On May 22, 2017, Dell EMC launched the Infrastructure (ISG) and Client (CSG) Incumbency Program for its Commercial segment, effectively extending its previous Storage Incumbency program to cover the breadth of the Dell EMC portfolio. According to industry analyst Patrick Moorhead, Incumbency bolsters Partners’ earning potential with Dell EMC:
The expansion of incumbency beyond storage is only going to make Dell EMC a more desirable partner—in terms of predictable profit, it’s hard to think of many other companies who would be a safer bet.
Pilar Schenk, Vice President of Global Channel Sales Planning & Operations, Stephanie Mims, Vice President of Global Business Operations – Channel, and Regina Connaughton, Director of Global Deal Registration sat down with Partner Post to share more details around how Incumbency will impact Partners.
Question: Infrastructure and Client Incumbency were formally announced at this year’s Global Partner Summit. Can you tell us more about this initiative?
Pilar: Simply put, Infrastructure and Client Incumbency establish a more predictable sales engagement model for our Partners.
Within both our Infrastructure Solutions (ISG) portfolio of Server, Storage, and Networking, and our Client Solutions (CSG) portfolio, we have identified a pool of customers in our Commercial space in which our direct sales teams must work with one of our Partners to close business. Ultimately, our reps have the ability to choose which Partner they want to work with, but they will work closely with our Partner Account Managers to determine the right fit. What we are hoping to accomplish is ultimately minimizing any potential conflict between our direct teams and Partners, enabling all of our Partners to grow their business in these accounts and with Dell EMC.
Stephanie: Incumbency is just another way we’re proving our commitment to our Partners. And as we communicated to Partners last week via email, as well as Global Partner Summit, Infrastructure Incumbency includes both a historic look-back based on channel activity, as well as earned Incumbency based on net new business. For our Client solutions, Incumbency can be earned on net-new business.
Question: Dell EMC had previously rolled out Line of Business Incumbency for Storage last October. How is this different?
Pilar: The model we rolled out in October covered just Storage. Now, we are thrilled to extend Incumbency to all of our Infrastructure lines of business (LOBs): Storage, Server and Networking. In our assessment of past channel activity in these accounts, if there was significant Partner-driven revenue in either of these LOBs, those accounts earned Incumbency for all three lines of business. This really is a game changer, and will allow our Partners to cross-sell across the entire datacenter solution.
Stephanie: And, to follow on that, we’ve introduced Incumbency for the first time to our Client portfolio. Incumbency can be earned on new logos or expansion into inactive client LOBs, so we are now also protecting our more client-focused Partners’ investments. It also further encourages cross-selling across both our Infrastructure and Client portfolios.
Question: We know governance is top-of-mind for Dell EMC Partners. How are you going to ensure that Dell EMC’s direct sales teams are adhering to the Incumbency program?
Pilar: Governance is top-of-mind for us as well. We want to be sure we’re doing what we say we would do. We are not operating in a vacuum. We are building this with our Partners for our mutual success. That’s why one of the first things we did as the Dell EMC Partner Program launched in February was to roll out Rules of Engagement. We take these rules very seriously, and have a ‘two-strike’ policy in place with our reps. After two breaches of the rules, our reps are subject to termination.
In the case of Incumbency, we’ve worked in lockstep with Bill Scannell (President, Global Enterprise Sales & Customer Operations, Dell EMC) and Marius Haas (President and Chief Commercial Officer, Dell EMC) and their organizations. Across the company, it’s very clear that we need to ensure a predictable selling motion for our Partners.
Stephanie: I couldn’t agree more with Pilar. It is imperative that we don’t just say that we have a ‘two-strike’ policy, but that we actually enforce it – and we have been. I’d also like to add that with Infrastructure and Client Incumbency, all of our end-user accounts are clearly marked in our internal Salesforce instances so that our teams know their marching orders and can appropriately engage a Partner. To ensure our teams understand the program, we have mandated training on Incumbency, and have also rolled out extensive materials including program guides, FAQs, and a series of internal webcasts and team meetings. We know that governing this program is essential for it to be successful.
Question: How can Partners protect their deals through this new Incumbency program?
Regina: First off, Partners should continue to register deals through our Deal Registration program – now ONE unified process to register deals. This remains the best way to protect themselves from any direct or channel conflict, and also ensures they can earn the lucrative benefits within the Partner Program. Upon registering the deal, they are now protecting future deals within this newly launched Incumbency program across the full Dell EMC portfolio. Deal Registration will govern the Partner of record and ensure that the Dell EMC sales teams are working with the appropriate Partner on these opportunities.
Question: Any other important take-aways our Partners should know about Incumbency?
Pilar: I think for me, I would echo what John Byrne has been driving over the last few months, which is predictability. We understand that our Partners are engaged with other vendors, so we need to make doing business with us as easy as possible – but also continue to offer clear incentives to encourage further investments with Dell EMC. I truly feel that this program accomplishes both.
Regina: We want our Partners to grow. And with our Deal Registration team and process, we are working with our Partners to grow their business profitably through mutual commitment.
Stephanie: I agree. Making it easier is certainly our number one goal. Having a predictable sales engagement model is critically important but it does take operational efficiency to support it. We work with and support all aspects of the business internally, from Services to IT, in order to provide that ease to our Partners so they can aggressively grow their business and gain new customers. We are in lockstep with the sales teams to make sure all of our activities are in line to support them and the new program. We are here for our Partners…we are here to WIN together as ONE.
Partners can learn more about the Infrastructure and Client Incumbency Program here.