Now’s the time to write the next chapter

If you’ve been working in tech for as long as I have, you know that nothing stays the same for long. Cisco has always been a part of that change.  We have now entered the new era of digital business and Cisco wants to help partners navigate the changing customer landscape. But to be successful, we are all going to have to evolve the way we sell.

That’s why I was excited to share new details at Cisco’s Partner Summit this year. I wanted to help tell the story of how we can all drive digital business for our customers. A big part of that is how Cisco is reinventing the network with The Network. Intuitive, embracing a multi-cloud world, all while making sure security is part of everything we do.

To kick off this conversation, Chuck Robbins and David Goeckeler gave us the game plan and showed how we can all OWN the opportunity together.

That was a tough act to follow. But my job was to share how our partners can use Cisco’s innovation, enablement, and partner go-to-market strategies to unlock the $2.1 trillion opportunity in digital business that’s out there.

Here’s what I told them:

We don’t succeed until our customers do

The single most important change is a change in perspective. We got comfortable with companies telling us what they needed, and then selling it to them. Now we have evolved to focus on customer challenges and the business outcomes that customers require.  This way we develop solutions we know will work.

Find new ways to sell

Focusing on our customers’ business outcomes is a powerful change in perspective. If we are really driven to help customers succeed, then we need to evolve our selling motions.

Lifecycle selling leads to customer satisfaction, profitability

We need to help customers at every point in the lifecycle. We usually focus on landing the deal, but now, with greater software capabilities, we need to get those assets activated, adopted, expanded and renewed. Customer Success helps you ensure customers fully adopt the products and services they buy from you, expand their utilization and gain maximum value and their desired business outcomes. Recurring revenue is earned when the customer lifecycle is managed end-to-end from land to adopt/expand to renew and refresh.

By effectively engaging with customers through the full lifecycle, partners are empowered to retain customers for life. I shared some powerful stats showing dramatic results in implementing a Customer Success practice. Learn more in Scott Brown’s blog, The Customer Success Imperative: It’s a Race Against Time.

Adapting our Go-To-Market

Strategically, a good place to pitch our solutions is to the line of business. In other words, the people with new projects and budget to harness the power of digital. We can help these customers’ bridge-the-gap between the business needs and the IT department’s requirements. We call this Customer-In Selling and we’ve made thousands of introductions between resellers and ecosystem partners, including ISVs, digital solution integrators and others.

These relationships open doors to new buyers with money to spend. We’ve already delivered buzz-worthy results and find that our most successful resellers are three times more profitable selling solutions with ecosystem partners.

Build deeper relationships

Because selling isn’t just deals and money. It’s about building strong relationships and understanding the unique industry dynamics of our customers. Many of you are already doing so by adding industry expertise, getting relevant industry certifications, and delivering industry-specific solutions. And when you win glowing testimonials and deliver textbook case studies, we want to make sure you get the recognition you deserve.

That’s why we have a new value exchange to recognize your industry expertise – one more way we can tip our hats to your investment and achievements both with Cisco’s sellers and with customers. This new recognition is part of the broader partner programs evolution introduced here at Partner Summit.

Accelerating and rewarding partner success with programs

You are going to be excited to see how we have listened to your feedback.  Cisco’s newest partner program offerings fall into three categories – build and recognize capabilities, incent to refresh, and move to lifecycle and recurring revenue.  There is a lot of ground to cover here and you can find details in Marc Surplus’ new blog, Accelerating and Rewarding Partner Success with Programs.

Helping you succeed

By addressing the needs of our customers, amazing opportunities for growth and profitability are possible. But no one company can do it alone.  If you are a reseller or a partner looking to evolve, we can help.

Start by visiting Partner with Cisco where you can explore:

  • Building a lifecycle selling practice cisco.com/go/successhub
  • Industry Solutions Partner Guide which includes:
    • Industry quick sell guides and webinars
    • Customer-In Selling
    • New Ecosystem Partner Locator
    • Partner Sales Acceleration best practices
    • Accelerating Cisco Ecosystem Sales (ACES)
    • Partner Success Stories
    • Marketing resources to drive demand

Let’s OWN the opportunity together.