Partners: Juniper Shuffling Sales Team To Tackle Cisco

Bob Bruce, vice president of Americas Channels at Juniper, confirmed that the vendor has replaced several regional sales managers with new personnel, categorizing the changes as part of the normal course of business for a dynamically growing company.

"We're bringing in new talent," he said.

However, solution providers had a different take. They said the changes are aimed at ratcheting up the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor's fight against rival Cisco Systems in the enterprise market.

"They're gearing up for what they think is going to be a huge storm going against Cisco selling routers into the enterprise," said one Juniper partner, who wished not to be named.

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At least one of the new regional heads previously worked for Cisco, while another has a lengthy tenure with Juniper, solution providers said.

Juniper partners characterized the personnel swap as a move by Juniper to get hard-nosed, type-A personalities into the roles.

"The tree's been shaken a little bit," said another Juniper channel partner, who also asked not to be named.

Juniper's Bruce indicated that further sales team personnel changes could be on the horizon, something solution providers said they, too, anticipate.

There is still some transitioning to come within the sales ranks as Bruce and other Juniper executives bring in proven players they've worked with in the past, solution providers said.

Juniper is also in the midst of an aggressive training and certification campaign and is studying how to better use the training facilities of some of its partners to get others up to speed on its technologies, Bruce said. In addition, Juniper's U.S. channel team is working toward better territory planning to link its enterprise sales team, channel account managers and partners. "The advantage we have is a clean slate," he said.

Since its purchase of NetScreen Technologies thrust it into the enterprise market last year, Juniper has been moving to build up its channel. The company brought on Cisco veterans Bruce and Tushar Kothari, Juniper's vice president of worldwide channels, in July and has since launched a partner recruitment effort to entice solution providers to carry its new line of J-series enterprise access routers.

Juniper counted 740 solution providers among its partner ranks in the fourth quarter, Bruce said, building on the base of 400 partners inherited from NetScreen. Bruce noted that Juniper has been meeting its quarterly partner recruitment goals.