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The Power of Insight: The Role of Data and Analytics in Customer Success

Building a successful recurring revenue business is a common challenge facing Cisco partners. From service contract renewals to upsell and cross-sell opportunities, we know that post-sales initiatives often take a back seat, causing you to miss out on valuable and repeatable revenue gains. Even worse, by not staying on top of your customers’ post-sales needs, you risk losing their trust and their business.

So how can you turn things around? The answer might surprise you. It isn’t a more experienced sales team, or even more feet on the street. In fact, we’ve found that the key to a successful recurring revenue business is data science – information and analytics that deliver clear insight into the post-sale opportunities that exist across your installed base.

Impact of Insight

Data science is already playing a role at Cisco in predicting how customers will behave and ultimately buy. As part of this effort, we are working to use data and analytics to help grow our partners’ post-sales businesses by driving consistent engagement throughout all phases of the customer lifecycle – from the moment a product or service is purchased, to the point when it is adopted or implemented, to the time the customer is ready to renew or refresh that purchase.

Data science can also serve as a powerful force in building customer success. And that’s why the Cisco Global Customer Success (GCS) organization was formed earlier this year. The GCS team is looking at new ways to put data to work to empower our partners to enable customers to realize the full value of their Cisco investments.

What’s in it for you?

The easiest way to describe what data science can do for Cisco partners is this: it gives you the information you need to sell smarter, more effectively, and more profitably at every stage in the customer journey. With data science behind you, you can reach out to the right customers, at the right time, and with the right offers to quickly close more sales.

How can you get started putting your data to work for your business? We’d like to help, and we’ve lined up a partner-focused webinar on this topic on Dec. 15. Registration is now available online, and you won’t want to miss it as you gear up for a fresh start in the new year.

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Expanding Security Everywhere and Creating New Opportunities for Partners

As you remember, we launched Security Everywhere last June during Cisco Live, San Diego.  Since that time we have received tremendous response from our mutual customers and you, our partners.

To further decrease the risk of security threats, on November 3rd, we announced additional investments and enhancements to our Security Everywhere portfolio and strategy.

We have expanded our security solutions to reach further into the cloud, network and endpoints. In addition, we launched a new threat awareness service for businesses of all sizes. The new solutions provide value to our mutual customers as well as, provide you with additional revenue opportunities that will increase your profitability.

Here are a few of the solutions I’d like to highlight.

Cisco Cloud Access Security (CAS) provides visibility and data security for cloud-based applications. The exciting news for you is that with CAS you can assist your customers address the sprawl of Shadow IT.  It is reported that 90 percent of organizations are not “fully aware” of devices accessing their network.  There are 5-10 times MORE cloud services being used in enterprises than are known by IT.

New additions to CAS offering allow organizations to address this complexity as well as increase visibility and control over data in cloud applications. Four new applications – Audit, Detect, Protect and Investigate – are designed to assess and act on non-sanctioned cloud applications, aimed at preventing cloud data loss.

Partnering with Elastica, CAS delivers increased visibility into “hidden” applications, those that employees might bring onto the network; detection of malicious behavior; and the ability to set security policies that tailor application usage and user behavior to align with corporate policies. To protect cloud-based applications, such as Dropbox and, CAS prevents the uploading of sensitive information and inappropriate sharing of data in the applications, to limit data exposure breaches.

New Identity Services Engine (ISE) enhancements extend visibility and control for network and endpoints with new hyper-location access controls. Cisco ISE 2.0 extends security further into the network with new capabilities that help you see and control what’s on your network like never before and accelerate threat mitigation. Now you can deploy ISE services such as Profiling, Posture, Guest, and BYOD with 802.1x Network Access Devices (NADs) manufactured by Cisco Ecosystem partners.

You also have a simplified AAA device management and administration capabilities with the new work center for TACACS+ protocol support. Lastly, ISE 2.0 enhances the user experience for ISE administrators by leveraging workflow-focused work centers for centralized management and administration.

