Dell says "Doh!"

March 24, 2008 – 3:24 pm

Why does Dell keep going to channel events and embarrassing themselves?  Last year they went before the same channel VARS and asked if we trusted them (see Spelled Dell or Duh!).

Karl Palachuk reports live from XCHANGE in SoCal that Dell’s basic message (only 6 months after asking if we trust them) is asking if we can overlook the trust issue. 

People brought rotten fruit to this presentation.
The basic message was: “OK. We’ve sucked in the past. We promise not to suck in the future. Help us make that transition together. We’re really committed to the Channel. Those two earlier attempts? Let’s forget that and start over.”
I felt sorry for the guy.

So here is the loaded question I pose: Are they sincere in their attempts to create VAR partnerships, or are they sincerely stupid in believing that it can happen.  Both? 

Of the hundreds SMB IT Pros I talked to in the past 6 months I’ve met only 2 that actually trust Dell.  Most that do business with them consider them a necessary evil that they must work with do to lack of competition or client demand.  I tell those folks there are way to many options to play the ignorant card.  As far as customers, they should be paying you for your trusted advice and not just a hardware transaction.  Anyway, that’s another rant all together so please excuse me while I go reboot my PE 840.  ;-)

  1. 6 Responses to “Dell says "Doh!"”

  2. They are sincere in forming relationships with the VARs they like. People that will fend for their own salary, medical benefits, insurance, be highly motivated self starters.

    Basically, they want VARs that are OK being Dell’s enterprise sales reps in any segment. There are a lot of people that are in business of box churning and want to keep their business just that. Don’t think all VARs behave or have the same goals as MSPs or SBSers…

    I think anyone with the hope of being THE point of contact is in for a frustrating career trying to fend of billion dollar marketing budgets from the fort they’ve built around their customer base. If the free markets have proven anything it’s that there is no such thing as a wall between a business owner and a great deal. Quick, what does Dell do best? :)
    -Vlad

    By Vlad Mazek on Mar 24, 2008

  3. Hi Mark, I must be one of the most satisfied DELL partners in the world, I am not sure what goes on the US, I can only speak of my experiences with the DELL Canada team. One phrase drives it home for me “They are awesome”.

    Hands down they are the best partner I have had in the seven years I have had IT Matters up and running. They have provided marketing ideas, hardware to support my events, invited me to brainstorm in Toronto with them, worked with me to promote the channel in Canada and the most important thing…I make money and good money with DELL as a partner, more than I have ever made with HP or Lenovo.

    They work with me, they call me, they are interested in us succeeding, they have NEVER EVER EVER stolen a deal from us in 7 years, and we do 1.2 million a year with them. I share my pipeline with them and they never call on my clients.

    I have a great rep who takes care of us and understands our business…it is a wonderful win/win partnership for IT Matters.

    Maybe, some of the readers who complain about DELL and how they steal business should steal a page from the Arlin Sorensen play book on how to built strong relationships…

    Just my 2 cents Canadian, worth now about 3 cents US…gotta love it baby :-)

    By Stuart R. Crawford on Mar 26, 2008

  4. HI Stuart,
    I said there were 2. I wasn’t going to out you or Jason. ;-) Really, thanks for sharing your experience. I wish everyone had the same experience with them.

    By Mark on Mar 26, 2008

  5. Mark,

    Wondering if you read the letter that Dell sent to Managed Service Providers on March 31. Here’s a link from my site (MSPmentor). Any reaction? Pro or con?

    By Joe Panettieri on Apr 2, 2008

  6. The issue is that you have to swim upstream to build a relationship with any vendor. With Dell that starts at about 100K in business a year. If you are under that, then it is no dice.

    Stuart, I am glad that you have that great relationship with Dell. You most likely got above that 100K threshold pretty quick. Most one man shops will take a while to get there (or never get there). The price undercutting will hamper that. It is not just Dell’s evil doing. This is systemic to most vendors that have direct channels. The difference with Dell is that they built themselves as a direct model. It is difficult to believe they are different just because they have put on a new set of clothes and spouted a few new phrases.

    Do they work with larger resellers and MSP’s. Sure. The lack of trust is that the small guys know they will NEVER be important enough to Dell to be recognizable. Can I get a great deal on occasion from my rep in OK? Sure! But that is an occasional thing that I cannot depend on. Do I have a hope of developing a market relationship with Dell that puts me in a position to get Market Development funds or promotion equipment? Not without growing my company substantially first!.

    It is difficult to channel my clients’ Dell purchases through me with Dell undercutting my prices with their catalogs and email every 4 weeks. Some I get because I am a “trusted advisor”. Some I do not as the client just does not get the “value add” from ordering the same equipment from me at a higher price. With so much “leakage” from my core accounts, I will not mass enough market strength to get Dell to play with me.

    Now, I know that all that sounds negative. And I should have a positive attitude to make sure that I do not overlook an opportunity. So I will put on my positive opportunity hat and see what happens…

    By Ken Edwards on Apr 3, 2008

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