Symantec Blames Sales Model Changes For Second-Quarter Revenue Dip

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Symantec is blaming the significant changes it is making to its sales coverage model for its poor second-quarter revenue performance.

The security vendor said the disruption caused by transitioning more than 90 percent of its direct sales force into information management or information security specialists disrupted new license sales direct to customers and through partners. The company reported lower than expected second-quarter revenue on Wednesday and said it anticipated third-quarter results would come in below expectations.

"I'm disappointed that our performance fell outside our revenue guidance range," said Symantec CEO Steve Bennett in the company's conference call Wednesday. "We underestimated the impact of the go-to-market changes we made, and it was a challenging quarter. However, we remain solidly convinced that these changes are required to position Symantec for long-term success."

Bennett said his company's sales staff would have stronger partner relationships and fewer highly concentrated sales hunters. "It's about giving them better solutions to sell and better channel relationships," Bennett said. Details about the changes to the company's partner program will be unveiled next month, Bennett said.


[Related: 10 Questions For Symantec CEO Steve Bennett ]

Bennett said the company executed on its strategy to completely reorganize the company, turning its direct sales force from traditional generalists to specialists in the products they sell. He likened the changes going on at the company to changing the tires on a moving vehicle.

"We clearly lost more momentum than we expected in the transition and are working hard to address all the critical levers to accelerate progress in building a robust new business pipeline in Q3 and Q4 so we regain our positive momentum going into FY15," Bennett said.

As part of its Symantec 4.0 strategy announced in January, the company said it would remain committed to the channel as it reorganized its entire product portfolio. In addition to laying off up to 700 workers, the vendor said it would streamline the product portfolio to make it easier to sell integrated security and storage products. Executives created three product segments: User Productivity and Protection, Information Security and Information Management.

The company also lost senior executives as part of the overhaul. Thomas Gillman, a public sector channel executive, was a victim of Symantec layoffs in August. Symantec CFO James Beer stepped down earlier this month.

NEXT: Still Committed To The Channel

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