Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem 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
Karin Surber was here this week to discuss how Cisco partners are poised to succeed by using line of business selling. Wonder what exactly that is, as I did when we first started discussing it? Well check out Karin’s blog and she’ll give you the lowdown on how you are in a position for the best selling opportunity of your lifetime!
Karin walks you through solution selling, architecture selling and now line of business selling. Check out her blog and let us know what you think. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, karin surber, line of business selling, partner, sales, Weekly Rewind
The way we sell to customers continues to evolve. What works for a while may not be effective in a year or two because the market and buyers are continually changing. Back when I first started in sales many moons ago, the small regional company I worked for didn’t leverage any type of formal selling model. We were encouraged to personalize our sales approach, build relationships with customers and continually build pipeline. While these things are still important, they may not be enough to sustain your business. Understanding the various sales methodologies and applying those models that fit the maturity of your particular local market is critical for your long term success.
The first methodology I was able to leverage was Solution Selling in the mid 1990’s. With Solution Selling, the salesperson focuses on the customer’s pain(s) and addresses those pains with his or her offerings (product and services). The resolution of the pain is what constitutes a “solution”. Typically, we would focus on taking a “latent pain” (something that was always in the back of the customers’ mind) and create a sense of urgency around it. Since I was selling IT services, my questions and solutions were designed for IT Buyers. This worked very well for a few years as I was selling a limited set of solutions.
With Cisco in the mid 2000’s, we were focused on solution selling but it became a challenge as more and more of our products were designed to work together. We needed a selling methodology that would put our products and services into a much broader context for our customers. We moved to an Architectural Selling Model. Instead of solving for specific business problems, the architectural seller looks for opportunities to change and improve entire customer business functions by creatively applying their products and services. Here, an architectural seller from Cisco would look to determine how a large investment in Collaboration hardware, software and services can help clients improve the effectiveness and efficiency of how they collaborate, increase productivity and lower their total cost of ownership, accelerate time to market and increase revenue growth, improve customer satisfaction and generate new ideas. Typically this type of selling is directed towards IT buyers as well and results in much larger deal sizes. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, karin surber, lob selling, partner, sales
Most sales professionals hit the ground running every work day, focused on meeting with customers and prospects, doing what we can to move deals forward, and completing a multitude of other tasks necessary to get the job done. Often the weeks fly by without the chance to step back to take a breath and look at the bigger picture. But one of the most impactful things you can do for your business is to take the time to re-establish priorities and objectives for the coming year. Most larger companies have formal planning processes but smaller businesses and individuals often neglect this aspect of their business.
For most sales people, their focus and priorities are governed by their employer’s objectives. This works well for setting annual sales goals and associated job duties. But the business climate is changing at an astoundingly fast pace. Companies and individuals who don’t keep their finger on the pulse of industry changes miss the opportunity to stay in front of the competition. This translates to lost sales and credibility gaps with customers.
Looking for ways to reenergize your sales focus and stay on top of trends? Follow these tips:
- At least once a quarter, meet with your sales team to share insights on any new trends, concerns or opportunities you are seeing in your market over and above the day to day operational focus.
- Make sure you subscribe to at least two trade magazines, BLOGS or RSS feeds to keep up industry changes and announcements.
- Schedule time on your weekly calendar to actually read the magazines, BLOGS and feeds.
- Make a mental point to share your insights with customers and business partners to heighten your credibility as a go-to expert.
- Network with peers and new prospects on an ongoing basis. Networking is one of the most effective ways to find prospects and keep up to date with your local market.
- Attend at least one tradeshow or industry specific training event annually to maximize your exposure and keep up with new learnings.
Read More »
Tags: Cisco, karin surber, partner, sales
In my previous Cisco Blog post, I discussed the business models an ISV can deploy in moving to the Cloud. In this Cisco Blog, I’ll discuss one of the most important parts of any software company’s business model: the cost of sales.
Cost of Sales is Highest Cost for any Software Business
Read More »
Tags: Cloud Computing, Cloud Marketing, cloud providers, Enterprise, isv, sales, software
Years ago I once read that a sale doesn’t happen until there is a transfer of energy from one party to another party. I believe this to be 100 percent true. Your customer won’t buy from you unless they believe they or their company is going to benefit in some way. The prospect of that happening is exciting to them. The enthusiasm you feel about your solution is transferred to your customer and the deal is closed.
Now, this transfer of positive energy is almost never going to happen if you don’t believe in what you are selling. You can go present your solution to the customer, talk about how wonderful it is and what value it will bring, but if you don’t truly believe what you are saying, your customers will always pick up on that unspoken message. No matter how hard you try, you cannot fake it. It’s human nature that our hidden feelings about our ideas on something will ultimately betray our spoken word.
Imagine this scenario. You are in a presentation with a new prospect. This is a huge opportunity for you. You team has spent hours designing the optimal solution for your customer. It’s a full room. Your boss is there. The CEO of your customer is there, but you are feeling conflicted. The company you work for has had serious quality issues during the past year and the resolution experience has not been good for customers. You’ve had multiple complaints and some recent project experiences have gone horribly bad. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, karin surber, partner, Partner Plus, sales