Cbeyond: Direct Sales Force Changes Good for Partners

Cbeyond Inc., in a bid to capitalize on its cloud services strategy, is revamping how it goes to market and says the changes hold nothing but improvements for the indirect channel.

In a Feb. 16 announcement, Cbeyond said it plans to invest more capital into fiber build-outs so it can better serve high-bandwidth customers. By the end of next year, Cbeyond expects a quarter of its revenue to come from cloud-only customers, as well as businesses that buy both network and cloud services.

As a result, the company is retooling its direct sales approach. It’s reducing its entry-level direct sales force by about half while creating two new groups. One will handle customers that just want networking and some cloud services, and the other will target high-value cloud users. Zane Long, Cbeyond’s vice president of indirect channel sales, said those adjustments only bode well for agents and VARs.

“We realigned our direct sales forces to address the more formal sales cycles usually found with these prospects,” Long told Channel Partners on Monday. “As a matter of fact, our new marketing and product initiatives will benefit our indirect partners and customers with a more relevant product and services catalog.”

For example, Cbeyond will provide agents with enhanced support systems and marketing, and is hiring channel-centric cloud sales engineers to help partners secure deals. Plus, said Long, the move does not create channel conflict and, should any arise, Cbeyond will address it in the usual way.

“We have always handled conflict in a graceful manner,” Long told Channel Partners. “This strategy update changes neither our attitude nor our policies.”

The details come after Long late last week sent a memo  obtained by Channel Partners  to agents about the changes. In the missive, Long assured agents that Cbeyond is “not abandoning our core customers: They are the foundation of our company and deliver revenue and profit that other organizations would envy.” He also discussed how Cbeyond will allocate resources now, telling partners that, “We will continue to provide you and your subagents cloud-specific training and work closely with you on developing a mutual cloud services strategy.”

Overall, Long wrote to agents, “you … are a critical part of the team that will help us build what we are calling Cbeyond 2.0.”

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