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Social Selling: 5 Myths Busted

“I’m a big fan of the misunderstood, the vilified, the underdog, the breaking of myths.” Dominic Monaghan

We all do it. We get a preconceived notion in our heads and it becomes the truth. Here at Cisco we believe deeply in omni-channel customer communication and social engagement, but sometimes we need to do a reality check – particularly when it comes to how our partners interact with their prospective and current customers.

We wanted to know what matters to partners when it comes to using social media for sales and marketing. So we used a tried-and-tested approach: we asked them. In partnership with Leader Networks, we conducted a mixed-method study (which included interviews and a survey) with 240 Cisco partners in our EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Russia) region. Our goal was to understand:

  • The opportunities, barriers, and challenges Cisco partners experience when engaging prospective and current customers
  • The areas where social engagement could enhance or accelerate sales and marketing efforts
  • The tools and support Cisco partners need to be successful on the social channels

Of course, we entered the process with a set of assumptions – including a theory that, because our partners engage with customers in highly localised, highly personalised ways, they would tell us that social engagement was a ‘nice to have’ instead of a strategic need. Guess what? We were wrong! Here’s what we learned:

Myth: Social selling is a good idea but it doesn’t really work for the partner community.

Fact: Social engagement is becoming critical to partners’ sales and marketing initiatives.

According to our study, 91% of Cisco EMEAR partners believe social engagement will become important or very important to their organisation in the next 12-18 months. That’s almost all of them. This indicates that social selling is not just a market trend swirling outside the partner community. It’s very real and very relevant to partners right now.

Myth: Most partners aren’t active on social channels.

Fact: Partners are smart about social – and they’re getting smarter.

Our survey showed that the majority of EMEAR partners use LinkedIn and more than half use Twitter and Facebook.

What’s more, 60% report that they use social channels in their sales practices. Although some partners are in the experimental stages, many are on their way up the social selling maturity curve – and they’re developing stronger strategies and programs by the day.

Myth: Partners only use social selling techniques for lead generation.

Fact: Social selling is delivering a host of meaningful benefits.

Some organisations use social channels to shout: to digitally broadcast and amplify their ideas. Our partners are using social selling techniques to listen and engage – and that is paying dividends. According to our study, socially engaged partners report meaningful benefits such as an increase in their visibility among prospective customers (84%), closer relationships with customers (71%), and greater awareness of customer needs (70%).  Taken one step further, our partners are not only using social engagement to sell products and services – they’re gaining invaluable insight that can be used to drive new products and services.

Myth: Partners want pre-packaged content that they can “push” over social channels.

Fact: Partners want to become thought leaders who craft their own content.

To advance their social selling strategies, EMEAR partners desire more information and insight. They want to create and share content about industry trends and new perspectives to make valuable contributions to their customers. They also want the training and support they need to do so. Said another way: they don’t want fish; they want to become fishermen.

Myth: Only millennials use social selling techniques.

Fact: Social selling is universal.

In our study, we spoke with partners in a wide range of ages across multiple countries and organizations of varying sizes. There were no significant differences in their responses – whether they were digital natives or a seasoned salespeople, working in Austria or Algeria, employed by a large or small firm. The bottom line? Social selling has the potential to yield benefits for all partners. Full stop.

Our partners are incredibly important to Cisco. They’re on the front lines with our customers – working hand-in-hand to help them get the business outcomes they’re looking for. By continuing to use social media as a two-way communications channel, our partners are in a unique position to gain the deep insight that will inform new products and solutions, drive business transformation for customers, and ultimately shape the future of Cisco. That’s a fact.

Click here for our Infographic.

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Lead Cloud Disruption and Adoption. We’re With You.

We all know the right cloud solutions help organizations improve agility, accelerate time to market, and deliver cost savings.  But for customers, it’s not always easy to know where to start.  Between public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions, they need to know which choice is best for their business and what to do first.  They need a cloud strategy.

