HERE’S A GOOD ONE for fans of Zen riddles: When is a partner not a partner?
Answer: When they’re a member of the Dell Expert Network. Founded late last year, the unconventional program targets MSPs and other service providers that have consciously decided not to resell hardware and are therefore not traditional candidates for partnership with a hardware vendor.
As Dell has discovered, however, such companies can still benefit from maintaining a relationship with it, and vice versa. Indeed, even services-first, -second, and -only channel pros regularly get questions from end users about what laptop they should buy. And who better to provide answers than a PC maker?
Enter the Dell Expert Network, which came into being when Dell noticed it was getting more and more queries from MSPs looking for product information and decided to turn those callers from curious strangers to faithful advocates.
Created and run by Dell’s small business sales organization, the Dell Expert Network isn’t a partner program. In fact, one of the few qualifications for membership is not being a member of the Dell Technologies Partner Program. “It’s like a second option for all those MSPs that we are seeing every day working with us in the small business queue,” says Lucas Chaya del Pino (pictured), who leads the Dell Expert Network. “We saw the need for giving them extra support, because they are a very high-value customer for us.”
They’re also increasingly numerous. “We’re simply listening to the market,” says Mobolaji Sokunbi, head of strategic partnerships for North America in Dell’s small business sales group. “And, of course, we want [MSPs] to recommend Dell to their small business customers.”
Five Core Benefits
Members in the Dell Expert Network get five core benefits for signing up. Chief among them is a 3% cash-back reward on all end-user purchases, provided their clients spend $6,000 per quarter. Those clients, meanwhile, get an additional 3% to 6% back on everything they buy as well.
Dell helps members with financing too by bundling services in with end-user leases offered through Dell Financial Services. While Dell collects monthly payments from customers over multiple years, Dell Expert Network enrollees get their money in full within 24 hours.
“It’s good for the MSP because they can finance their services, it’s good for the end user because they can bundle everything together, and it’s good for us because we get more business,” Chaya del Pino says.