Quality Awards IV: Dell plus EqualLogic -- A winning combination

Sales-force competence

While Dell dominated the overall survey, defending champ Compellent earned its one bright spot in the sales-force competence category, albeit by a whisker. Compellent scored a 6.43 to lead this category, just 0.01 higher than Dell. This was the lowest high score of any category. The way the two companies achieved their scores was somewhat different as well. Compellent had its highest rating (a 6.77) for the statement "My sales rep is easy to negotiate with."

RelayHealth, a division of Atlanta-based McKesson Corp., has three Compellent arrays with another on its way. "Sales came in as a team -- there was a sales rep and a storage architect," says Whitney Gray, storage architect at the healthcare provider. "They worked with us on price, [and] they worked with us on technical configuration," says Gray. "They were very good to work with."

Dell's best score in this category (a 6.59) was for "The vendor's sales support team is knowledgeable." Compellent received a high mark (6.68) for "My sales rep keeps my interest foremost," while Dell fared well with a 6.58 rating for "My sales rep is easy to negotiate with."

"They took time to learn what we did, to understand what we were doing," says Donald Wilkins, IT director at Navicure Inc. in Duluth, Ga., of his experience in purchasing multiple EqualLogic arrays. And since Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic, "for us it hasn't changed that much," he says. "The majority

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of their support staff is still in place, and they still provide some of the best support around."

IBM apparently has the most knowledgeable sales support team, having received a 6.63 in this regard. NetApp's sales reps apparently do their homework, as its 6.61 score for the statement "My sales rep is knowledgeable about my industry" outpaced the other eight finalists. Miles O'Neal, IT specialist at Austin, Texas-based engineering firm Intrinsity Inc., was pleased with his dealings with NetApp's sales team. "They spent a lot of time with us answering our questions, talking about roadmaps," he says. At the time Intrinsity was considering the NetApp equipment, they were also looking at other vendors' offerings. "They knew they were up against some competition," say O'Neal.

NetApp placed third overall in this category with a 6.33. The overall ratings in this category for all vendors topped 6.00, except for Xiotech's 5.75.

This was first published in March 2009

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