Admit it: you hear Cisco and automatically think enterprise networking leader. Well, it’s time to expand that thinking. This week at Cisco Partner Summit we are officially turning the spotlight on the midmarket and the opportunity it offers Cisco channel partners for growth and profit.  With 1.4 million midsize businesses – which we define as companies with 100-1000 employees – spending an estimated $25 billion on technology and $30 billion on services by 2016, we know this is the right market to focus on with our channel partners.

Faced with market trends such as mobility and cloud, today’s midsize businesses have rapidly increasing IT demands with limited resources. They have many of the same needs as a big business, but smaller IT staffs and budgets to meet them. To remain competitive, mid-sized businesses need to be able to evolve quickly to address today’s business challenges and prepare for the future. This is where Cisco and you, our channel partners, can help. 

Cisco’s approach to midmarket starts with a deep understanding of midsize customers – what keeps them up at night and what drives their purchasing decisions. It’s from that perspective that we’ve developed our strategy for driving profitable growth in the midmarket around three critical elements: partners, portfolio and marketing. Let’s take a look at each.

Partner Driven Sales

In the midmarket, it isn’t enough for vendors to say “our direct sales force promises to stay out of your way, good luck!” That’s why Cisco’s Partner Led strategy is all about putting partners in the driver’s seat, but also giving you the air cover and backing you need in the field, from resources and incentives to global staff support that treats you like a member of our extended sales force.

To help you win, we are doubling our incremental investments in Partner Led resources, incentives and programs to $150 million in FY14. What you’ll see from this investment is continued improvements to our Partner Plus framework that will allow you to evolve your midmarket practice and remain competitive. One example is that we are increasing Virtual Engineering capacity for Partner Plus partners by 100 percent. That’s a lot of new pre-sales support available to help you close deals. We also recently introduced the Winner’s Circle an exclusive retreat for your highest performing partner sales reps in recognition of their outstanding contribution to our growth together.

Made for Midmarket Portfolio

We are proud to offer the industry’s most competitive midmarket technology solutions. Our “made for midmarket” portfolio solves the top IT and business challenges of midsize customers – things like workplace productivity and enhanced customer experience. This selection of both new and existing products, solutions and services ensures that midsize customers are getting the right-sized, right-priced offering with the functionality that they need.

This week, we are announcing additions to the portfolio that we think you’ll find exciting: a new cloud managed networking product portfolio with an innovative managed services platform, the next-generation of the world’s most widely deployed switch, and a new smart solution for server virtualization.

  • Cisco Meraki Managed Services Dashboard:  With Meraki, a new cloud managed networking portfolio and a new Managed Service Dashboard, partners will have new recurring revenue opportunities with cloud-hosted management, security appliances, switches and wireless access points. The Cisco Meraki Managed Services Dashboard is a new tool from our recent acquisition of Meraki that enables managed service providers to profitably grow their midmarket offerings and allows traditional VARs to rapidly introduce new, profitable managed services.
  • Catalyst Switches: Cisco’s most deployed switch line gets even better. The new Catalyst 2960-X switches advance the breadth and depth of our switching offer for customers. The switch provides enterprise class scalability (2x previous gen), higher port density (8 stacking units), enables new BYOD, next-gen workspace, SDN-ready services, and reduces TCO with smart operations and best in class energy efficiency. This is the greenest Catalyst access switch ever built. Now partners can focus on the install base migration revenue opportunity with this “game-changing” switch.
  • Virtualized Foundation Smart Solution: Finally, from a solutions perspective, the Virtualized Foundation Smart Solution leverages Cisco’s strength in networking to help our partners capitalize on demand for server virtualization with midsized customers. The solution helps contain costs and accelerates new application roll out by enabling on-demand provisioning from shared pools of physical and virtual resources. By bringing together Cisco and VMware technology, including Cisco Nexus switching and Cisco UCS with VMware vSphere, we a delivering a compelling customer solution that provides significant revenue and profit margin opportunities for channel partners. Based on Cisco’s fully tested and validated reference architectures, along with a comprehensive set of sales resources, it is easy for partners to provide their customers with a complete Cisco end-to-end networking and datacenter solution.

Our Demand Generation Commitment

We know how important brand visibility and demand generation are to your success in the midmarket. So we’re stepping up to elevate our marketing game with midsize customers.

First, Cisco is committing to generating $1 billion in sales-qualified leads through marketing for our partners in our next fiscal year. Using integrated global marketing programs that include a focused set of demand generation activities designed to help customers move from interest to purchase, competitive promotions and smart solutions, we will help build and accelerate pipeline in key focus areas like BYOD, Data Center and Collaboration.

Second, we’ll deliver and accelerate lead routing through our Sales Collaboration Platform for a simpler, more effective way of getting you the leads you need.

Finally, we will launch an aggressive new external presence targeting midsize customers to increase midmarket brand awareness and provide innovative, always-on demand generation for partners.

Let’s be clear, we’re putting midmarket at the top of our list and want you, our partners, to be leading the charge on these opportunities. We plan to stand out from our competition by providing the comprehensive support and resources you need to win these deals and grow your business. Let’s go after this opportunity together and make money in the midmarket!



Andrew Sage

Vice President

Global Distribution & SMB Sales