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20th Annual XChange Conference Kicks Off in DC

Gaylord Harbor

One of the many views from the Gaylord National Convention Center, home to the annual XChange Conference for 2015.

I made it into DC yesterday, one day later than intended but happy to take a plane and not make the admittedly short drive from North Carolina. It’s great to be back with The Channel Company for the annual XChange Conference this week.  XChange brings together influential technology vendors, solution provider executives and industry analysts for a three day event each summer.

Each XChange Conference provides valuable insight and advice on what is needed to adapt and succeed in today’s marketplace.  This event is also where the CRN Annual Report Card (ARC) awards are announced each year. Fun side note: This event is also the first one I ever covered as a blogger for Cisco two years ago!

I enjoy these events a great deal because it provides me with an opportunity to meet with Cisco partners in person. I don’t always get a chance to sit down with our partners face to face and it’s always great to catch up and hear what’s important to their business as we move through the year. Much like everyone else at Cisco, I understand that Cisco partner success is Cisco success.

Oddly enough, these events are often a great way for me to meet folks from Cisco who I have worked with but never met. That was the case this week as Cisco’s Peder Ulander, VP, Cloud and Managed Services Partner Organization delivered an opening keynote speech on how to open new doors as a partner.

Peder Presentation

Peder Ulander, VP, Cloud and Managed Services Partner Organization presents at XChange 2015.

Peder clearly showed how disruption in various marketplaces is changing businesses across the board. The world is changing fast and it’s only getting faster. Customers are looking to our partners on how to make those transitions, and our partners need to be prepared to step and lead those transitions.  If you don’t move with the transitions, you’ll end up in a “digital vortex” that sweeps you right out of play.

Cisco offers end-to-end solutions that help our partners move customers through the transitions. With everything in the world becoming connected, partners are becoming software shops that are key to keeping customers viable. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – August 7, 2015


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

Sherri Liebo took a look back at Fiscal Year ‘15 for Cisco this week on the Partner Blog. She covered a multitude of things she had posted about this past year, including Marketing Velocity, the Cisco Partner Ecosystem and CRN honoring multiple Cisco employees as part of the Women of the Channel awards.

It’s always great to hear from Sherri – and what a range of topics she has covered this past fiscal year. If you missed any of her blogs along the way, you should definitely check out her most recent post and catch up quickly on what she’s been up to. Read More »

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A Thank You to Partners and a Look Back at Cisco’s Fiscal Year

This summer was an epic moment for Cisco with the changing of its leadership. We celebrated our successful history and look forward to our future with excitement and promise. With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment and celebrate this past year. I’ll be brief, since I know many of you might be heading out on vacation and looking to spend some time with friends and family.


Mostly, I wanted to say thank you. I always try to point out how Cisco’s success hinges on the action of its partners. Without your hard work and dedication and feedback on our programs and promotions, none of this works as smoothly as it does. Please do continue to let me know how you think we’re doing, where we can improve and what questions I can answer for you. You can always comment on my blogs and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as possible.


I cherish the time I get to spend speaking with you at events like Partner Summit and Marketing Velocity, but even more important is the time you spend reading my blogs and reaching out to me with your questions and comments. Just in this past fiscal year alone, we have covered a lot of ground.


Back in the early fall of 2014 I wrapped up my series on the marketing superheroes we introduced at Marketing Velocity 2014. I’m thrilled this series was so well-received by you and you had some great insight as well. I hope you’re still working to identify the folks in your organizations that fit these superhero ideals. If not, you should be recruiting those people into your companies. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – July 31, 2015


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

Karin Surber has been a regular guest on the Cisco Partner Blog for months now. She continues to bring fabulous insight into selling and how to get inside of your customers’ minds in order to close a deal.

In case you’ve missed her earlier entries, her blog this week is a fabulous place to start. Karin posted a great piece on the importance of keeping an open mind in order to close a deal. Don’t miss out on closing a deal just because you can’t open your mind to it. Read Karin’s blog and get some help on training your brain to think differently.

Let us know what you think! Read More »

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Open Your Mind to See More Closed Deals

Are you an open minded person sales professional? Most of you reading this will say “Yes, I am open minded” without really thinking through the question.  Now more than ever we live in a world that is constantly changing. Keeping an open mind with your customers, prospects and other stakeholders is critical to your ability to survive and even thrive in this evolving and dynamic business environment. Unfortunately there’s no proven test to determine whether you are truly open-minded but the benefits are indisputable.

Here are just a few benefits of being open-minded:

  • Greater credibility as a fair-minded expert: Keeping an open mind allows an opportunity for you to change with the constantly evolving selling landscape. It doesn’t mean you HAVE to change your beliefs but it means you are at least open to evaluating new ideas and views. You may end up believing even more strongly in your existing ideas but being open means you’ve evaluated all sides of an idea or belief which lends to your credibility with customers and stakeholders.
  • Makes yourself vulnerable which opens the door to more authentic relationships: Having an open mind means you have to admit that you don’t know everything. It means being honest when you don’t know something. This can be uncomfortable as many sales people believe they are expected to be the expert and have all the answers. Many sales people unfortunately divert to the tactic of “overselling” where they sell based on what they hope to be true without verifying instead of simply admitting they don’t know. But seeing the world through an open mind is what makes you vulnerable and being vulnerable is the key to more enriching relationships. This vulnerability can be both terrifying and exhilarating but is required for true authenticity.
  • Strengthens your character: Open-mindedness provides a springboard for new ideas and a baseline that you can build upon, piling one idea on top of another. Being open-minded typically allows for new experiences which collectively make you the person you are and strengthen the beliefs that you hold. It’s very hard to build on experiences without an open mind.
  • Helps you to gain confidence. When you live with an open mind, you are continually learning and experiencing which contributes to a strong sense of self. You are not confined by your own beliefs, or the beliefs of others. You are open to evaluating new ideas without judgement. Imagine going into a new prospect’s environment and truly being open to the experience.  Take the time to learn as much as possible about what is going on there without jumping to a quick solution. Then, and only then, can you really understand what is needed and propose an optimal solution. Over time, your confidence will soar because you will no longer be fearful of the unknown. You will welcome it because it will add to your experience as a seasoned sales and business professional.

Read More »

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