Ch6 Article 2 - THE FRONT LINES The New Economy Is Still...

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Page 1 of 2 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved. THE FRONT LINES The New Economy Is Still Being Driven By the Old Hard Sell By Lee Gomes 967 words 13 August 1999 The Wall Street Journal J B1 English (Copyright (c) 1999, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.) MOST COMPUTER-networking professionals believe they won't get fired as long as they buy Cisco products. It's up to Carlos Dominguez to keep them so inclined. Mr. Dominguez is the top sales executive for the Northeast for Cisco Systems Inc. His company is the world's third-biggest Nasdaq technology stock, behind Microsoft and Intel, even if many people don't know exactly what it does. "We are the company for the new economy," brags CEO John Chambers, touting Cisco's role in helping the Internet to change the world. What Cisco really does is sell the expensive back-room gear big companies use to run their computer networks. And despite its dot-com self-image, it still lives and dies by the shoe leather of old-fashioned salesmanship. In some ways, it doesn't resemble Amazon.com so much as IBM in its heyday in the '70s. Like IBM, Cisco employs a massive direct-sales operation, with 6,000 representatives. Its sales and support staff for Merrill Lynch alone fills an entire typed page. And as IBM's blue-suited salesmen did, the Cisco sales force plays down its technology -- which competitors love to tar as overpriced, proprietary and second-tier -- in favor of "business solutions." The
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