Last Saturday, I spent a few hours scouring department stores for “that just right pair of black flat shoes” needed for an upcoming networking event.  On the third stop, there was a large sign reading “Buy One – Get One Half Off”. Now, I didn’t NEED two new pairs of shoes, but after finding those black flats and a pair of sandals, you would have been hard pressed convincing me otherwise. And when I saw the same offer on workout socks, I felt like I had won the shoe shopping lottery!

A great sales promotion is designed to get you in the door, capture your attention, make you feel you’re getting an incredible deal and, if all goes well, compel you to buy more product or services than you originally planned. The optimal situation is where the customer feels they got the best end of the bargain and so does the seller. It’s a win-win for everyone.  This is the recipe for repeat business and increased loyalty.

So what could possibly go wrong?

Sales Manager: “We’re losing $1.00 on every unit we sell!”

Sales Rep: ”That’s okay! We’ll make it up in volume.”

Sadly, this scenario often plays out as a result of a poorly designed sales promotion.

Sometimes businesses go a little too far to entice customers. They discount too deeply resulting in a loss for the company, run out of product or sell poor quality services or products to undercut the competition.  In the end, all of these lead to poor customer satisfaction and almost certainly a loss of sustainable business.

There is a fine art to developing and leveraging sales promotions to grow your business and achieving long-term viability. Well-designed sales promotions balance the offer to the customer with the return for the company. It can take years of trial and error to get it right, but once a company discovers the optimal promotional mix, they typically stick with what works and leverage the same formula in modified ways for future success.

At Cisco, we’ve used our years of experience to fine tune our promotional offerings to better serve our partners and customers.  Although we like to mix things up and keep things interesting, we have learned what promotions will result in an optimal return for our partners, delight the customers and increase sales for our entire ecosystem. Learning how to leverage these offers is a partner best practice that can help drive incremental growth and differentiate your business in the market.

Fast Track Promotions are tried and true discounts offered through our distributors on some of our most popular products sold to small and medium sized businesses. No need to request a discount – we automatically discount these products for you, saving time to market and giving you an immediate competitive edge.

Getting the best price from Cisco is only a piece of the formula for success for our partners. Partner Plus partners can also leverage the exclusive resources available to them like Virtual Engineering, Partner Plus Incentives and Customer Intelligence. Make sure you are investing those incentive dollars back into your business. Call the virtual engineers to build out that next bill of materials or jump on the phone with you and your customers.

Make a practice of using customer intelligence to gain more insights on your prospects and shorten your sales cycle.   All of these resources and much more are highlighted in a new series of very short video snippets around a partner plus sales rep named “Stan”. In the videos, you can learn how Stan is introduced to Cisco Partner Plus and learns to leverage all the Partner Plus assets to grow his business and he even gets to attend a special incentive trip called “Winners Circle”.

Bottom line, it is up to you to take advantage of the promotions and other offerings available at Cisco. Once you understand how to leverage all these resources and integrate them as a consistent element of your go to market strategy, you’ll see the impact through incremental bookings, sustained growth and increased customer loyalty.  The result will be a win:win scenario for you and your customers.


Karin Surber

Sr. Global Business Development Manager

Global Partner Strategy and Planning