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May 9, 1994

IBM SALES RECAST BY SECTOR TO PRESENT ONE FACE TO CLIENT

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has set in train a comprehensive restructuring of its worldwide sales force, switching from a geographic and product line to an industry-by-industry segmentation. The new structure establishes 14 different industry sectors, including communications, finance, health, banking, retail, travel, insurance and manufacturing, with 12 being represented in each of IBM’s existing global marketing divisions – North America; Latin America; Europe, Middle East & Africa; and Asia-Pacific. The travel and petroleum sectors will be global operations. The switch is not expected to lead to much upheaval for sales personnel, simply that a specialist in a particular sector will report to a boss who may be half way across the country or region rather than to a branch manager within the same geographic area. In Europe, country chiefs, who were given an additional sector specialisation a couple of years ago, are likely to see their power diminished. IBM is expected to fill half the 14 top posts with people recently hired from firms in the computer consultancy field. For a company of this size to make this radical of a change does hint of a newfound corporate courage, Bob Djurdjevic of Annex Research told Dow Jones & Co: he called the overhaul probably the largest and most significant that IBM has ever had, but he warned that it will take months or years to implement and could cause upheaval and power struggles in the meantime. The aim is to restore the one IBM face to the customer that the company of old presented, but Digital Equipment Corp reorganised its sales force by industry only last year, and has had to abandon the structure less than a year later.

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