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INTERVIEW: Pearce Clune, Dell

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 21 May 2013

With hundreds of retail channel executives gathering in Abu Dhabi this week for DISTREE Middle East 2013, hardware vendor Dell will look to demonstrate its consumer credentials as a Platinum Sponsor of the annual event. Pearce Clune, director of marketing, merchandising and programmes for retail and distribution at Dell, gave Channel EMEA the inside track on the vendor’s plans in the region.

Channel EMEA (CE): Why should retailers consider making Dell a major part of their product mix?

Pearce Clune (PC): Dell offers a wide range of cutting edge, innovative solutions, many of which are brand new to the market. Dell is operating from a position of strength in the Middle East due to the quality of our computing hardware and solutions, plus our solid relationships with partners and retailers in the region.

This year Dell introduced new products to its leading line of consumer machines, the XPS computer family. The XPS 10 tablet, XPS 12 Convertible, XPS 18 and XPS 27 are some of the best consumer computing machines we’ve ever designed, with a lot of features that our customers and retailers are going to be excited about. For example, the XPS 27 has a Quad HD resolution with full-function touch screen, including high-quality visuals and storage capabilities.

CE: What are Dell’s main reasons for attending DISTREE Middle East? What do you hope to achieve at the event?

PC: The Middle East is a primary market for Dell, a foundation for the developing consumer economy globally, and one of the key areas of focus for our growth as a company. By participating in DISTREE Middle East, Dell will have an opportunity to network with our key partners and customer throughout the wider region.

In addition, DISTREE Middle East will provide Dell with an opportunity to meet and collaborate with key retailers selling high-quality tech products in the Middle East; address and understand the consumer market in the region; and highlight Dell products to current and prospective customers.

CE: Which countries, customer types and retail channels represent the greatest opportunity for growth for Dell in the Middle East?

PC: Dell is invested in the Middle East, with operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular experiencing a great deal of success developing the technology product market and capitalising on growth opportunities. In addition, the incorporation of Africa and Turkey into DISTREE Middle East this year are an example of the evolving business and consumer landscape in the region.

CE: Why should retailers stock your products? What makes Dell’s channel proposition better than competitors in the market?

PC: Dell is a leading brand worldwide, with a first and second market share position across most of the region.

CE: Does Dell have a structured retail channel programme? Do you offer a strong margin proposition to your retail partners?

PC: Dell PartnerDirect is Dell’s overarching channel programme, comprised of three categories: Authorised Distribution programme; Registered Partner programme and Preferred Partner programme.

The Preferred Partner programme is available to a select group of strategic partners, and offers incremental value in terms of additional sales support, a richer rebate programme than the other partner categories, a reimbursed training programme as well as joint investment on strategic sales. Benefits such as deal registration, lead generation, quarterly achievement rewards, online and classroom learning centre are designed to help these channel partners grow and maintain business and deliver additional value to their customers.

The second category, the Registered Partner Programme, is a broad reaching programme, engaging with a broad set of registered partners across the region, and has practical incentive programs in place, and an appropriate sales support model. The final category, the Authorised Distribution programme, covers consumer and commercial distribution and provides a rebate system that is appropriate to consumer and commercial products. The programme is based on weeks of stock, sales-out as well as revenue achievements.

The key differentiators of Dell’s channel programme are dedicated sales and pre-sales support, instructor led training and aspects such as the smart price list with volume discounts and order entry functionality, and the ability to align the three programmes. In addition we have specific competency based programmes for solutions and niche areas such as the storage programme, which provides partners with one of the richest rebate programmes in the industry.

Retailer support

CE: What sort of support do you offer retailers in terms of marketing, promotions and POS activities?

PC: Dell has an incentive-based partner programme, called PartnerAdvantage, which provides partners with the tools to make the most of the incentives that Dell runs. Rebates vary in effectiveness depending on how they are set up. Applied in the right manner, with the right market conditions, and targeted at a small group of partners, rebates can be incredibly powerful.

CE: What have been the major developments for Dell in the Middle East in the last year? What do you have planned for full year 2013?

PC: In September 2012, Dell announced the rollout of a Preferred Partner programme and a storage competency in Dubai to help emerging markets customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa gain faster returns on their solutions and commercial technology investments.

This programme provides partners with a compelling and highly rewarding set of benefits including financial incentives, online and instructor lead training, marketing support, deal registration, field-based technical support, and other enablement tools. It also helps partners expand market reach and offers increased access to Dell’s commercial sales and marketing organisation.

In February this year, Dell announced a new tool to further enhance PartnerDirect, the Dell online solutions configurator, which provides partners the resources to close deals more easily and quickly than in the past by allowing them to price complex enterprise solutions. The online solutions configurator is currently being trialled in the UK and Ireland, and will be rolled out to the rest of the EMEA region in the coming months.

CE: How quickly is Dell’s business growing in the Middle East region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your product segment?

PC: The consumer market in the Middle East is robust, especially when compared with the challenges the global economy has faced in Europe and North America. In many ways consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and across the region are representative of the optimism and future opportunity Dell sees in the developing world. It is an exciting time to be building on our relationships around the GCC, and to be integrating leadership in the Middle East into the global strategies for Dell’s customers in Asia, South America, and Africa.

CE: Is Dell a channel-friendly company? How would you describe your overall go-to market approach in the Middle East market?

PC: Dell’s approach in the Middle East is partner-driven, by focusing on building retailer and channel partnerships. It is important for Dell to interact and work together with retailers to develop a strategy and goals that result in mutual success. This model provides Dell with the opportunity to show appreciation for and collaborate with local partners.

Dell is positioned for growth and is looking to develop new partnerships, and relationships from DISTREE Middle East. The event is a great opportunity for everyone involved to witness and take part in the flourishing business practice in this part of the world.

Dell encourages retailers and the consumer-focused to take a look at the products currently available. Dell offers a number of fantastic devices, with substantial improvements on the market standard in terms of functionality and performance.

DISTREE Middle East 2013

DISTREE Middle East is the ultimate professional networking event for senior executives from the consumer electronics, digital device and ICT products retail channel in the Middle East region. DISTREE Middle East is a focused event for retail executives based on the successful concept of bringing high-level buyers from emerging markets into productive contact with vendors.

Not only is DISTREE Middle East a powerful business platform, it is also an annual networking function allowing vendors to meet face-to-face with both existing and potential new retail partners from across the Middle East, plus North Africa and the CIS region. DISTREE Middle East 2013 is taking place on May 21-23rd at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

For retail executives, attending DISTREE Middle East is time well spent. In just three days you can hold dozens of face-to-face meetings with existing and potential new vendors, meet with your peers from across the region, find out more about the latest industry trends and market data. All this at one exclusive event: DISTREE Middle East - the ‘must-attend’ event for vendors and retailers associated with the region’s consumer electronics, digital device and ICT products channel.


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