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"What we noticed is that, over the past couple of years, the commercial teams and the partner teams had so many synergies," Helfer told CRN. "We wanted to bring the worldwide function and the strategy function and the execution function together, at a global level."
Helfer explained that these "synergies" had to do with the fact that Juniper's hundreds of commercial account managers work "day in and day out" with partners, including Juniper distributors and solution providers. This contrasts with Juniper's major account managers, who tend to work with partners only on select accounts.
Helfer said an example of how this merger will play out is that Juniper's global partner conference this January will, for the first time, be a "joint session of house" with its Americas Sales Summit. "We are making sure that our collective sales engines, being both our account teams, and our partner teams, are together in one room, hearing the message from our senior executives, on our sales leadership, our strategy and how we will execute in the field through partners," Helfer said.
Juniper's Erickson said another core piece of merging the two units will be ensuring commercial account managers work hand-in-hand with partners to target specific geographic regions.
"First off, [we're] making sure the commercial account manager's core team unit isn't just themselves. It's them, it's the partner account manager, and it's the sales reps of the partners," Erickson said. "That becomes the kind of core team that moves around, covers the territory and tries to drive the best customer experience possible."
Helfer said the merger of Juniper's channel and commercial sales divisions will have no impact on how partners are segmented or categorized within the Juniper Partner Advantage (JPA) program.
In terms of that program itself, Erickson, in his new role as Juniper's vice president of WW Partner Programs and Development, said he will continue to focus on the new cloud and services arms recently integrated into JPA, in addition to placing an increased emphasis on security.