Page 2 of 3
Under the partner-led banner, Cisco partners will see new incentive programs and Cisco resources available over the next few months.
For example, partners that sell to midmarket -- that is, deals that would qualify under Cisco's Partner Led Named category -- will have access to new market development funds (MDF) program that will tie MDF rewards tied to the amount of Cisco revenue a partner produces.
Cisco hasn't decided on the revenue thresholds that will qualify for MDF awards, Sage said, but partners will be able to use those rewards for things like marketing, Cisco training and demo equipment. About 1,000 Cisco partners around the world do a majority of Cisco's midmarket business that would qualify as Partner Led Named. Cisco plans to launch the MDF program in its fiscal second quarter, which starts Nov. 1.
Cisco will also be using a piece of the $75 million for continued investment in Fast Track 2, the program Cisco launched a year ago to streamline transactional sales in the SMB segment by simplifying -- and publishing, on a suggested price list -- the pricing on several high-volume SMB product families sold through distribution. Cisco plans to add more elements to Fast Track 2 later this fall, Sage said.
Another big area of investment will be in partner marketing, Sage said, under the charter of Amanda Jobbins, Cisco's new vice president, worldwide partner marketing. More details are expected from Jobbins' team in the coming weeks, he added.
A fourth area in which Cisco partners will see changes is sales assistance using Cisco engineers. Cisco has had a service called the Technology Solutions Network in place for several years as a way to support its own sales people with easy access to Cisco engineers that can help with technical comparisons, product information and customer requests.
Going forward, said Sage, the Technology Solutions Network (TSN) will be opened as essentially a sales help desk for Cisco partners that sell to the midmarket -- what Sage described as a "pre-sales engineering service" to help partners in competitive situations.
"This is an engineer-to-engineer conversation," Sage said. "What we don't want is for partners to replace their pre-sale capabilities with TSN. We want them to leverage the TSN in the same way our engineers leverage the TSN."
The TSN engineering team is composed of several hundred Cisco engineers, Sage said, managed by Jim Smith, senior director of virtual systems engineering at Cisco. The team will be available to help partners respond to RFPs, do product comparisons among various Cisco products or between Cisco products and those by competitors such as HP and Juniper, create presentations for customer pitches, and other services.
Initially, Cisco won't charge partners for access to TSN and will pilot TSN-based assistance with 300 partners worldwide starting in early November. Down the road, Cisco will charge partners for the service, Sage said.
Next: PRM System and Cisco's Partner 360