If you attended this year’s Partner Summit, live or virtually, you might have heard Wendy Bahr talk about the need for Cisco and our partners to focus more on our customers’ business outcomes and own the opportunity together. At face value, it sounds simple. What she’s really talking about is an evolutionary change in how we, the entire partner ecosystem, work with customers going forward.

For many years, Cisco and its resellers have done a really good job of selling products and services to IT (when IT has a budget). We deeply understand the networking, collaboration, data center and security problems that IT is trying to solve. And together, with our resellers, we have the best sales engine in the world to close these deals. However customers want to buy outcomes, not products. This is especially evident in digital transformation projects where the key buyers are line of business (LOB) stakeholders who can help create new budgets. LOBs care about solving business problems – such as increasing retail revenue – which require using a different approach. It calls for a “customer-in” approach, which I cover in my February 2017 blog. In order to be successful with a customer-in approach, we need to “sell higher” to the LOB. Selling higher is just one example of how our selling motions are evolving, along with customer lifecycle and industry expertise.

Changing Our Sales Motions – Selling Higher

In our Partner Summit 2017 Impact Session presentation “You’re the Key: The Secret to Unlocking Budget by Selling Higher to the LOB and C-Suite,” Michelle Chiantera, Andres Sintes and I discussed how we can help our various partners accelerate growth by selling higher to LOB. We did this by covering 3 key topics:

  • Michelle began by sharing compelling new data-driven research that can empower resellers to convince their management team to change their motions by targeting LOB, not just IT. In fact, Cisco’s latest profitability study shows that our most profitable partners are selling solutions to LOB two times more often than our typical reseller partners.
  • Andres Sintes covered the digital industry solutions that Cisco is prioritizing and driving for LOB and C-Suite decision makers in 13 industries including Transportation, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Financial Services, Utilities, Oil and Gas, Retail and Hospitality. I also shared how Cisco and our partners are expanding our opportunities in each industry by engaging new ISVs and DSIs in the broader Cisco partner ecosystem. To see one example of how this partnership is helping customers, at the bottom of this blog you can see the Local Measure case study video. You can browse these partners in our Ecosystem Partner Locator tool (SalesConnect login required), or see the full partner list at http://marketplace.cisco.com.
  • Lastly, we wrapped up by sharing how Cisco is enabling resellers to evolve their sales motions to win more business with LOBs, with our Ecosystem Sales Acceleration resources (SalesConnect login required) including Ecosystem Partner events and last-mile sales execution plays—like our Ecosystem Sales Blitzes and ACES @Scale—and an Industry Transformation Partner Guide. These partner sales resources help resellers connect to and engage with relevant ecosystem partners (who have trusted LOB relationships and vertical expertise) to go after more deals together.

As Chris Dedicoat said in his Partner Summit keynote, “no one company alone can drive this huge digitization. You have to do it as an ecosystem.” By blending an ecosystem partner’s vertical solution and LOB expertise, with your IT and consulting expertise, and Cisco’s horizontal technologies, together we can achieve the best business and IT results for the customer.

Let us know if selling higher is working for you, and be sure to share your customer-in win stories with us! (SalesConnect login required)