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Cisco Opens New SMB Track For Express Specialization Program

Cisco says it is launching the SMB track to take advantage of an estimated $7 billion addressable SMB market that continues to grow.

Cisco Systems has opened a new SMB track within its Express specialization framework that the networking giant says will make partners more relevant to customers and more able to establish long customer relationships that provide strong recurring revenue opportunities.

Cisco is launching the SMB track to take advantage of an estimated $7 billion addressable SMB market that continues to grow, Cisco Senior Director of Global Partner Program Sandra Flinders said in a recent blog post.

Flinders said the SMB track will focus on solutions that "matter most to SMB customers," like collaboration solutions, security, on-premises and cloud networking and data center solutions.

Ben Johnson, CEO of Liberty Technology, a Griffin, Ga., solution provider that works with Cisco in the SMB space, said the vendor has "gone to great lengths to make things more fair to smaller partners," and the new track goes a long way toward making Cisco easier to do business with.

"We've seen first-hand the commitment the sales and partner organizations have to us and to SMB, and my personal prediction is it will be the fastest-growing segment Cisco has," Johnson said. "There's an effort to make Cisco easier to do business with and win back partners, or win new partners, in a very fragmented and sprawling vendor landscape."

Cisco's efforts to simplify programs for smaller partners and the SMB market could be windfall for MSPs, Johnson said. "Ninety percent of SMBs rely on MSPs to make decisions for them around purchasing, if they aren't just setting budget and prescribing solutions SMBs consume," Johnson said.

Helping customers get to the outcomes they're looking for is the key to unlocking discounts, rebates and other rewards in the new SMB track, Flinders wrote.

"As SMB customers work to ensure the continued evolution of their business they are looking for suppliers who can give this ongoing support," Flinders wrote. "The new Express Specialization SMB track will differentiate your business by promoting your segment-specific expertise in the marketplace and build long-term customer to partner relationships, specifically geared toward the cross-architecture expertise customers need."

Discounts, rebates and rewards included in the new SMB track include lead generation, earned market development funds and expanded marketing campaigns. The designation also allows partners that complete the track's training requirements will be Cisco Select Certified partners.

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