Cisco has had tremendous success selling integrated solutions through value-added resellers, as well as service providers and managed service providers. Now, there is a growing market of new buyers who want faster time to outcomes via solutions or software delivered as a service (SaaS). Many of our existing partners provide SaaS and managed services as part of their direct relationships with customers. However, we see an opportunity to provide additional customers with Cisco’s turnkey SaaS solutions by working with agents who guide customers on the best solution and connect them with us to deliver the customer experience directly.
Starting today, we are working with Intelisys, a leading master agent, and their 1,700+ channel sales professionals. Intelisys agents are now authorized to offer Webex Meetings, Webex Calling and a select group of Webex Devices to their customers who are interested in cloud collaboration products and services for an inclusive hybrid workplace. For more about these solutions, please read Fernando Mousinho’s blog.
Over time, we expect to expand the number of agents we work with, as well as the variety of solutions we make available through them. We also anticipate that existing Cisco partners may want to act as an agent between Cisco and their customers when it makes sense to leverage the agency route to market.
What This Means for Cisco Partners
We announced the new Cisco Partner Program last October, so now we are asked how the agency route to market fits with it. The Cisco Partner Program provides a unified framework that recognizes and rewards partner investments based on how partners create and deliver value to customers. The new program is designed around four primary roles partners are playing with customers: integrator, provider, developer and advisor. It has built-in flexibility for partners to choose whatever route to market, or selling motion, fits with their business model—regardless of which roles they qualify for in the program.
To be clear, a partner’s role, i.e., the type of value they deliver to customers, is different from the way they transact with customers. Traditionally, the majority of our partners own the contract with the customer and manage the relationship throughout the customer’s lifecycle. Agents on the other hand, like real estate or insurance agents, don’t take ownership of the product or service or directly contract with the customer. Rather, they find the best solution to solve the customer’s challenge and connect the customer with the supplier who then delivers that solution directly. Any Cisco partner in any program role will now be able engage as an agent, if they choose.
We have designed the Cisco Partner Program so that all types of partners can gain value from working with Cisco, regardless of their business model or strategy. So what does the addition of the agency route to market mean for each role?
Integrators can tap into new opportunities
The agency route to market provides integrators with an easy way to expand their Cisco business, especially with small and mid-size customers. Integrators can quickly set up Webex SaaS solutions to complement the solutions they provide. For example, an integrator that specializes in data center or Meraki deployments may not typically support Webex, but the agency option makes it easy to include Webex as part of their offering. However, integrators still have the option to offer the full spectrum of Cisco solutions via any selling motion.
Providers can capitalize on Cisco investments and jointly promote offers built on Cisco
Cisco providers are already trusted partners for customers who don’t want to own and manage all of their IT infrastructure, so offering Webex as an agent can be an attractive addition to a provider’s Cisco Powered offers. Many of our providers are already leveraging the agency model, so this is a quick, low-risk, low-investment way to increase their Webex business and still maintain close, value-added relationships with customers.
Developers and advisors can provide more complete solutions directly to customers
Now Cisco developers and advisors can assure that their customers have the Webex SaaS capabilities they need as part of a larger solution that encompasses the developer or advisor’s unique intellectual property. For example, a developer that is building capabilities on top of Webex APIs or an advisor who is architecting a digital transformation project can easily provide a more complete solution without added complexity by acting as the agent. This doesn’t disrupt their business model, and we will reward them for their effort.
No matter what type of partner you are, the agency route to market is additive to your existing options. As with all new endeavors, Cisco and our partners will learn, grow and expand opportunities in ways that address customers’ evolving needs. If you are an existing Cisco partner, please contact your account manager to learn more.
If you are interested in offering Cisco as an agent, please contact Intelisys.
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