CA Changes Focus Of Direct Sales To Territory Management

For several months now, the Islandia, N.Y.-based software vendor has been taking initial steps toward refocusing its direct-sales organization and incentives on territory-based responsibility, including revenue generated by channel partners, President and CEO-elect John Swainson told CRN last week. The new plan, spearheaded by Gary Quinn, executive vice president of partner advocacy, mimics CA's successful European partner program.

"Our sales force used to be focused on named accounts and enterprise accounts. We are shifting that focus to managing a territory," Swainson said. "We are telling our sales team they are not simply responsible for the thousand named accounts, but they have their territory responsibility, too."

CA has already hired 100 new U.S. field partner managers, who will work to lessen potential conflict between direct and indirect sales. Currently, field partner managers are focused on cultivating enterprise solution providers and relationships with systems integrators such as Accenture and BearingPoint, Quinn said. Aligning partners vertically with CA's three major product lines—Unicenter, eTrust and BrightStor—is also part of the plan, he said.

Swainson didn't set a deadline for completion of the new sales model but said it could boost the share of indirect sales to 30 percent of CA's total sales by fiscal 2007.

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Sanford Cohn, general manager of Advanced Technology Solutions Group, Albany, N.Y., said he's already seen signs of CA's new territory-based model. Cohn said CA added channel representatives in his area, and he is impressed with the vertical approach to CA products. "Anything that focuses things, helps things grow," he said.

A big challenge for CA will be changing the culture of its direct-sales force to cater to reseller partners, Swainson said.

"It's not an easy transition to make, and we are in the early stages, but we are going to do it," Swainson said. "As long as you have parallel structure for channel partners and direct sales, [they are] inherently in conflict. But by putting it into a field organization and telling area and regional managers [they] are responsible for all revenue in [their] territory now you'll get the right behavior."