CA To Reduce Sales Staff Dedicated To Named Accounts - InformationWeek

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2/27/2006
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CA To Reduce Sales Staff Dedicated To Named Accounts

The accounts to be cut are customers that buy less than $1.3 million in CA products annually, according to a CA senior vice president.

CA plans to cut back on the number of customer accounts it deals with directly and reallocate some of its direct sales staff.

The 12,000-plus named accounts that CA's direct sales force has preferential access to will be "reduced significantly by the thousands in North America alone," James Hanley, senior vice president of worldwide partner sales at CA, said Monday in a presentation at CMP Media’s XChange Solution Provider conference in Atlanta.

"Naturally, it will be the smaller [named accounts] that are cut, the regional-based or departmental-based customers," Hanley said.

CA went to a named account model in April. Under the strategy, the Islandia, N.Y.-based software vendor’s direct sales staff catered to the named accounts and were given incentives to include CA's top-tier Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) partners in deals, while CA's Affiliate and Premier partners were to keep hands off the named accounts. CA said that only about 5 percent of its sales are from indirect channels.

The named accounts to be cut are customers that buy less than $1.3 million in CA products annually, said Debra Tummins, senior vice president and Southeast area manager for CA. The number of named accounts being reduced amounts to about 66 percent of the current number. Transitioning those customers off the named account list will continue through April, when CA begins to reallocate some of its direct sales force to other areas in the company, such as phone-based inside sales and other lead-generation positions, she said.

No direct sales associates will be laid off because of the changes, according to Tummins. Reducing the number of named accounts and reassigning direct sales staff will save CA money, she said.

Meanwhile, CA is working on a new partner program designed to help midmarket VARs connect with the former named accounts, Tummins said. CA plans to make a significant financial investment in the program, but that investment probably won’t equal the amount of money being saved by the named account and direct sales changes, she said.

During his speech, Hanley said to expect new features to be added to the partner programs from CA each quarter.

The fact that CA aims to open up thousands of new customers to partners who once found them off-limits intrigued solution providers who attended Hanley's presentation. Still, others said CA gave them little reason to want to do business with them.

Gordon Scobel, CEO of Qualitech, a solution provider in Bingham Farms, Mich., said he came away from Hanley's presentation with no compelling reason to begin selling CA products. Although Qualitech fit the description of the type of partner that Hanley said could most benefit from selling CA products—one that sells security, storage and enterprise systems management solutions—Scobel said he didn’t see enough new incentives in CA's message to add its products to Qualitech's offerings.

"All I'm seeing from CA is examples of what they say they are doing for partners, but nothing else,” Scobel said. “They just want to give themselves a pat on the back."

David Lair, business and technology consultant at Xpedeus Information and Technology Business Solutions, Brandon, Fla., said CA suffers from an inability to communicate its value proposition to midmarket solution providers, such as his company. CA has ample opportunity to win over Xpedeus because of things like the relatively expensive cost of product training from CA rival Symantec, yet CA hasn’t been able to do that, he said.

"I can appreciate the name recognition CA has, but I'm not given any reason to sell their products,” Lair said. "I see [eTrust] EZ Armor in CompUSA and Best Buy. I still don't know what it is [CA] is trying to do for me.”

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