IBM shakes up sales organization to target SMB market

IBM is reorganizing its sales organizations to better serve small-to-medium sized business customers.

IBM is revamping part of its sales organisation to better target the SMB market.

It is realigning its Systems and Technology Group (STG), creating one sales group to sell to large enterprise customers and another to sell to SMBs, business customers with no more than 1000 employees. It will also better integrate STG with IBM's Global Technology Service (GTS) group and with companies in its Global Business Partners Organisation, and design products specifically for the needs of SMBs. The changes were outlined in a memo released by IBM's senior vice-president and group executive of STG, William Zeitler.

A new level of sales management will be created within each of 220 geographic sales territories IBM operates globally. The new SMB Systems Sales Manager in each territory will focus solely on SMB sales efforts.

IBM named Ross Mauri to head a new Power Systems unit within STG selling high-end System p and System i products to enterprises, and named Marc Dupaquier to run the new Business Systems unit selling low-end System i and p products to SMBs.

IBM was making the changes to boost its market share in the $US32 billion market, based on 2006 sales, for IT systems for SMBs, vice-president of channels marketing for STG, Alex Gogh, said. IBM's share of the SMB system market was just 15 per cent, half of what it is for the overall systems market.

"This is a reaction to the marketplace opportunity and recognition of how large the SMB market opportunity is," Gogh said.

The SMB Systems Sales Manager positions were being created to offer just one level of IBM sales management to work with partners to sell to SMBs, not one manager for each of many different product lines, vice-president of worldwide systems sales for STG, Bob Samson, said. The partners were usually system integrators or independent software vendors.

"[Before], a partner had to go to five different IBM people in a territory. Now they just have one," Samson said.

The sales reorganisation coincided with the introduction of new products designed to appeal to SMBs, including blade servers, he said. IBM announced its upcoming BladeCenter S system last month, which is packaged to include server, storage, input-output connections to a network and software integrated into a single chassis.

IBM said it plans to begin shipping the product in the fourth quarter.

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