According to a new Cisco-sponsored IDC report (“Don’t Get Left Behind: The Business Benefits of Achieving Greater Cloud Adoption”), only 1% of organizations have fully-optimized cloud strategies in place.  Only 1%.

Help Customers Build Better Cloud Strategies

Here’s where customers need your expertise. And we want to help you develop this expertise.

Based on in-depth IDC market research and insights from over 3,400 organizations across 17 countries, we developed the Cisco Business Cloud Advisor — a framework to help customers translate in-depth research into actionable cloud adoption plans.

Now we’re making it available to you, our partners, to make your customer conversations easier.

Consider the benefits of showing customers how much they will gain and how much more competitive and productive they will be with a cloud strategy.  Collaborating with IDC, we analyzed cloud adoption levels by geography, industry, and company size.  Using the Cisco Business Cloud Advisor, you can provide cost and time-to-market improvement estimates based on an organization’s cloud adoption.

Once your customers understand the business benefits of cloud adoption, you can offer concrete recommendations, and strategy that includes real solutions and services — from your portfolio and ours — to help them meet their business needs.

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Cisco Mobility Express Solution Helps Partners Reach Small and Medium-sized Businesses

The continued growth of wireless devices in the workplace means that mid-market organizations are taking a new look at wireless networks and the positive impact that mobility can have on delivering tangible business benefits.  However, these mid-market organizations face a wide array of choices on enabling their workforce with wireless mobility solutions, and oftentimes have limited IT resources.  This is where you, the channel partners or integrators, step in.   For many of you, enterprise mobility continues to be one of the most important areas of focus, and an abundance of opportunities are emerging for you to grow and capture new business around small to medium-sized deployments.

Today, we launched the Cisco Mobility Express solution  that is designed to deliver enterprise class Wi-Fi for small to medium-sized businesses.

By offering Mobility Express, you have a new way to accelerate business and help build out your mobility practices.   Mobility Express provides you with a competitive offering that appeals to cost-conscious customers while also delivering the value of Cisco reliability and excellence.   Mobility Express squarely addresses small-scale implementations which allows you to capture new customers by selling into this growing customer segment of mid-market organizations.

Mobility Express is also built on a common technology platform, enabling you to sell investment protection, and fuel additional revenue opportunities through a seamless upgrade path as customers’ needs evolve.  And finally, Mobility Express gives you have a strong ease-of-use value proposition to present to customers.  The solution deploys in under 10 minutes, making it attractive to smaller organizations where flexibility and ease of use is a priority.  For more information, please visit the partner launch page here.

Determining adequate bandwidth, power requirements and security are only part of the challenge with WiFi networks. Increasingly, we are seeing partners build professional services practices to help customers of all sizes with their sophisticated needs around WiFi deployments and driving business outcomes.  Partners offering site surveys/assessments, integration services and management of an integrated technology solution are often the most successful.

To complement this new offering, Cisco continues to invest in partner enablement and training to help prepare our partner community and lead you on a profitable path forward.

Here are some notable resources:

  • Partner Account Manager, System Engineer and Field Engineer training is available globally
  • As the industry job roles evolve, Cisco’s CCNA Wireless certification is also being updated with a focus on cloud managed and Unified Access wireless architectures, as well as 802.11ac access points, controllers, and wireless standards. You can find more details here.
  • To close deals faster be sure to use the new Cisco Cloud-Based Predictive RF Planner Tool. Using this tool, you can now provide initial site estimates for your customers without requiring a physical onsite inspection. You can create a bill of materials quickly and easily from your desktop.
  • Review an on-demand training webinar, Voice of the Account Manager, designed to provide the Cisco Partner account manager with timely and relevant sales updates focused on Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Architecture. Here is a link to access the webinar.

Finally, please provide your feedback in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts on our announcement.


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