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Cisco internal memo: Changes to sales strategy and channel org

If you think Cisco has grown too large, too unwieldy, too fragmented in its offerings, guess what? Cisco may agree with you. Or at least the company wants to be sure it doesn’t live up to these criticisms.

According to an internal memo from Cisco vice president of worldwide operations Rob Lloyd examined by, Cisco is launching an immediate reorganization of its sales and channel-facing team to streamline it around specific architectures and work toward “One Cisco.” This includes the launching of new sales theaters and a partner organization offshoot.

The memo, dated June 30, begins as follows:

“Team, as we prepare the sales organization for FY’10 and plan for renewed growth in the upturn, it’s time for bold moves, breakaway strategies and transformation. Our vision for Worldwide Sales is to create a next generation sales experience …

“To realize our vision, we need to think and act as ‘One Cisco’ — embracing our collaborative business model to deliver an experience that’s seamless, global, faster and virtual.”

Wow, Cisco even speaks marketing gobbledygook to its own kind. I thought they only fed that stuff to the press! Shwoo, what a relief!

Now down to the changes:

1. Cisco will launch three new sales theaters (in addition to the current five geographic theaters) to represent its largest market segments in the U.S. and Canada. The new theaters will be: U.S. Enterprise, U.S Commercial and Canada Market Segment Theater, led by SVP Chuck Robbins; U.S. Public Sector Market Segment Theater, led by SVP Bruce Klein; and U.S. Service Provider Market Segment Theater, led by SVP Nick Adamo.

Externally, the company will still report financial results according to the five existing geographic theaters.

2. Cisco will launch a new Global Enterprise Theater. This move is part of an effort to broaden Cisco 3.0., a 2-year-old strategy to globalize Cisco’s U.S. corporate culture and better reach emerging markets by placing top executives throughout the world. SVP Nick Earle and VP Woody Sessoms will jointly lead that theater.

3. Cisco will also align sales around six architectural plays: Service Provider IP, Collaboration, Data Center, Borderless Networks, Small Business and Consumer. Sales and services teams will work in teams to support these architectures.

4.Look out solution providers! There will be a realignment of the Worldwide Channels organization with an effort to recruit more partners to the already mammoth Cisco channel as it focuses on selling whole architectures. The restructuring also includes a new Strategic Partner Organization that will “manage specific accounts from both our Worldwide Channels and Strategic Alliances organizations.” This is apparently another move by Cisco to place specialized care on its largest and most sought-after deals and the partners that serve those accounts.

5. Finally, the company will capitalize and provide support and consultative services for new solutions, including Smart Grid, Smart Connected Communities and managed and cloud services. The company will focus on tighter integration of product and services sales teams. It is unclear where, if anywhere, channel partners will fit into that services play.

So what does all this mean for end users?

As administrators, managers and engineers in Cisco shops work to ready the network to connect storage, data center and the core, it could mean the sales and services process will be simpler and more clearly directed.

But there are critics.

As one Cisco channel partner put it: “I don’t hear any big blow ups, I hear window dressing.

“Basically, they’ve got 30 days to reinvigorate and refresh everybody to get them on board in time for Q1. This is one way to do that.”

He tempered the statement by saying Cisco’s sales team is “aligning” with the company’s technology strategies, which is now focusing on architectural plays and borderless networks.

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