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Executive Editor

NetScreen gives sales a boost

Dec 18, 20032 mins

* How customers can take advantage of NetScreen's direct sales plans

Look for NetScreen to pound on your door if it hasn’t done so already.

There will be more NetScreen sales people out there soon.

One of the company’s goals for 2004 is to boost its sales force, the people who work through VARs and resellers to get corporations to buy their gear. This according to a financial analyst’s report on a recent briefing NetScreen held for analysts.

These NetScreen people will stop by corporate sites to demonstrate gear and answer questions.

“We believe the company will continue to expand its direct salesforce to help engage customers at the CIO-level and sell NetScreen as a strategic partner, not just as a point solution vendor,” says Sarah Friar, an analyst with Goldman Sachs.

This means that rather than as a VPN vendor NetScreen will present itself as a security vendor to the highest-level decision makers at businesses.

In addition, Friar expects the company to quickly make clear its plans for the Secure Sockets Layer remote access products it acquired when it bought Neoteris earlier this year. “The company spoke to a smooth integration of the SSL VPN product line,” Friar says.

Much of what Friar came away with was that NetScreen has plans that make sense and is driven by a need to grow from a $300 million company to a $1 billion company. All companies would like to do that, but NetScreen, given that it went public two years ago and has been relatively successful, may feel more urgency.

NetScreen can be directed by what Wall Street expects, and it seems clear that Wall Street expects this revenue jump. What she said: “Going forward, [NetScreen] needs to focus on going from $300 million to the $1 billion revenue mark. This will entail a broader portfolio of products, an enterprise-class salesforce, and, most importantly, being perceived by customers as a longer-term strategic partner.”

All well and good for NetScreen if it makes a lot of money. But this also gives customers and potential customers the opportunity to put the company to the test as it continues this effort. A company with such big plans can probably be pushed into going the extra mile if customers ask and even insist on it. Customers could wind up getting more out of NetScreen than they expected.