Partners Struggling To Close Brocade-Ruckus Sales Amid Restructuring; Channel Chief Pledges To Resolve 'Confusion'


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A sales restructuring at Brocade Communications has added confusion and delay to the storage and networking vendor's field engagement model, making it difficult for solution providers to close deals and, in some cases, causing them to move business to rival vendors, partners told CRN.

The chaos in the sales trenches is the result of a reorganization at the company earlier this month that has added multiple layers to the channel engagement model and made it difficult to get in touch with Brocade and Ruckus account managers, engineers and sales reps regarding special pricing or solution redesigns, solution providers said. That has caused delays from a few days to upwards of a week in getting critical answers required to close sales, according to partners.

Previously, the company's sales organization supported the full Brocade-Ruckus product line. Now each of the company's three businesses – Data Center, SAN and Network Edge -- has its own dedicated sales unit, meaning partners trying to sell across the portfolio now have to work with multiple channel account managers.

At the same time, the company has also reworked its geographic sales regions because Ruckus and Brocade had been organized around different segmentations. Ruckus, for example, had been organized into four geographic regions in the Americas. Now the combined company is split into 11 Americas regions.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Brocade Channel Chief Glaser Cheek On Channel 'Disruption,' Ripping Off The ‘Band Aid’ And Aligning For 'Success']

The reorganization aims to lay the groundwork for the sale later this year of Brocade to Broadcom and then the subsequent sale of the Brocade networking business and its Ruckus wireless business (which it acquired a year ago) to Extreme Networks and Arris International, respectively, said Brocade channel chief Sandra Glaser Cheek.

Cheek conceded that the reorganization has "caused disruption" and "confusion" for partners, but pledged that the company is focused on resolving the sales engagement issues as "quickly as possible through proactive communications and personal outreach to partners."

Brocade is working internally to understand which account managers are aligned with which partners, and which partners are selling across the portfolio and therefore need to be approached jointly by the Brocade and Ruckus teams, said Cheek.

"We feel like we're getting into the homestretch right now of a very disruptive year, and we're aligning ourselves for success," she said.

For partners, the resolution to the chaos in the field can't come soon enough.

"Trying to get the attention and focus of account managers or their sales team is very difficult, and it has certainly slowed the sales process down," said a high-level executive at one of Brocade's top partners, which is in the midst of shifting a $1 million deal to Cisco due to the current status of Brocade. "Their account reps and people are struggling to figure out what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to engage. We're having difficulties getting things through."

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