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Start the New Sales Year with a Bang: Seven Tips for Taking Your Business to the Next Level

boyThe beginning of each year is the perfect time to start fresh with a new outlook and approach for the coming months. Make the commitment to consistently do those things that differentiate you from your competitors.

Follow these tips to kick your sales up a notch in 2016:

  1. Analyze your customer and prospect base and schedule your time based on where you can have the biggest impact. Most of the time, 80 percent of your sales will come from less than 20% of your clients. Identify where those opportunities are and plan your time accordingly. Focus on the clients that really matter–the ones that can make your year and stop spinning your wheels with the little guys. Unless a prospect has been willing to provide you with some information, they’re only a cold prospect. Don’t let them take your time.
  1. Prioritize your existing customers as your best prospects. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics, 2013). Cross-selling and up-selling to your install base are your biggest opportunities for success. You’ve earned credibility there – leverage it.
  2. Establish a consistent communication cadence with your customers. Carve out time every single week to contact your existing customers and prospects. Establish a routine schedule for each prospect and stick to it (weekly, monthly or quarterly). Your customers will be much more likely to think of you first when the next opportunity arises if you are the one keeping in touch instead of your competitor. Use a mix of phone, mail and email to maintain contact.
  3. Become an inquisitive seller . Ask questions of your clients. Listen carefully. If you are talking more than 50 percent of the time, you are talking 10 times too much. Your job is to probe and understand what the prospect’s problems are so you provide solutions that are tailored to each one.  You will be the preferred vendor in a competitive economy if you are a good listener.
  4. Send hand-written notes. This may seem old fashioned, but it happens so seldom now that it can make a big impact. Send a thank you note after each purchase to let your customers know how much you appreciate them and to further develop the relationship.
  5. Get active in your business community. Join associations that dovetail with your best prospects’ interests. Volunteer for industry committees and network with this select group of high-value targets. Rise to the top of these organizations to generate deserved prestige in your industry. The orders will flow in. People like to buy from winners.
  6. Commit to being an ongoing learner. Don’t let your skills become stale. It’s important to continue to develop your skills and knowledge base on an ongoing basis to keep up with industry trends. Complete a minimum of ONE learning opportunity each quarter. This will allow you to maintain your relevancy and continue to bring added value to your customers.  Many training courses are free and available online or even on demand to fit within your schedule.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – January 22, 2016

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Greetings everyone. Hope you all had a great week – let’s jump right into it!

Customer Success Teams Can Be Revenue Engines

I’m always excited to have new bloggers contribute to the partner blog. Scott Schell, from the Global Customer Success team, made his debut this week.

It’s no secret that we’re keen on helping you build customer success here at Cisco.  Scott offered up some great advice on how you can deliver just that and drive revenue.

Check out his post to learn more and be sure to attend the accompanied webinar. Great to have you Scott!

The 2016 ASR Report is Out!

I’m not completely sure, but I think security is a pretty big topic these days, which is all the more reason to check out our Annual Security Report.

The report analyzes advances by security industry and criminals and can give you key insights into where to strengthen your customer’s defenses. You’ll also find new threat intelligence, trend analysis and much more.

Here’s our CEO and SVP of Security talking about this year’s report:

In the Channel News

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Building Your Customer Success Team: Much, Much More Than Just Good Customer Support

When building a customer success team and making your case for more investment in the initiative, the most striking misunderstanding you may have come across is that a customer success team is a cost center and just provides really good customer support.  Let’s set the record straight – a customer success team does provide excellent customer support, but it’s also a powerful revenue engine.

According to Gainsight, companies with a dedicated customer success team – focused on identifying at-risk customers and getting them back on track – see a 24% lower churn rate than companies without one. Reducing churn is key to growing the bottom line.

In addition to reducing churn, a customer success team increases the lifetime value of an account. Over time, account revenue can grow to be many times larger than the customer’s year 1 value.  As a customer success team increases customer lifetime value, they can actually produce as much or more revenue than the sales team over the lifetime of the customer.

So, you had them at revenue engine. Management wants you to build a customer success team.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – January 15, 2016

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

On Wednesday, we unveiled Cisco Cloud Consumption as a Service (CCaaS). CCaaS is designed to help busineses address shadow IT challenges by providing visibility into the public cloud services an organization is using.

Robert Dimicco, SR Director, Advanced Services, talked about how this can benefit our partners on the partner blog this week.

Read his post to see how you can get started with CCaaS today.

In the Channel News

Good Reads

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Turbo-Charge Your Cloud Conversations and Uncover New Business Opportunities

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road over the last few months.  Europe.  Asia.  Canada.  Latin America.  And everywhere I go I talk to our partners.  The one constant: frustration over their ability to have a deep conversation with customers about cloud. Partners have told me their customers want to hear how they can leverage applications and cloud services to impact their business outcomes. However, they also say that their conversations are often relegated to ‘box-level’ discussions about speed and feeds and costs of specific technologies at the bidding phase of the deal.

What if I told you that you can discover every single cloud CS-info_blogservice your customers are using and help them understand the potential business risk or compliance challenges they are facing. And, armed with such insight, that you can uncover new cloud, security, and data center opportunities.

Too good to be true?  Partners can do all that and more with our new Cisco Cloud Consumption as a Service. This new product, now generally available, helps customers solve a significant challenge for their business and, at the same time, provides partners with insights and concrete data to help transform cloud conversations with their customers.

Shadow IT: Growing Exponentially

Customers are facing an explosion of cloud use. And it’s becoming a major headache for IT leaders.

On average, large organizations are now using 1,220 individual cloud services, largely without oversight, which leads to increased risk and spiraling costs. And it’s growing by leaps and bounds. The average number of cloud services used has grown 112% over the past year, and 67% over the past six months.  Additionally, the hidden cost of public cloud services is four to eight times higher than billed costs.

Cloud Consumption as a Service helps customers discover and monitor which cloud services are being used across the organization. It helps customers mitigate cloud risks, uncover redundant services to reduce costs, and compare providers and benchmark usage. Ultimately, it helps organizations strategically manage their cloud use and gain insight to inform their cloud roadmap.

If this sounds interesting, make sure to watch our Cloud Consumption overview video.

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