We’ve written often in this blog on the topic of sales team architecture. One of the concepts we’ve written about is a matrix sales team structure. Early stage technology businesses gain a substantial amount of momentum by implementing a matrix sales team structure, which fields a healthy, but, nevertheless, contentious set of teams to do the job required of the revenue generating side of the business. When geographically focused sales team compete with national account teams, and even OEMs for the same business, you’ve got three operative units working to successfully close business for you. If your competitors have merely one unit competing with you, the odds are 3 to 1 you’ll win, right? So contention between Line of Business (LoB) units certainly has its place, at least for emerging technology businesses.
But contention between LoBs does NOT work well for mature ISVs with enormous market presence. Microsoft is an example of this type of business. Steve Ballmer’s One Microsoft announcement, and the supporting Memo, Tranforming Our Company illustrate the depth to which LoB contention probably undermined the company’s efforts to move forward from an on premises, enterprise-centric brand to a brand more in keeping with its new rivals — Linux/OpenSource (Google Chrome, Ubuntu, RedHat, etc), Google Apps, and, on the hardware front, Apple’s iPad and iPhone.
As we wrote in this blog in a post we will publish shortly, the Apple contention was really not Microsoft’s problem at all. So their announcement in late June of a port of the Office suite of apps to run on the iPhone makes perfect sense and exemplifies a big step forward — at least as we see it — towards disconnecting their brand from the brands of Intel hardware OEMs who also happen to be Microsoft customers.
From what we see of the reorganization, at least on paper, we think it’s a powerful move in the right direction for the company. We hope the results prove the announcement to be accurate, but only time will tell.
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