Many people around Cisco and in our partner-community probably don’t know that I spent 7-years as a college football coach in the early part of my career.  I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine a guy now working in the IT industry walking around a sideline at a NCAA Division I school, but that indeed was me in what seems like a lifetime ago.  However, while working at a college is different than working at Cisco, there are more similarities than I would have thought. When I think about coaching – how we taught and trained our players concepts and the playbook in order to be prepared on the field nearly 20 years ago – I can draw the same parallels driving partner sales: coaching and what we build as the overall plan is key to success.

Like most coaches, we spent our off-season recruiting, planning and scheming on ways to improve our team, from designing plays and concepts, to evaluating the skillsets of our players, to creating tools, playbooks and videos to help communicate and provide instruction, and to then certainly look at our competition to understand their go-to play and their weaknesses. Honestly, there really is no off-season in college football, and the same can be said for Cisco.

At Cisco, we work with a team mentality, and my new team exemplifies this supporting Customer Experience (CX) and Partner GTM. You see, we spend time as a team focused on a similar effort empowering our partners, even taking things a step further to ensure partner profitability. We coach and strategize, educating partners on business outcomes, refining our CX strategy for our current portfolio with our stakeholders and transferring all of this knowledge within CX to our partners.

We couldn’t coach properly, though, without tools to support our efforts. Recently we launched a few assets to help with this knowledge transfer for partners including our new CX Support Services Playbook for Partners.*  This playbook is meant to be used as an interactive tool that demonstrates the value of our support services portfolio—SmartNet Total Care, Solution Support, and more—through a customer business outcome lens. We also introduced a variety of content for CX within our Partner Success Guide that has links to our CX Success Hub, CX Accelerate site, and links to all our upcoming webinars for CX, blogs like this, Quick Selling Guides and much more.

And, just like I used film-clips, note cards, meetings and such to train and game plan with my college football players, the same is true for our partners. It’s fun to look back and see how focusing on preparation as a key to success applies to now. Let me leave you with a quote I found this week that I think sums this up:

“Preparation should be your Separation”

Happy selling everyone!


*Requires partner registration



Bryan Bedford

Global Industry Director: Retail, Hospitality, Sports, Media and Entertainment

Global Partner Organization