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Don’t Even Think of Selling to Executives Without Understanding this First

This post is part of a new series we’ll be featuring from David McNicholas, Director of Strategic Business Development at Comstor US. Comstor is a recognized global leader in Cisco product distribution and an established provider of networking and advanced technology solutions. David is a recognized keynote speaker in the field of the financial impact of technology and executive strategic selling—and the creator of Executive Relevance Selling (ERS), a Cisco endorsed program (more on that below). David has trained and consulted data center, contact center, customer service operations professionals and specialists, as well as Fortune 1000 Executives all over the world on this methodology and discipline.

In my previous blog, I discussed the demise of solution selling due to the New World Sales Era of an investment-centric market. I put a stake in the ground that selling efforts must be driven to and at the executive level. To achieve this, you must be able to “improve business processes that drive the executive agenda defined by hard cash flows.”

But how do you know you’re experiencing the New World Sales Era? Have you heard any of these statements from customers? “We’ll make do with what we have.” “It’s not in the budget.” “Times are tough; we are not spending any money.” “I’m not the only decision maker anymore.” If so, you’re clearly selling in this new era.

Today, the business side of organizations is driving more and more IT decisions, while almost all IT decisions must be approved by top management to get funding. As a result, you must be able to get to the heart of the matter, which is (again):

“Improving business processes that drive the executive agenda defined by hard cash flows.”

To fully understand this definition and what it means to drive the sale at the executive level, we must first have a foundational understanding of corporate top management.  The foundational executive attribute you need to very clearly understand to get started on selling to executives is fiduciary duty.  Read More »

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Listening to Partners: Growing Demand for New Consumption Models

Listening to our partners is one of the most important aspects of my role at Cisco.  The feedback we get from our partners helps to shape our strategy and our programs.

Every year we bring together a select group of partners as part of a series of Cisco Partner Executive Exchange (CPEE) events around the world.  In the last 2 months, we’ve met with Latin America partners, APJC partners, and US and Canada partners.  Last week we met with our Americas service provider partners, and next month we’ll meet with our partners in EMEAR.

During these events, partners gave us feedback on our go-to-market strategies; our programs, tools and incentives; and how to optimize our sales teaming with them. While each region is unique and partners have their own unique challenges, as we talk to partners around the world, it’s clear there are some common themes. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Marketing Velocity Recap: Creating an Integrated Campaign

If you attended the first two sessions of Cisco’s Partner Marketing Velocity webinar series on social mediaBuilding a Successful Social Media Program and Social Media Events Experience—you’re  probably thinking you have everything you need to conquer the world of social media.

But before you set off on your quest, take note. Making social media part of a larger effort, such as a specific company initiative, ensures greater success. In fact, if you tie social media into all of the moving parts of your company’s business strategy, then it has a much better chance of resonating with your audience.

In the third session of the webinar series—Creating an Integrated Campaign—I discussed this very issue, sharing the benefits of using an integrated rather than siloed approach. I also gave examples of how Cisco has integrated social media into its campaign strategy and recommended best practices for creating an integrated social media campaign.

Still want to email your messages and call it a day?  Read More »

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How to Ensure Your Practice is Ready When Opportunity Knocks

There’s nothing worse than the pain of replacing an employee. Or the worry of recruiting new talent to deliver on a time-sensitive project. And it can become downright difficult when the person you need to replace, or add, must possess highly specialized skills.

So what’s your strategy? Panic when your best networking engineer gives his or her notice? Miss an important deadline? Or plan ahead?

I like option No. 3, and I’m sure you do, too. However, I’m guessing running a successful consulting business means your plate is typically full. That said, I’m also guessing recruiting is a challenge, especially when you need someone “yesterday.”

But that’s okay. We have a solution for you. Read More »

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Are Your Social Media Efforts ‘Hit and Miss?’

I’ve been on a mission to determine exactly what keeps you up at night, and I think I’ve got it (at least one of the things).

When Cisco partners speak candidly about their marketing efforts prior to being nominated for Cisco mConcierge, I often hear the same words or phrases over and over. Reactive. Scattered. Hit and miss.  Hardly the harbingers of success. Read More »

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