Island, there is perhaps potential for a similar model in certain areas, but we’re still trialling strategies and developing our channel plans in a way that means we all make money.”