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Dell told Channel Insider last Wednesday it will roll out a pilot deal registration program and an online partner portal for VARs. The plan emerged after the PC maker received extensive feedback the received from channel partners and customers.

Though formal announcements about the Round Rock, Texas, vendor’s channel programs won’t come until the end of 2007, Dell’s Vice President of North American Channels Greg Davis, did offer some general information about areas of focus. Davis said most feedback he received from the channel reflected the need for a standardized pricing structure.

“We are working real hard on developing a standard channel price for our partners,” Davis said. “We have heard that loud and clear from every bit of survey data, every communication and conversation that we have.”

Besides pricing strategy, solution providers also told Davis they wanted to be better served in the areas of tech support and deal registration, and that online access through a partner portal was crucial to their success.

“They need differentiated and dedicated tech support offering,” Davis said. “We tended to treat our channel partners with the same experience that we would provide our direct customers. We realize that the channel has much higher level of tech expertise, and to treat them as a typical direct end-user is not leveraging the benefit of the Dell experience.”

“We’ve also been piloting a [deal registration] process within our public sector that we’ll be implementing across all our channels shortly,” Davis said. “It will allow us to better recognize and minimize conflict with our direct and our channel partners. It can be more complex for us, but it came through loud and clear as an area of opportunity” that channel partners needed, Davis said.

Davis is also working on leveraging Dell’s online capabilities. “We are aggressively working … on a partner portal that will give us the flexibility to deliver lots of opportunities to our channel partners,” Davis said. He said product and sales training and support will be offered through the portal and will leverage Dell’s existing online expertise.

“They’ll be able to get online training from us; we deliver sales training every day via online tools. Nothing is holding us back from offering that to our partners but implementation,” Davis said.

The portal will also offer technical chats, support and a “VAR finder” tool for both customers and other VARs, Davis said, and give partners the ability to perform transactions online, configure and buy systems online, get upcoming product information and participate in social networking.