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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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Welcoming Accomplished Sales Leaders (Back) to Cisco

Nothing beats a customer raving about the value Cisco technology brings their organization, but the one thing that comes close is when great talent recognizes what Cisco is doing to transform the industry and wants to be part of making it happen.

Today I can share some news that reaffirms how compelling our strategy and product portfolio is.

I’m thrilled to announce that Cisco is making not just one or two, but SIX executive appointments to its service provider sales organization. Read More »

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3 Tips For Jumpstarting Your Summertime Sales Right Now

Guest post from our friends at SCORE

W. Kenneth Yancey, Jr., CEO
Ken Yancey is responsible for developing SCORE’s business plan and vision as well as coordinating national program efforts and all the association’s management operations. He also directs the efforts of the headquarters staff to serve and support the 370 chapters across the country.  Prior to joining SCORE in 1993, Ken was Executive Director at the National Business Association. A graduate of Texas A&M University (BBA/Finance), Ken is a recipient of the USA Freedom Corp Award of Excellence, the ASAE Summit Award, and the BSA Goose Creek District Award of Merit.

Could your sales use a boost during these summer months? Small businesses across the country often experience a slump in sales during this time. Here are 3 tips that you can put into effect to jumpstart your summertime sales right now.

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A Simpler Cisco: New Articles Cover Changes, Partner Profitability

July 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm PST

It’s no secret that we’re looking to simplify things at Cisco, streamline, provide stronger marketing support for partners, and increase partners’ profitability. 

Now, new in-depth coverage from CRN gives more detail around the changes based on discussions with Rob Lloyd, EVP of Cisco’s WW Operations.

Here’s a quick recap and links to the coverage:

Cisco Gets Back To Business
Years from now, Cisco Systems’ landmark restructuring could be viewed as a highly profitable sales game changer that effectively squelched the rising competitive threat from from aggressive competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks, and Brocade.

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Specialty Software Firm Goes Big With Web Conferencing for Global Sales

As someone who helps manage the collaboration customer success program here at Cisco, I hear about all sorts of interesting ways companies both big and small are using technology to grow their business. When I come across an example that stands out, I like to tell people about it.

Issues Central is a specialty software firm based in Toronto, Canada that develops financial compliance and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Transition software. One of their well-known brands is IFRS PARTNER. Using Cisco WebEx technology with high-quality video, this 25-person company is selling their software around the world in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Just that fact alone is interesting to me, but what makes their story even more compelling is how they’re using web conferencing tools in different ways, depending on the culture they’re selling into.

Issues Central is able to close roughly two-thirds of their North American deals online without a single in-person meeting.

As Charley Best, Issues Central’s vice president, touches on in the clip above, when the sales and marketing team is engaging with customers in Canada or the United States, WebEx serves as a closing tool to compel the prospect to ask for a proposal. As a result, Best estimates he closes roughly two-thirds of his North American deals online without a single in-person meeting.

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