Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Channels

Learn How to Present Visual Stories that Captivate Any Audience

September 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm PST

Have you ever given what you thought was a compelling speech only to hear crickets instead of wild applause from your audience?

Have you ever given a sales pitch that fell flat?

Are you truly connecting with your audience and taking them on a journey or just talking at them?

Presentations are the currency of business communications. Those who master communicating with audiences--whether social media, sales pitches, lead generation, or traditional marketing--rise faster than their peers, reach more customers than their competitors, and turn causes into a groundswell.

Through Cisco’s Partner Velocity program, partners can learn marketing, social media best practices, and tips for engaging with customers from the industry’s leading experts. In our next Virtual Partner Velocity marketing session, we’ll be holding a live online broadcast featuring best-selling author and persuasion expert Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte Design.

During the hour-long session on October 11 at 8 a.m. PST, Nancy will demonstrate how to apply the methods in her book Resonate: Presenting Visual Stories That Transform Audiences and build meaningful connections with audiences that compel them to action. She’ll also take your questions live on the air.

What will you learn and how can you participate?

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Got Questions? Call Cisco Partner Advisor to Get the Answers!

When you’re trying something new, it definitely helps to have someone walk you through it. (I’ve certainly felt that way countless times when I’ve had to assemble one of my daughter’s toys.)

In that vein, consider Cisco Partner Advisor your source for getting questions answered: Partner Advisor can help new or existing Registered and Select Certified Small Business partners get started with Cisco. Partners can talk or chat online for free with a Partner Advisor agent to get non-technical information about on-boarding, programs, promotions, marketing, and financing, or to get help facilitating deals and sales opportunities.

Partner Advisor agents have expertise with the Quick Pricing Tool (QPT), and Cisco Capital offers—resources that are suited for Small Business partners. They can also help you enroll in the VIP-Express quarterly incentive program, formerly known as PDF.

Partner Advisor launched in February, and the service has been made available to partners in 28 countries to date. Since May there have been over more than 30,000 conversations with Partner Advisor agents, and many partners have praised  Partner Advisor for helping them increase their knowledge about Cisco products, expand into new markets, and  navigate Cisco online resources more efficiently. Here’s what some partners just like you are saying about Partner Advisor. Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

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?

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

3 Easy Social Media Conversation Starters

How connected are you with your social networks? Are you finding that at times, your social channels become stale or a one-way dialog? If you’re experiencing the “silent treatment”, here are some easy ways to generate two-way conversations.

Tweet or post questions and polls: Events, activities, and launches have a unique opportunity to educate as well as create excitement and energy. Develop creative ways to poll audiences about related topics. And don’t be afraid to mix in a few casual types of questions that pertain to the event, but might be lighter in nature.

Interactions: Social media has a lot to offer to marketers. One special feature of social media is the ability to crowdsource and strengthen loyalty. Monitor social media channel feeds closely, respond quickly, and keep feeding the streams. Simple questions such as “What did you think of the keynote?” or “What interests you the most about this program?” will help start conversations. You’ll be amazed at how much audiences want to share their opinions and information.

Contests: While audiences are primarily interested in the straight forward information and updates, they often like to get involved in other types of activities. Using social channels, offer different types of contests and incentive-based opportunities. These activities do not have to have monetary values, but do need to have perceived importance. For example, preferred seating at a keynote or a meet-and-greet opportunity.

These are just some quick examples of ways to start social interactions. The key to making these ideas work is to integrate social channels together and with the rest of the marketing communications plan. Having a central “hub” like an online community or a website, will help audience members navigate all of the information and discussions more easily.

What are some creative ways you are starting conversations using social media? Share your experiences and let’s keep the social media information sharing going. And follow  my Twitter handle (@elhoust) for more social media for events best practices.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Technology Buyers are Increasingly Social

According to SiriusDecisions, 70% of the buying process is now completed before the prospect is ready to speak with a sales representative. This means that marketing is moving further into the buying process as the prospective buyer uses new – and decidedly online – sources of information instead of a relationship with a sales professional to guide their purchasing decisions.

As B2B marketers we know it’s important to leverage social media as part of our marketing efforts and most of us are. However, it’s more important to pay attention to how our target buyers’ online behavior is changing overtime. How do IT professionals leverage social networks? What sources of content influence their purchase decisions?  Do IT professionals have a preference for certain formats of content over others? 

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,