It’s Simple, but Not Easy.
Cisco has nurtured its partner marketing ecosystem for over a decade now. Cisco has invested in the partner community in ways the other guys never dreamed of. That is, until the competition saw Cisco doing it, ignored it and then later wished they had thought of it first. Yet, most of them are still missing the boat.
So, what makes Cisco’s approach so different from the others? Three things:
1) Making partners better marketers
Cisco has invested heavily over the last decade in the company’s annual Marketing Velocity event for its top partners. The goal? To make partners better at marketing. The important distinction is the event is not focused on helping partners market Cisco products. Though that is most certainly the ultimate result. The company brings in top marketing thought leaders that share best practices and the latest in marketing approaches the partner community can implement to grow their businesses and by extension Cisco sales.
“Building a true partnership is the best investment in time and money a company can make because there’s nothing like the loyalty it creates.”
2) It’s not about the money
Cisco doesn’t provide the most marketing development funds. In fact, the company provides the least in terms of partner funding when compared to other similar companies. Why does this work? Cisco invests in the partners in other ways that are more valuable and high impact. Providing value that partners cannot obtain from other manufacturers helps Cisco stand out. The company has a strategy of constant improvement when it comes to its channel marketing approach. There are always new tools and enhanced support mechanisms that drive real results.
3) Alignment between organizations
Cisco facilitates alignment between partner and Cisco marketing organizations. How? The Cisco partner marketing organization doesn’t think of Cisco first. It works closely with each partner to understand how Cisco can fit into the partner’s business goals instead of the other way around. This unique one-to-one approach that emphasizes partner business goals first makes a world of difference.
To take alignment to the next level, develop a sales and marketing alignment plan that spans both organizations.
Cisco’s focus on helping its channel partners do more with less, become more strategic and institute marketing that works better has paid huge dividends for the company. When considering how to engage partners, think first about what will provide real value beyond marketing development funds. Building a true partnership is the best investment in time and money a company can make because there’s nothing like the loyalty it creates.