Juniper Networks Chairman and CEO Scott Kriens offered a bit of advice for channel partners: Seek out customers that are ready to change.
Speaking on Monday at Juniper's inaugural Partner Summit in Las Vegas, Kriens advised solution providers to qualify sales leads by quickly assessing whether customers are open to change or are married to the status quo--one of many veiled references to rival Cisco Systems. In the latter case, he urged partners to move on.
"You have to find a person that's ready to listen. That's a change agent. Then it will work," Kriens said.
His message resonated for some partners at the conference, which was the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking vendor's first since entering the enterprise market via its acquisition of NetScreen Technologies a year ago.
Jack Higgs, president and CEO of Westron Communications, a Carrollton, Texas-based solution provider, said it's essential to train his sales force not to waste time on unlikely prospects. "Our job is to go back and train our people to ask questions and [proceed based] on the answers they get," he said. "If the customer hesitates for a second, say 'Thank you for your time' and get out of there."