Did you know that Cisco’s most profitable partners are winning larger deals by accessing buying centers outside of IT, and they’re doing this by co-selling with Cisco ecosystem partners?

One partner’s lesson learned the hard way

A friend of mine, who happens to be a reseller, recently told me he finally understands what I mean when I say partners can win larger deals by accessing new buying centers outside of IT.

He shared with me that he was in an account selling to his IT buyer contact with a proposed  million-dollar deal. But he lost the deal because another Cisco reseller in the same account was co-selling with a Cisco healthcare ISV partner. Together, they expanded the conversation beyond IT to the line of business (LOB), to the Chief Medical Officer, and walked away with a 16-million-dollar deal.

I replied, “Ouch that must have hurt.” He nodded, saying he would make sure going forward that his company had strategic relationships with industry-relevant ecosystem partners who could insert themselves in conversations beyond IT. These relationships would enable the company to sell a lot more in an account—and do it better than the competition by delivering ecosystem-led solutions that meet their customers’ use case requirements and expand the deal size to sell more technology.

I added, “That’s transformative.” In fact, we’ve seen this co-sell phenomenon increasingly over the past few years, and it has helped us achieve greater customer relevance and growth.

A large U.S. health system deal grows to US$250 million

Here’s an example: In 2016, a co-selling team consisting of a reseller, an ISV, and a mobile device manufacturer sold a US$80 million deal. The same team re-entered the same account in 2019 and tripled that deal to US$250 million dollars.

How did they do it?

They focused on improving business outcomes with new buying center roles outside of IT. They knew that creating a better patient and clinician experience was top priority for the health system’s hospitals and could be achieved by streamlining digital workflow. They also knew that the three leaders on the hook to deliver this business outcome—the Chief Experience Officer, the Chief Medical Officer, and the Chief Nursing Officer—represented three new buying center roles outside the traditional IT organization.

To win the deal, each co-selling partner offered a different part of the solution. The ISV provided the software application that enabled more streamlined workflow. The device manufacturer provided mobile devices. The reseller provided infrastructure. Together, they delivered a critical business outcome for the clinical communication and collaboration use case and won the deal.

In fact, our most profitable partners are achieving these successes day in and day out—they’ve figured out the formula. According to Cisco’s research, it’s a deal size multiplier that delivers, on average, 3.2x larger deal sizes and 25 percent increases in year-over-year revenue growth.

Multiplying deal sizes

The formula is simple: The factor multiplying deal sizes is the number of buying centers you sell into—New Buying Centers—times the number of partners you sell with—Co-Selling:

Deal Size-Multiplier Effect = New Buying Centers x Co-Selling Partners

Consider this scenario. If you’re selling to IT by yourself, your deal-size multiplier is 1 (one buying center times one selling partner).  There is no growth multiplier.

If, on the other hand, you co-sell with ecosystem partners:

  • You expand your conversations by leveraging co-selling partners’ account relationships to talk to buying centers such as LOBs and DevOps. In the process, you discover and connect new spend budgets.
  • You increase deal size by bringing together the different parts of a solution to better address the customer’s use case requirements. That’s a deal size multiplier!

Interested in learning more about this high-growth engine?

  • Begin by watching my 13-minute Cisco Partner Summit video that walks you through how the deal multiplier formula works in much more detail. (This video is on SalesConnect and requires a Cisco Partner login for access.)
  • Check out the Portfolio Explorer co/explorer where you’ll find a variety of use cases, along with partners who can help you win deals with customers whose business outcomes rely on successfully implementing these use cases.

Still have questions? Just reach out directly at AskGPT@cisco.com.
We’re here to help you win bigger deals and increase year-over-year growth and profitability.


Akbar Hasan

Senior Director, Co-sell Acceleration Group

Global Strategic Partner Organization