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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – September 26, 2014

September 26, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Marlowe Fenne continued his series leading up to Interop NY. This week, he stopped by the Partner Blog to discuss using customer intelligence to fuel business growth in his blog “Growing Sales and Increasing Market Response with the ‘Right Stuff.”

Be sure to check out insights from Marlowe and let us know what you think. If you’re interested in more information on Interop NY, that is available as well.

What is your Credibility Factor?

Karin Surber shared her personal experience and wisdom into what makes a successful sales force in her ongoing series on the Partner Blog. This week, she focused on building credibility and how vital it is to maintaining strong business relationships. Those relationships may not bear fruit instantly, but in the long run, your credibility is worth more in future sales than any short term gain or quick deal.

Karin’s blog is full of valuable insight for your sales force, from a brand new sales person just starting out, to a veteran of the industry. Give Karin’s blog a read and join the conversation! Read More »

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What is Your Credibility Factor? Earn the Right to Say “No” and Win the Business

If you’ve had sustained success as a sales person, you can probably look back at your career and pinpoint one or two defining moments that moved you to the next level of credibility with your customers. These moments are different for everyone.  Maybe it was winning a huge deal against stiff competition. Or it could have been the hard lesson of losing a major deal because of a lack of focus on the details. For me, that defining moment came when I was willing to say, “No” and walk away from a deal when it wasn’t right for my customer or my company.

You might ask, “How could saying “No” and walking away be a defining moment for a sales person?” After all, isn’t the point to win the deal? Actually, I did win the business. I had the confidence to tell the customer that what they were asking for was unreasonable, would result in a poor quality solution that wouldn’t meet their needs and refused to work with them on the project. The customer went with another vendor and the results were disastrous. Within 45 days, the customer had returned, hat in hand, asking for help in salvaging the project. We took the customer in a different direction, got the project back on track and finished in a way that allowed the customer to save face with his management. That customer never questioned me again when I had to deliver hard news. I’d earned the credibility necessary to secure their future business, and the impact on my confidence as a sales person was monumental.

For most sales professionals, their career defining moment also revolves around earned credibility with customers and peers. What exactly is credibility? Credibility is believability or trustworthiness. Credibility is the ability to inspire or earn the trust, belief or confidence of others towards you based on a combination of certain factors or qualities that you exhibit. Credibility is the direct result of displaying these qualities consistently. Most importantly, credibility is earned, meaning it doesn’t come freely. It’s not a thing you can give; it is a thing you get. It is the impression others have about you and all that you do or represent based on multi-faceted elements. Read More »

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Simplify Sales with Remote Product Demonstrations

I spent the last eight months on the front lines of the virtual demo world for Cisco. Working from our headquarters in California, I met with people from all over the world to demonstrate our latest products — without a single plane trip. Using collaboration technology sales teams can avoid travel expenses, sell more, and increase productivity.

Most significant business purchases require some form of travel. Companies need to send sales experts out in to the world to demo their products. Or, depending on the products or the situation, customers often travel to the vendor’s site. Although travel involves expense and time, personal interaction is important to customer relationships. Travel can make the sales process more cumbersome and time consuming. But without travel, you limit the degree of direct engagement you might have before a customer makes a buying decision.

How Can Remote Demonstrations Add Value to the Sales Process?

Remote product demonstrations are providing companies with a less-expensive option to engage with customers. And the best part of it is that neither customers nor your technical experts have to travel as much. Just as video is changing the nature of meetings, it’s also a fitting solution Read More »

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Indoor Wi-Fi Location and Beacons: Better Together Part 2

wifibeaconLocation-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.

What types of beacons are there?

Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.

Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound -- they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.

Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon -- the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.

Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. Read More »

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Using Ongoing Marketing to Nurture Leads: Do You Know What it Takes to Get to “Yes”?

When I started in my sales career many years ago, I didn’t have the luxury of an established client base or a robust CRM package that reminded me who to call. I didn’t have a marketer funneling leads to me or setting up appointments on my behalf. No, each day I came into the office and started “pounding the phones”, making cold calls, and hoped to get a live person on the phone so I could talk to them about whatever I was selling. When I got a “no”, I wrote the opportunity off and went on to the next cold call. It didn’t take long to realize this was an exercise in futility because 80 percent of other sales people were calling these exact same people using the exact same tactic. So, I thought about the way I wanted to be treated and the kind of people I liked to buy from and changed the way I approached prospects.

Although I didn’t know the official concept at the time, I started formalizing a lead nurturing approach. I shifted my mindset so that every prospect that said ”No”, was looked at as a future “Yes”. I set up call reminders on my calendar and started calling these prospects consistently at mutually agreed upon intervals. Overtime, I established relationships with these prospects, and ultimately, I closed business with more than 60 percent of them! More importantly, more than 80 percent of these clients worked exclusively with me and stopped working with other vendors! All because I took the time to nurture the relationships, made a commitment to their success and put in the hard work to make it happen. Although the process was labor intensive, it got the job done. Had I only realized what I could have accomplished by implementing a similar process through marketing campaigns, my sales could have grown exponentially higher.

Fast forward to today’s electronically-connected, ultra-complex business climate and the ”relationship” element is even more rare and impactful than ever before. Although the sales person is still a critical component of the sales process, marketing campaigns have become a much more cost effective way of nurturing prospects and staying in touch with customers. Establishing a schedule of ongoing, targeted marketing activities is an impactful way to nurture leads and keep your company “top of mind” with your prospects. However, the concept of prospecting or lead nurturing through marketing is still not a focus for most companies or sales teams.  But the statistics speak for themselves on the impact that nurturing has on business. Here are some current statistics related to lead nurturing: Read More »

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