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Dell’s recruitment plans for VAR partners will focus specifically on solution providers and systems integrators who have customers that Dell has been unable to reach.

That’s according to Paul Bell, Dell senior vice president and president of the Americas, speaking to a group of analysts at the company’s headquarters this week. Bell also provided further clarity on the evolution of Dell’s channel plans.

“Let’s recognize where there is market share that we have not been able to get after 20 years of trying,” he said. “There are customers who are very committed to a set of local VARs and have deep relationships that we haven’t been able to dislodge after 20 years. We want to be working with those VAR partners.”

Dell’s partner profile also specifies partners who serve as the IT department for their customers by offering value-added services, rather than those partners who simply resell hardware, said Bell.

Bell acknowledged that Dell has been working internally on answering the question of where it wants to focus its direct sales team, versus where it wants to focus its channel partners.

“We’ve gotten much more clarity on that recently,” he said. And Bell reiterated that the company’s plan to deal with the channel conflict is through its deal registration.

“The industry has been dealing with channel conflict for years,” he said. “Deal registration is stock and trade for the industry.” 

Indirect Answers from Dell

When asked about recent announcements by Dell that it would offer the same services that system integrators and value added resellers and solution providers offer to their customers, Dell’s answer was not quite direct.

“In emerging countries we’ve been on a path to roll out Dell Standard Services,” said Dave Marmonti, senior vice president at Dell and president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The reception we’ve gotten is very positive. But when you talk about Western Europe it goes back to the fact that we are concentrating our growth around a subset of complementary partners. In order to make this a successful business we don’t have to do business with 100 percent of the channel.”

Bell said that the company has no plans to convert its direct customers into channel customers. However, he said, if a partner has a stronger relationship with a partner than the Dell direct sales force has, the company would likely turn that account over to the partner.

Greg Davis, vice president and channel chief in the Americas, said that back when it launched its channel program in December, Dell did identify a set of accounts it wanted partners to work on. Davis said those customers were identified as more likely to work with partners than with Dell’s direct sales force.