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Cisco Partner Velocity: How to Create a Social Media Events Strategy

Why be social at events in the first place? I mean, don’t you have enough to do already?

In the second in Cisco’s Partner Velocity webinar series on social media, I covered social media’s role at events and how you can use it to achieve your goals, whether you’re looking to generate leads, drive attendees to your booth, or increase share of voice.

Creating an end-to-end events strategy means setting reasonable goals, using social listening to hear what people are saying, asking the right questions, creating an editorial calendar, and setting a cadence of activities leading up to and during your event. I shared how to build that as well as general social best practices and ways to encourage participation.

So for those who are dubious about this whole social media thing, there are quite a few benefits to creating a social strategy for your next event. Using Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and LinkedIn can help you bring customers to your booth, drive sales, increase interest in what you do, and get people talking about your company.

So how does it work? And how can you win a consultation worth US$2500 to help you get your social efforts off the ground? Read More »

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The Two Market Forces That Killed Solution Selling Forever (Part 1)

This post is the first in a 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, executive strategic selling and the creator of ERS (Executive Relevance Selling) – 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 1,000 Executives all over the world on this methodology and discipline.

The world has forever changed and how technology must be sold has, too.  Solution selling is dead because the major foundational assumption of solution selling is that a budget exists. Now the VAR must create the budget. The two market forces that killed solution selling are the same forces that require budget to be created by the VAR.

So, what are the two market forces that killed solution selling?  Read More »

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Public Relations 101 for Partners—and How to Get Started

As you know, Public Relations, or PR, is not the act of crafting a press release and slinging it onto the wire—or posting it to the dark news recesses of your web site. PR is also not about blasting the same story to everyone.

Another thing PR is not: advertising. This means you don’t have to shell out a ton of cash to get a placement, but you also don’t have much control over whether your story gets written, or where it will appear. 

Instead, PR is about being organized, methodical, and strategic. It’s about having a plan, writing targeted releases tied to timely business pain points (like BYOD, for example), identifying the right journalists, and creating relationships. 

In fact, I’ve even heard PR re-coined as TMR (Target Market Relations). Let’s face it, in the marketing world the “shot-gun” approach hasn’t worked for a long time (blasting the same thing to everyone, at the same time). It doesn’t work for email marketing, and PR is no different. It’s all about segmenting and targeting, segmenting and targeting…

Ultimately, PR requires sustained effort and diligence. However, the payoff can be immeasurable for your business.

Case in point: 53 Cisco mConcierge partners utilizing the Cisco mConcierge Service recently embarked on a successful 12-week PR journey comprised of:  Read More »

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Are you Ready to Help Your Customers Define a Workspace Strategy? VXI Can Help!

The care-abouts of our customers at both the business leader (CEO, CIO) and IT decision maker levels create interesting dynamics, triggered by a simple statement from employees: “Make me more productive using my personal choice of device.”

Beyond this initial conversation, CxO’s are looking at building a comprehensive workspace strategy, where user expectations centered on flexible work styles and collaborative services meet IT’s ability to be compliant, secure, and cost optimized. Current application virtualization deployments, call it cloud, are fuelling the urgency around defining, agreeing, delivering, and controlling a Unified Workspace strategy.

What are you, our partners, telling us?

  • Help us win business in a scalable and pilot friendly model–one that delivers business impact quickly.
  • How can we accelerate opportunities?
  • With change in workspace services comes risk for our customers. How can we de-risk this environment?
  • This is a multi-vendor solution with integrated Cisco cross-architecture components! Help us simplify our go to market!

Our response is Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution, a key component of EVERY customers’ evaluation of adopting new services in the workspace. Combining virtual desktop services, virtualizing business applications delivery, and collaborative services on top of this enable new levels of productivity and ultimately accelerate growth. Read More »

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Master Cloud Builder Specialization–Helping Partners Evolve

You’ve often heard me say that Cisco partners need to continue to evolve their businesses to stay competitive and be successful. As the trend for delivering technology as a service continues, now more than ever partners must evolve their business to support the demand for new consumption models, like cloud and managed services.  And in order to support our partner’s evolution, Cisco is evolving our Partner Program with the availability of the new Master Cloud Builder Specialization.

As I announced at Partner Summit back in April, this new specialization brings together the data center architecture specialization, Cloud Builder designation and adds competencies to deliver solutions like Vblock, Flexpod, and VXI.  Think of the new Master Cloud Builder specialization as the customer’s “one-stop shop” for the highest level of competencies for data center and cloud.

No matter which analyst report you read, the market opportunity for both private and public cloud infrastructure will be billions of dollars over the next several years. The Master Cloud Builder Specialization allows partners to differentiate even further to help capture a greater share of the rapidly growing cloud market.

Partners have a choice in the role they want to play in cloud (Builder, Provider, Reseller) and the level of investment they want to make. Cisco is committed to continuing to invest in the success of our partners, to help you optimize your business value and see the greatest return on your investment in Cisco.

Along with the availability of the new master specialization, Cisco is launching the Cisco Cloud Partner Marketplace. Created based on your feedback, this tool gives partners a place to market and promote their Cisco cloud-based solutions and services.

I encourage you to learn more about the new Master Cloud Builder Specialization and the Cisco Cloud Partner Marketplace and I look forward to our continued journey together in this ever-changing marketplace.

Find out what some of our partners had to say about the Master Cloud Builder Specialization.

Read More »

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