EMC Commitment to Channel Expressed in Sales Strategy Changes

When EMC CEO and Chairman Joe Tucci said the company is committed to expanding its channel support, that announcement signaled major change in the sales culture. That change is expressed in a set of sales rules of engagement when working with channel partners, enforced by changes in compensation for internal sales reps, says EMC VP of Global Channel Marketing Fred Kohout and VP of Global Channel Opportunities and Strategy Jeff Taylor.

How serious is this? Every sales organization is commission driven, Taylor said in an interview in the SiliconAngle Cube from EMCWorld 2012 (see full video below). The way to change sales people’s behavior and the culture is to change the commission structure. “That is what we’ve done with our sales force. If a sales rep breaks a rule of engagement with a partner, their commission will be directly impacted. That will have a significant impact.”

For the first time, EMC ran a global partner conference in parallel to EMCworld this year. It drew more than 3,000 partners from more than 80 countries and included its own keynote sessions with top EMC executives who discussed company strategy and the roles channel partners can play, and on subsequent days presentations of specific presentations from all the EMC product, operational, and enablement groups.

“The interest and response has been outstanding,” Taylor said.

Another measure of EMC commitment is VSPEX, which was created in part to meet the needs of partners for flexibility and creativity in the solutions they deliver to their customers. VSPEX is a blueprint of guaranteed tested full systems including storage, network, and servers. While the storage must be EMC, the servers and networking can come from several vendors, and several different configurations are included to meet different needs. This allows partners to be more creative in the infrastructure they deliver with the confidence that it will all work together and that EMC will back them up if problems develop down the line. And EMC will put the partner’s name on the box along with its own.

In the six weeks since the VSPEX announcement, more than 140 partners have signed up for the training they need to bring VSPEX to market, Kahout says. “We’ve all been having meetings with partners, and invariably the conversation comes back to VSPEX. They’re very interested in the opportunity it gives them to get into the market with a differentiated, higher value solution.”

EMC is opening hundreds of enterprise accounts with millions of dollars or run-rate business across its three major markets to partner participation. And as the program proves itself, it plans to open more, Kahout says.

EMC is providing its partners with comprehensive training, products, and support to allow them to succeed in large, fast-growing markets, he says. It announced a Cooperative Services program during the partner conference as part of this strategy. “We are getting our partners aligned with the rest of EMC. Once everybody’s in line, they get to harvest the fruits of that investment collectively.”