In my February 2018 blog “Are You Talking with the Right Buying Center?” I covered how important it is for Cisco and our partners to engage with a number of other digital stakeholders along with line of business (LOB) stakeholders. These other decision-makers are in multiple buying centers within an organization—such as Risk Management, HR, Marketing, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, DevOps, and Applications—and they own most of the budgets for technology and digital transformation projects. Selling to these new buying centers is one part of engagement. But one of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of engagement is marketing.
With digital engagement becoming increasingly important in the buyer’s journey, it is critical that sales and marketing come together in new ways with unprecedented levels of alignment. After all, we share common goals. We both strive to enhance the customer experience, increase sales, and accelerate the sales cycle. Digital marketing also plays a key role in helping sellers become even more productive. For example, marketing can measure and score customers’ online engagement, determine their “buying intent” about particular solutions, and send those insights to the partner sales teams. This allows partner sales to target the right customers, at the right time, with the right value propositions during sales blitzes, for instance.
At Cisco’s Marketing Velocity conference for partners in Barcelona last month, Karine Elsen and I presented on this topic of “Engaging New Buying Centers.” We examined the new generation of buying centers that we need to engage, the role ecosystem partners (ISVs and boutique systems integrators) play in helping us reach these new buyers, and the value of multi-partner selling and marketing. As an example, we already enable multi-partner marketing through our Cisco “Meet in the Channel” campaigns where we work with our resellers’ marketing teams to drive demand for ecosystem partner solutions. Examples are available on Cisco Partner Marketing Central (Cisco PMC login required).
One key point from conversations in Barcelona and at Cisco Live in Orlando this past week was the valuable role that ecosystem partners provide in bridging the conversations between IT and LOB (and other buying centers). Many Cisco and reseller sales people would say they are not armed to have the right conversations with LOB and have not built trusted relationships with these buying centers. That’s where our ecosystem partners can help. Not only have they built solutions with Cisco that are relevant with the LOB, but they already have trust and credibility with these new buyers. In fact, we’re seeing that resellers who are marketing, selling solutions and orchestrating sales engagements with ecosystem partners are more profitable than typical resellers.
Fortunately, we have a lot of initiatives that help resellers and ecosystem partners connect in order to drive joint marketing and execute last mile sales plays together. Here are some tips and resources to help you get started. For all of these resources, a Cisco SalesConnect login is required:
- Find our ecosystem partners and their solutions using the Ecosystem Partner Locator: http://co/epl
- Get familiar with our Ecosystem Partner Sales Acceleration Plays: http://co/Partner-Acceleration
- Differentiate your marketing with ecosystem partners and Cisco Partner Marketing Central: http://ciscopartnermarketing.com
- Share multi-partner customer-in wins with us: http://cs.co/wins
- Find multi-partner wins: https://cisco.com/open.html?h=PAGE-9741
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