In addition to breaking down the silos between marketing and sales teams, Cisco Tuesday urged partners to evolve their marketing strategies in other ways, such as selling to line-of-business and other non-IT executives, and adapting their customer conversations to do that.
"Every conversation I have with customers these days, they want us to talk to them in their vernacular. It's not, tell me about their collaboration technology, [or] tell me about your data center technology," said Bruce Klein, senior vice president, Worldwide Partner Organization at Cisco. "It's about, 'Tell me how you are going to help improve the productivity of my organization.'"
To nudge partners toward these new conversations, Cisco in August introduced its Business Value Practioner partner certification, which helps partners map Cisco technology to specific business outcomes, and then communicate those outcomes to partners. Last month, Cisco made its Business Value Practioner certification a requirement for Gold-level partners.
Finally, Klein suggested partners develop internal marketing and sales teams that are focused on select vertical markets like health care or retail, to ensure, again, that they are selling customer-specific outcomes, rather than just technology.
Klein said Cisco's recently launched Solution Partner Program, designed to host Cisco technology and ISV partners, is intended to help partners bulk up this vertical expertise. The idea is that these ISVs and vendor partners will develop industry-specific solutions and applications, certified to work with Cisco technology, to be sold through the Cisco channel. Cisco is building an online marketplace to help solution providers find and team up with these third-party vendors.
PUBLISHED MAY 6, 2014