Partners of all types across the globe have one very important thing in common. Yes, they all want to become more profitable; but, they also want to help facilitate this by aligning their sales and marketing teams more closely.

While some still see marketing as a “support” role, it really is critical to a healthy, successful sales business. Some of our distribution partners have embraced “smarketing” to develop plans and strategies together to help drive business goals. We had the opportunity to experience one of our distributors working smarter together to ensure success in the coming year (and beyond) with the team at Ingram Micro.

Our team had the opportunity to join the Ingram team at an offsite planning meeting for the Cisco BU Market Development Executive Team and the Channel Account Specialists. But here is what made this so unique: marketing representatives from both sides were asked to provide input and hear the strategies discussed for each region as those plans were being developed.

In addition, marketing was represented on each team that was tasked to develop go-to-market strategies for the upcoming year. By working together to look at how to move the needle in their specific territories, the sales and marketing teams developed comprehensive plans and developed value pitches for the Ingram/Cisco partnership.

When was the last time you heard about that happening?

When we were first looking for examples of “smarketing” from the Ingram team, I was looking for just one story. But several came through the door! The Ingram team teaches us all a valuable lesson – if partners could change their mindset to come together with sales teams (and vice versa), we can develop powerful and salient discussions that can lead to bigger discussions.

Here are a few of my favorite “smarketing” opportunities:

  • Marketing can ensure sales teams are aware of upcoming marketing events and activities to integrate into year-long planning
  • Sales can ensure marketing hears directly what is deemed important for their regions and how marketing can play a role in their partners being successful this year.

Cisco has also made marketing easier than ever with new product design, simpler brand language, and improved marketing support through Marketing Velocity and Partner Marketing Central.

Not a partner yet? Learn why you should reconsider and become a Cisco partner today.

Questions or Comments? Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or leave a comment below.


Nancy Jo Thomas

Global Partner Director