Tech vendor enhances offering to partners to fuel small-business growth
Cisco is leaning heavily on its channel partners as it makes an aggressive push to expand its presence in the small-business space.
The Lowdown: At its Partner Summit this week, Cisco unveiled new and enhanced offerings in its partner programs to encourage its channel to sell into a small-business market segment that includes millions of companies and two-thirds of the global GDP.
The Details: The giant tech vendor launched its Cisco Designed for Business brand, which includes a portfolio that aims to give small businesses the products they need at prices they can afford. Among the products in the portfolio are business-focused wireless access points, a new Meraki Go stack, and the new Catalyst 1K switch, an entry point into Cisco’s family of switches for small businesses.
Cisco also is doubling partner investments in the small-business market, improving response times for partners and customers, and giving them immediate access to in-house expertise. A key to this is the Virtual Demand Center, which includes a low- or no-touch sales motion for partners.
Changes to the partner programs include:
> “Perform Plus” incentive: A performance incentive for rewarding partners that focus on small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with a quarterly cash rebate. Next year, Cisco also will increase its investment in partners that show targeted growth but may not be able to earn other incentives.
> “CMSP Express” program: The reworked Cloud and Managed Service Program is aimed at MSPs that sell to small businesses.
> X-Sell: The sales community created by Cisco and partners that includes Cisco training and joint selling to grow small business opportunities is going global.
> Deal registration: Cisco is streamlining the process to speed up approval time for deals under certain sizes, which will enable partners to act more quickly when an opportunity arises.
Background: Cisco is among a large cadre of established tech vendors that are transforming themselves from hardware vendors to companies that sell software and solutions and increasingly rely on recurring revenue. In the process, the company has grown the amount of business it does through partners. According to Cisco officials, the company has seen its channel-generated revenue grow in recent years from about 50% to almost 90%.
The Buzz: “The pace of change and transformation is phenomenal. Businesses of all sizes are struggling to stay relevant, compete for customers, and manage efficiencies,” said Marc Monday, global head of small business at Cisco. “Cisco’s goal is to give small businesses access to the same best-in-class technology capabilities as our enterprise customers, but also balancing with simplicity and usability so the customer can focus on what matters most, growing their business.”
“CDW’s dedicated small-business team has seen great value in providing small-business customers with the dedicated resources and solutions that meet their specific needs,” said Norm Lillis, vice president of small business at CDW. “Today we are thrilled to see Cisco making a similar investment in this space. Cisco’s engagement with our small-business team has improved our customer experience and yielded strong results, and we’re excited to move our partnership forward with an even sharper focus on the market.”
“Choosing Cisco was imperative because of our growth aspirations,” said Wouter Hindriks, IT network manager at Missing Piece. “To grow like we envisioned, we needed a solid foundation. Cisco has enabled us to become a reliable service provider, keep pace with our growth, and remain secure. Because of the breadth of product offerings Cisco has, we know any product will work correctly and play well with all other systems we have.”