Partner feedback is at the core of everything we do at Cisco.
Talking with partners is one of the best parts of my job. Over the last few months, I’ve been traveling across the Americas attending a number of partner events – Commercial Channel Advisory Board (CCAB), Partner Operations Advisory Board (POAB), Cisco Live, our own Cisco Partner Executive Exchanges (CPEE) in Latin America and US, and much more. So far this year, I have had the pleasure of spending one on one time with more than 400 partner executives.
I get the greatest ideas on how partners and Cisco can truly innovate and deliver powerful digital business outcomes for our customers when I spend time with our partners. This is so powerful! I share this invaluable feedback with the Americas, Global Partner, Business Unit, Operations and Sales leadership teams at Cisco. Net/net – our partners deliver more than 90% of our solutions and their voices need to be heard and factored into everything thing we do.
So, what’s the “word on the street”?
Partners want to build adoption practices
Partners are very interested in learning about how to build a Software Adoption Practice. This is great news. We recently redesigned Cisco’s Americas Partner Organization (APO) with a new Recurring Revenue Center of Excellence – led by Connie Dimitroff. Connie and her team are maniacally focused on fully enabling our team and our partners to sell software – and even more important – driving adoption and expansion.
Let’s face it, over the years, Cisco and partner sellers have been excellent at “Landing” deals. Now, we all need to build new muscle memory that helps us “land” differently as we incorporate services to drive Adoption, Expansion and, of course, Renewals (LAER). Yes – I’m sorry – but we have a new acronym. However, I couldn’t be more excited about the work we’re doing to drive enablement here, and we’re also building exciting incentives for Cisco FY18 designed to reward those partners who are most successful at driving adoption.
Impact Workshops are a huge hit!
At Partner Summit last November, I announced Impact Workshops based on feedback from partners during in my travels in FY16 . Many partners pointed out to me that their sellers needed to improve their “Customer-In” selling capabilities – specifically, how to leverage the Cisco partner ecosystem, how to sell to theline of business buyer, and how to develop real business outcomes. We worked with a handful of learning partners to develop this Cisco training, and the feedback it overwhelmingly positive. The sellers are raving that it’s the best training they’ve had in years, and that it has opened their eyes to new ways to approach a sale.
I love hearing this feedback! By the way, the numbers are equally supportive of the qualitative feedback – the average scores are 4.8 on a 5.0 scale. We’re also projected to train more than 1,500 partner sellers in twelve months – beyond our goal of 1,000! Wow!
Continue to work with your Partner Account Manager to learn more about how you can participate. We are also starting to think about Impact 2.0 open to your ideas here!
High interest levels in security
Partners are now embracing our position as having the most robust and complete security portfolio in the market. Partners are investing heavily in training their sellers and sales engineers in security, and it’s paying dividends for these partners. Security products and services are driving the greatest profit margins for the partners we talk to ‘on the street.’
It’s also further validated in our annual Partner Profitability Survey conducted by Global Touch. The survey results clearly illustrates that our most profitable partners lead with security, and that their gross margins are, on average, an astounding 45% higher.
In Chuck Robbin’s opening keynote at CiscoLive 2017, he discussed the strategic importance of security in our business, and assured the 20,000 plus customers in attendance about our ongoing commitment to be the leading security player in the market – because our customers expect this from Cisco. I’m excited the Cisco partner community is embracing our portfolio, and FY18 will be chock full of enablement around security and incentives to drive partner profitability.
Apple and Cisco
Partners have been asking me, “How’s the relationship with Apple going?“ My answer: It’s going great and it’s very real, as evidenced by Tim Cook and Chuck talking it up on stage.
— Chuck Robbins (@ChuckRobbins) June 26, 2017
They gave some great examples of how enterprises see such huge value in IOS with a fast lane for Wi-Fi. In addition, the C-suite will find great comfort with the enhanced security features that are a part of the Apple and Cisco roadmap. They even talked about Apple and Cisco teaming up to push for cyber security insurance discounts. Pretty cool!
These are highlights I’ve captured after talking with our partners. We can’t emphasize enough how important our partners’ feedback is for our mutual success and for driving customer outcomes going forward.
If you missed me on the road, please leave your feedback or commentary in the comment section below so we can capture your insights.
Finally, if you want to learn more about how we can help you in these areas, reach out to your PAM or SE, or check out our partner tools.
Thanks and great partnering!