Dell Boosts Storage Sales Incentives, Toasts Partner Financial Successes

Cheryl Cook touts updates to Dell incentives and rebates; plus, kudos to partners for great results.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

March 29, 2021

5 Min Read
Incentives with Money

Dell has expanded incentives and rebates on its midrange storage portfolio.

In November, Dell introduced an initiative for its PowerStore all flash storage platform. It gave partners 20 points in combined front-end discounts and back-end incentives. Now, it is increasing discounts and expanding the initiative to include the PowerScale family, including Isilon.

Partners selling eligible PowerStore or PowerScale products with approved deal registration will get a bigger front-end discount. It aims to provide an average 20 points in addition to standard eligible storage and acquisition back-end rebates.

Cheryl Cook is SVP, global partner, embedded and edge solution marketing, at Dell. She said the initiative “addresses a sweet spot in the market.” She adds PowerStore is the fastest growing product in Dell’s history, outselling even VxRail.


Dell’s Cheryl Cook

“[It’s] locking arms and really sharing in those incentives so that [partners] can continue to lean in and grow aggressively,” said Cook.

Partners can set their own resell pricing and Dell says margin “may vary by transaction, region, partners’ own resell price and other factors.”

Dell says the scheme demonstrates its continued focus on storage. When it launched the 2021 Dell Technologies Partner Program in February, it announced continued investment in “new business, competitive swap and tech refresh rebates.” It also flagged continued incentives to support midrange selling momentum.

Cook said the move also highlights Dell’s strategy of refining its partner engagement rather than making wholesale changes.

Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.

“What we’ve done is evolution, not revolution,” she said, echoing Dell channel chief Rola Dagher. “Partners really value and respect consistency. It’s validating that our strategy seems to be working, and it is resonating.”

Life-Cycle Incentives

Last week, VMware announced new incentives that move away from transactional rewards to focus on the entire customer life cycle. In an interview with Channel Futures, Cook said we might expect similar with Project Apex, Dell’s as-a-service model.

“Absolutely, you will see that,” she said. “When you look at the scale of both companies, we are going to see multiple business models coexist, for some time. We’re at one of those pivotal transformative times in the industry where one size doesn’t fit everybody. You have early adopters that are pivoting much more to consumption-oriented. You have some customers that are doing a little bit of both. Then you have some customers that still are going to transact in a capex model. For VMware, that’s all software; it makes a lot of sense. We’re going to make sure partners can serve and support the customer in the best way that meets their needs.”

Big Year

Overall, coming off a big 2020, Dell Technologies says it owes a lot to partners for their “significant” contribution to its record-breaking financial results.

“Record revenue, record margin, record units shipped, the most PCs shipped ever, server growth, market share gains, just incredible results. We’re grateful, we’re humbled, we’re pleased,” said Cook.

Dell’s full-year revenue was a record …

… $94.2 billion, up 2% over the previous year. The company also generated record operating income of $5.1 billion, a 96% increase over the prior year, and non-GAAP operating income of $10.8 billion, up 6%.

Fourth quarter revenue was up 9% to $26.1 billion. The company generated operating income of $2.2 billion, a 204% increase over the same period in the prior year, and non-GAAP operating income of $3.3 billion, up 19%.

Dell’s channel is worth $52 billion in orders, and is now more than half the company’s revenue, said Cook.

“Our partner community delivered and contributed a significant amount to those financial results. It’s a meaningful, material part of our go-to-market and has been outpacing the competition for some time. We’re really pretty delighted with the overall engagement.”

‘We Collectively Showed Up’

Cook acknowledged the success of partners equipping their customers with devices for their new remote workforces.

“I couldn’t be more proud of how we collectively showed up. It was just ‘focus on the customer’; they all needed help as the world pivoted. And we clearly benefited from the opportunity it created around client solutions demand. Our partners are uniquely well positioned and were there to help serve our customers. For that we’re very grateful.”

Dell’s client devices business grew 23% in the channel in the fourth quarter and up 7% for the year. During that same period, its Client Solutions Group grew 19% faster than the rest of the market.

Lenovo, HP and Dell are the three horsemen that are really running in that race. We grew materially faster than the other two competitors, but we did it with our partners,” said Cook.

Cook believes the demand for devices will continue.

“Many surveys are starting to substantiate that people want a hybrid environment, and don’t want to go back to the office for five days a week. [Also, people will be] going to go back to their facilities and find a device on their desk that may be 8-10-12 quarters old. There’s going to be this necessity to change from a desktop to a notebook, or refresh and update the device because of current software needs. I think the horizon for demand and growth [will] continue, at least to the first half of the year.”

Data Center Business

Elsewhere, Cook said Dell’s data center business picked up toward the end of 2020.

“[It happened] as the world began to acknowledge we’re going to be in this situation for a little bit longer,” she said. “A lot of work needed to be done on these data center projects to support and enable and secure the remote workforce. There isn’t another competitor that has the breadth and range of capabilities and technology that we have. And partners are really embracing our program, realizing the opportunity of the upsell and cross-sell opportunity across our multiple lines of business.

“We’re going to keep our foot on the gas, we’re not going to slow down,” she added. “And I think the opportunity for our partners is going to continue to be quite robust.”

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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