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In addition to achieving the needed certifications and specializations, failure to fully capitalize on Cisco's incentive programs, such as the Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP) and the Value Incentive Program (VIP), can cause partners to leave money on the table.
"We show the partner how to leverage these types of programs, rebates, certifications, and specializations," Tech Data's Beltz said. "It's an easy, conversational tool that provides the partner with a visually appealing way to plan their strategy and understand the expectations."
In addition to the tool, partners work with the Cisco-dedicated account managers to further refine their strategies.
"Sometimes, we find that partners have done a good job with products and technical certification and training, but it stops there," she added. "So we help them with the sales training aspect, too. The overall objective is to shorten the cycle of time to profitability."
Growth objectives are also established so that progress can be quantified.
"It's about getting the answers upfront so we can address the larger architectural and business practice questions downrange," said Stephen Tessitore, Tech Data's partner enablement marketing manager. "We customize their personal account plan and come to an agreement with the partner on how they will expand their business."
Since the program was instituted two years ago, Tech Data and its partners have executed roughly 2,000 account plans, according to Tech Data.
"It costs us nothing to use this," added Avilez of Alphaserve Technologies. "It gives us a clear road map for how to get to where we want to be, what steps need to be taken and what roles need to be filled. It makes our life a lot easier."
The tool also gets high marks from John Spiridigliozzi, COO of Infinit Technology Solutions, a DeWitt, N.Y.-based integrator.
"We use it for planning purposes relative to engineers and time, as well as with staffing needs necessary to extend our position into the data center," he said. "The assistance helps us to better utilize our resources, which saves money. And then leveraging the appropriate certifications and specializations helps us to generate money."