Sales and marketing key to partner success, Cisco says

Customer relationships

Cisco said the key for partner success is greater collaboration between a company's sales and marketing teams, combined with better use of software to help it happen.

"More than half (57%) of purchase decisions are made before a supplier is called, and that 67% of customers’ journeys are done online. Traditional sales and marketing just can’t compete with the digital first preferences of customers," Michelle Chiantera, vice president of Global Partner Marketing at Cisco wrote in a blog.

"Companies that blend tighter alignment to their sales and marketing efforts are also experiencing more success throughout the funnel. Digital is changing everything," she continued. "Marketing is no longer just the noise maker trying to get customer attention, just like sales is no longer seen as closing the deal."

To help partners realise this vision, the company focussed on providing the tools to help marketing and sales teams collaborate better for overall success.

Chiantera explained how Cisco's ENGAGE Marketing Suite is putting digital experience first, replacing the traditional route of bringing onboard more customers. It comprises Educate, connecting partners to training, experts and best practices using Marketing Velocity and Enable, which uses Partner Central Marketing to ensure partners are using the training they learnt in the Educate partition.

Cisco described ENGAGE as the "digital handbook" to help partners get on board with digital sales and marketing practices.

Other notable announcements at Cisco's Partner Summit were the launch of new incentive schemes including Qvidian RFP tool to reduce RFP response times by 30%, Collaboration SaaS VIP to help boost software based revenues and Security Account Breakaway Offer, which will improve profit margins on security offerings.

"I can’t tell you how excited I am about the continued investments we’re making into our partners, and, how passionate you are about leading with Cisco," Nirav Sheth, senior director, Global Partner Organization Solutions, Architectures & Engineering at Cisco said. "We will continue to accomplish great things together as our customers go ‘digital’.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.