There is nothing small about small businesses. Growing. Family owned. Entrepreneurs. They take risks and lead with passion. They create jobs and community. They make big bets and care about their customers. They are just like us, working hard every day to make an impact in the world.

Small business is anything but a small opportunity. Small businesses generate half of the global GDP and employ two-thirds of the global workforce. The potential for growth is enormous: there are millions of small businesses worldwide, which present us—Cisco and our partners together—with an enormous opportunity.

You already know Small is where the Growth is!

Of course, none of this is surprising to you! Many of you are entrepreneurs yourselves, and most of you work with small and growing business customers every day. Small customers don’t stay small. With some of these customers, your relationships began as the business was just starting. With all these customers, you’ve helped them use technology to open doors to new customers, streamline operations, and support growth and expansion.

At this year’s Partner Summit, Cisco announced our commitment to small and growing businesses with a focus on increased digital marketing. Recent research from Forrester states [1] that “61 percent of B2B buyers prefer to research online on their own.” We also unveiled an exciting new portfolio curated just for them—Cisco Designed for Business.

Naturally, you’re curious and have questions, so here are a few things I think you need to know.

1. Small is strategic. I joined Cisco a little less than 90 days ago to lead our global growth GTM engine, focused on winning new small and growing customers. When the phone rang, and it was Gerri Elliott telling me Cisco was going BIG on small, I was all in! Gerri and the leadership team at Cisco impressed me with their focus on this segment and commitment to growth. As a lifelong channel veteran and former channel chief at a Fortune 50 company, I’ve always been amazed by the Cisco partner community. I am humbled and excited to amp up the energy and focus on new customer acquisition, growth, and competing vigorously to win market share together with you!

2. We’re meeting small businesses where they are. To these customers, business is personal. Small business customers act like we do when we want to know or learn something new; they do digital search, research, connect with friends and peers. They are incredibly savvy and pragmatic. If they don’t know something, they figure it out—quickly. Their businesses need to run, and they can’t waste a day.That’s why they’re concerned about complexity and implementation. They see Cisco and a lot of bigger technology brands as the solution for larger business—and not the answer for them.We’re responding—and supporting your sales efforts—with a multiyear digital marketing and awareness campaign to let customers know that the same technology that powers the world’s largest, most complex enterprises is available to support their small business. Plus, we’re making sure small businesses know that we’ve streamlined the product portfolio and we’re working to simplify the buying process, and that you’re in the best position to help.

3. Partner routes to market are the key. Cisco has the best channel partners in the world, second to none! You’re already an expert at reaching the hearts and minds of small businesses. You understand the market like no other, and that’s why we’re increasing our investment in partner programs, including several new profitability initiatives designed to help partners focused on small business customers. In addition to new training opportunities and new sales kits specifically designed for these partners, you can expect streamlined deal registration and increased incentives when you grow your Cisco business.

Together we can help small businesses grow more quickly while keeping them connected and secure. We can win market share, grow your own business, increase your customer base, enrich your digital marketing and demand generation, and transform this customer segment together! With you, we can be sure that small businesses around the globe have access to technologies and services that keep IT simple, secure, and flexible, enabling small businesses today and as they evolve.

Cisco Partner Summit 2019 has been a fantastic event, and though it may be winding down, I encourage you to continue the conversation here in the comments section!

For information on the new Perform Plus program for partners who work with Small and Mid-Size customers, see Marc Surplus’ blog “Think Small to Grow.”


[1] Digital Ups The Stakes For B2B Sales Pros, Forrester, February 2019