As our customers embark on their digital transformation journey, they have a myriad of vendor, partner and technology options available to revitalize their businesses and produce better outcomes for their consumers. So more than ever – how we (vendors, resellers, integrators) work with these customers along their digital journey makes a big difference in whether we are relevant and successful. It requires a fundamental change in our go-to-market, otherwise we risk leaving billions of dollars of opportunity on the table for others to grab.
You’ve heard me and Sandy Hogan talk about the value of Customer-In Selling and why it’s important to change how we sell by starting the conversation with a customer’s business challenge and outcome in mind. The second most important part of Customer-In Selling is to change who we sell with by working with other ecosystem partners to leverage that outcome. Why is this? First, no single vendor can produce a customer’s digital transformation outcome – today’s solutions often require products and services from an ecosystem of hardware vendors, software vendors and integrators. But more importantly, to own the digital conversation with our customers, we must connect the conversation between the Lines of Business (LOB) and IT. This is intimidating to many of our traditional sellers that don’t have the experience or depth of knowledge to maintain a robust conversation with the LOB decision makers. The good news is that we have seen our success increase significantly when we engage other ecosystem partners that either have: 1) existing LOB relationships in our target accounts, or 2) relevant Customer-In Selling success stories that help build trustful relationships with those LOB decision makers. In truth, attempting to drive a Customer-In Selling approach on our own limits our success.
Early engagement of the right players from our entire partner ecosystem helps Cisco and our traditional partners:
- get involved in the sales cycles well before we are labeled as “just the infrastructure provider”
- build credibility with new buyers within our account
- tap into new budgets
- and sell comprehensive solutions with hardware, software and services that increase our margins and deal sizes
To accelerate our partners’ success with this new go-to-market model, Cisco continues to evolve the Connected Value Exchange between all of the partners that work together on a customer’s behalf. This exchange produces new skills/capabilities, business outcomes and monetization opportunities for everyone – resellers, independent software vendors (ISVs), integrators, cloud providers, etc. – that can be leveraged as best practices for future customers.
How can you get started?
- Check out Accelerating Cisco Ecosystem Sales (ACES): It’s a collection of best practices and resources that help you engage, go-to-market, and succeed when engaging new ecosystem partners
- Download our new Partner Guide to Driving Digital Transformation, which contains a four step process with resources/tools to help you own the digital conversation with your customer
Join us in Berlin
- Attend Cisco Partner Day—if you’re planning to be in Berlin for Cisco Live, register for Partner Day being held Monday, February 20 from 1:00-6:00pm where you’ll hear opening keynotes from Milo Schacher, Jeremy Bevan, Jeff Samuels and me around digital transformation. (Note: you must register for Partner Day separately from Cisco Live Berlin)
- Come to Ecosystem Partner Connections—when you register for Partner Day, choose our Ecosystem Partner Connections breakout. Here you’ll meet new ecosystem partners, hear business pitches from 6 independent software vendors (LiveAction, Hoxton Analytics, SAS, MazeMap, Veeam, and Purple) and learn how to own the digital conversation with your partners! (Note: you must be registered for Partner Day, to attend this breakout)
- Visit the Security, Cloud/DC and Collaboration Partner Villages at Cisco Live Berlin—to find out more about our partners’ and Cisco’s solutions to drive digital transformation.
I hope to see you all in Berlin!