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Pre-Sales Prospecting and Marketing: The New Partner Enablement Imperatives

This post is the third in a series we’re featuring from Beth Vanni, Vice President of Amazon Consulting. Amazon Consulting is a partnering services firm dedicated to helping companies elevate the impact of partnering. Beth has over 25 years of experience in technology sales and marketing, with a specialty focus on partnering strategies and supporting operational plans.

Vendors have long sought the attention, investment, and loyalty of channel partners for one primary reason — to expand market reach. The promise of new projects and new customers has been not the only driver in forging vendor/channel partnerships, but it has been a key one.

With the current economic climate, vendors have been forced to look at their partners’ skill sets and business model holistically, with the aim to have the right balance of technical skills, sales and prospecting skills, marketing acumen, and service delivery skills.  But what combination of these competencies makes a solution provider most adept at driving new business?

In Amazon Consulting’s Annual State of Partnering Study, the last two years’ worth of results from over 100 global IT vendors indicate that increasing partners’ sales skills is a big focus for vendors.  Specifically, vendors are looking to improve the overall channel’s skills in two areas — the ability to do effective pre-sales prospecting and the ability to sell business value to line-of-business decision makers.

Technical training and certification programs are now the staple of many vendors’ formal value-based channel programs – those that recognize partner contribution beyond just sales volume.  They are the basis for how most partners earn recognition, rewards and further support from their leading vendors.  And specialization programs focusing on multi-product solutions and industry skills have taken that idea to the next level.

But recently, many vendors with highly-evolved technical certification programs have realized that technical acumen alone does not necessarily translate to partner profitability. So what has changed?

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Help Customers Embrace Change with New Borderless Networks ROI Benefits Calculator

August 5, 2011 at 9:24 am PST

Your customers want all the benefits that borderless networks have to offer; things like working from home, VPN access anywhere, and secure network access via any device. But how do you best walk customers through the costs, benefits, IT staff requirements, ROI, and the dizzying array of considerations around a sizable IT upgrade?

With a series of questions, scenarios, and analysis, the new Borderless Networks ROI Benefits Calculator is a free tool that helps partners analyze customers’ IT costs and needs—whether it’s a future network deployment or a post-deployment ROI analysis.

By plugging data into the calculator, you receive a tangible list of benefits that a customer would see from upgrading their infrastructure (like reductions in help desk costs, increases in end user productivity, or energy savings).

Cisco tapped independent technology and market research company Forrester Research to create the calculator. Forrester gathered data from its research on Cisco Borderless Networks and the market in general, interviewed Cisco marketing and sales personnel, spoke with organizations offering solutions, and conducted a survey of 121 IT network execs.

How do I get access to the calculator?

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Vblock for Cisco Unified Communications Can Speed Time to Revenue

A little while back I blogged about the Vblock solution for Cisco HCS. This time around I’ve got answers about another solution, Vblock for Cisco Unified Communications, which is designed for delivering hosted services.

To succeed in today’s fast paced, global economy, businesses must be able to communicate and collaborate. This requires access to a range of voice, video, and messaging communication tools. While the essence of communication is to break down barriers, organizations today must contend with the barriers imposed by increasingly complex communications environments. The VCE solution enables rapid deployment of Cisco Unified Communications applications on Vblock Infrastructure Platforms to provide an integrated hardware and software solution that connects people, information, and teams, helping to enable comprehensive and effective collaborative experiences.

Before you keep reading, watch the video Cisco UC “As-A-Service” Offers on Vblock Platform, which provides an overview of the solution, and what customers can expect.


What are the advantages of Vblock? Keep reading for the FAQ. Read More »

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Cisco Partners Build Secure Data Center for Vegas-Based Global Cash Access

July 29, 2011 at 9:05 am PST

Any trip to Las Vegas would be incomplete without at least one pull of the lever on a slot machine—after all, gaming forms the core of the Las Vegas experience. But what about all that money changing hands? It has to be managed by someone. That someone is Global Cash Access (GCA), which processes US$24 million per day globally, making it the second-largest transaction processor in the world.

GCA’s products and services provide gaming patrons access to cash through a variety of methods, including ATM cash withdrawals, point-of-sale debit card transactions, credit card cash advances, and money transfers. While GCA has a thriving business, it had a problem on its hands—an aging infrastructure. Its network had originally been designed to be highly secure, but its processes were completely manual. The company had 2000 devices deployed in 800 locations worldwide, and provisioning and management was a nightmare. Their system often required at least two engineers and many days to add a new server, application, or customer to the network.

Of course, where there’s a network problem, Cisco partners are there to help. Cisco Gold Partner Nexus IS assisted in planning, designing, and implementing a new network and data center for GCA, while World Wide Technology, also a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, provided planning, design, and implementation for the data center elements of GCA’s infrastructure.

When I was at Cisco Live in Vegas, I got the chance to chat with Dave Elsner, VP of Sales and Marketing at Nexus IS. He filled me in on the process of planning GCA’s new data center, equipment deployed, and what’s in store for the future.

Keep reading to get more details on the new data center, its benefits, and what’s in store for GCA. Read More »

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Grow Your Business with the New Partner Readiness and Support eBook

July 27, 2011 at 10:11 am PST

I guess the age-old saying is true, great ideas come to those who “think outside the box.”

The Worldwide Partner Readiness and Support team did just that and incorporated the old “Partner Enablement (PE) in a Box” PowerPoint slides into a new, interactive eBook to help increase your productivity and sales. Not only is it packed with useful information to help partners successfully and profitably sell, deliver, and support Cisco Architectures and Solutions, but it’s also easy to use.

The eBook separates partner programs and tools into five convenient sections organized by selling stage. Each section includes: Read More »

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