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By | Paul Kunert 15th March 2012 16:20

Dell channel chief gives SonicWALL partners a cuddle

Don't fear change or our direct sales force

Dell's global channel chief has moved to soothe any "anxiety" among SonicWALL's 15,000 resellers worldwide about the acquisition.

The one-time direct selling purist this week went public with its intent to buy the firewall and threat management software and appliance maker for an undisclosed amount.

Greg Davis, Dell veep and GM for global commercial channels, said the channel giant had "worked hard" in previous conquests to preserve acquired firms' channel programmes and planned to "take the very best" of SonicWALL's Medallion scheme.

In fact Dell probably learned some valuable lessons in 2007 when it acquired EqualLogic – where it tinkered with distribution and upset the incumbent resellers by taking some of the business direct.

However, in early 2008, Dell put the PartnerONE framework in place, which aims to work with the channel in a far less confrontational way. While it took time for the framework to bed down, reseller reports of conflict with Dell's sales bods died down.

Davis said: "I certainly understand that anxiety can come whenever there is change," but added that Dell planned to drive cross-selling among its own channels and that of SonicWALL.

"Over the past four years we have worked hard to alleviate members' concerns and earn their trust," he said. "We have done this by creating and leveraging a deal registration process, which protects members who are creating and driving demand."

He said that the process had neutralised sales compensation for the direct sales force, so that the team is paid for working with dealers. The process also put rules of engagement into place in a bid to head off channel conflict.

Davis told The Register that he is currently reviewing SonicWALL's channel programme. "We have a lot of work to do now and over the coming weeks to get to better understand their programmes," he said.

It is too early to determine what, if anything, Dell will do with SonicWALL's disties in the UK, which include Westcon Security and Tekdata – which also distributes Dell servers – and Azlan.

Niall McGrane, GM at Westcon Security, said he doubted Dell would "mash up the channel" following the acquisition. "[Channel partners will be] left alone to continue as they are," he said. ®

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