Juniper Shifts Sales Posts As It Strengthens Channel

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, some solution providers have a different take on the reshuffling. They believe 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 requested anonymity.

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

"The tree's been shaken a little bit," said another Juniper channel partner, who also requested anonymity.

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

There are still some more transitions 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 utilize the training facilities of some of its partners to help others get 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 in Cisco veterans Bruce and Tushar Kothari, Juniper's vice president of worldwide channels, last July and has since launched a partner recruitment effort to entice solution providers to carry its new line of J-series enterprise access routers.

"Suddenly, they're in a position where they're asking us to sell L2/L3 gear. It's a strange thing to be asked, which Juniper acknowledges," said Dan Wilson, vice president of vendor relations and co-founder of Accuvant, a Denver-based security partner that plans to resell Juniper's routers. "They know not all of their partners are going to be willing or able to jump on board immediately," he said.