In a post earlier today, I mentioned that HP, with 3Com now in the fold, understands that it must bolster the quality and quantity of its field-sales team if it hopes to compete effectively against Cisco Systems.
HP is doing more than thinking and talking about it. According to sources familiar with the situation, HP is working aggressively to enlist Cisco account managers, systems engineers, and network-solutions architects in markets worldwide.
Apparently, Cisco is aware of HP’s poaching raids and is doing what it can to repel them. I have been told that Cisco CEO John Chambers has taken a personal and professional interest in HP’s personnel-related incursions. Apparently he has enjoined his VPs and their managers to do everything possible to blunt HP’s poaching raids.
While trying to frustrate HP’s efforts to seduce its employees, Cisco evidently is mounting raids of its own on field-sales staff at Juniper, IBM, and others. In other words, it’s a good (or, at least, better) time to be a networking sales representative. Demand is up, and quality supply seemingly is at a premium.
Until taking over 3Com, HP and its HP ProCurve unit sold networking gear through its channel partners, obviating the need for an extensive direct-sales force. Now, though, with 3Com on board, HP is changing tack.
The change has implications not only for Cisco, which is having to fend off HP’s poaching forays, but potentially for HP ProCurve channel partners, who will want to gain a clear understanding of the new lines of demarcation between what they do and what HP does.