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By Steven Burke and Matt Brown on June 21, 2017 on CRN.com

Fueled by double-digit increases in partner sales, Dell EMC President Global Channels John Byrne says the company is recruiting hot channel talent from rivals like NetApp and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

“My message to anyone at NetApp or HPE is: you want a job in the channel, we’re recruiting … If you’re tired of losing and you want to come to a winner we are hiring,” said Byrne in an interview with CRN.

HPE, which has received plaudits from partners for its long standing channel commitment, said in reply to Dell’s channel talent grab: ” HPE is and has always been a channel company and it is where the strongest talent wants to be. Comparing our laser-focus on the channel and investment in next generation technology, to a company weighed down by debt and trying to figure out how to bring two cultures with completely different view of the channel together, is a no brainer. ”

In a prepared statement, NetApp Vice President of Global Channel Bill Lipsin responded: “Earlier this month IDC’s Worldwide Enterprise Storage tracker highlighted a 13.3 percent revenue growth for NetApp with an even larger decline for Dell’s storage business revenue. We will let the numbers speak for themselves.”

Byrne’s comments come with Dell EMC looking to hire hundreds of channel sales specialists including pre-sales enterprise reps as part of an aggressive enterprise market share blitz. “I am hiring more enterprise-based and storage-based talented sales people in the channel for sales coverage and professional services,” said Byrne.

A search of the Dell hiring website shows 180 open positions referencing the term “channel” with jobs as diverse as director systems engineering (channel) to Channel Rep and Analyst renewal sales to Dell Financial Services channel operations coordinator.

The hiring blitz comes with partners delivering more than 6,000 net new customers on a double-digit increase in sales for the company’s Dell EMC’s fiscal quarter ended May 5, said Byrne.

Byrne said Dell EMC is aggressively investing to drive channel sales growth. In the most recent quarter, the company’s partners benefitted from a double-digit increase in channel rebates/market development funds from the year-ago period.

“We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental investments to light up the right behavior,” he said. “It is happening.”

Dell EMC partner training is also on the rise with more partners looking to certify on the broad range of Dell EMC products, said Byrne.

[highlight type=”one”]Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 119 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, said Dell has built a channel dream team and is looking to add even more channel talent to its roster.[/highlight]

[highlight type=”one”]”Dell is hunting for the cream of the crop and if you think about it if you want to be at a company that has it all in terms of products and services under one logo, the place to be is Dell,” he said. “It is the ultimate salesperson’s dream to have a toolbox completely filled with everything the customer needs to accomplish their job.”[/highlight]

A top sales executive for CRN SP500 solution provider, who did not want to be identified, said Dell EMC has reshaped the channel landscape with its aggressive channel investments. “They have changed the game,” he said. “They are making the investments needed to remain relevant and take share. Dell EMC is taking no prisoners.”

The sales executive said he gives Dell EMC credit for successfully bringing together Dell EMC channel under a single program with aggressive field engagement after finalizing last September the $58 billion blockbuster acquisition of storage market leader EMC.

“We are seeing growth across the board with Dell EMC and we are seeing the Dell direct field teams get engaged with us,” said the sales leader. “That is something we did not see in the past.”

One particularly strong sign of the Dell EMC’s channel commitment: a follow through on a promise by Byrne to terminate Dell EMC direct sales reps that violate deal registration.

Partners said it is that kind of channel commitment that is making a difference in the sales trenches. “They fired a shot across the bow and sent the right message,” said the sales chief for a top Dell enterprise partner, who did not want to be identified. “They are holding people’s feet to the fire. The new Dell EMC is holding sales reps accountable. In the past, the EMC reps got away with a slap on the hand.”