Westcon offers Cisco programs platform

Westcon offers Cisco programs platform

Distributor launches a raft of new sales and marketing programs to help resellers skill-up around Cisco suite

Networking distributor, Westcon Group, has launched a new sales and marketing program for Cisco resellers.

OneX is a global program initiative designed to give resellers a range of information and tools to drive solution sales around the Cisco portfolio, Westcon Group chief marketing officer, Duncan Potter, said.

The program has already been rolled out across most of Westcon's global subsidiaries. It is based on skilling up resellers around six buying cycle elements: preparation, sales approach, discovery (identifying a customer's specific problems), solutions design, presentation and implementation.

"Most resellers are strong around solutions design and implementation but they struggle with bringing on staff, training and certifications and making sure they know the other pieces of the solution around Cisco that can add value," Potter said. "Other things they need help with include finding customers, getting their brand into the market and differentiating themselves from others.

"The challenge for us has been developing programs and resources to do that stuff, rather than just giving resellers a quote or service delivery. The latter services are core values of distribution and we have to do those things. OneX allows us to be cleverer about business at a program level, rather than by a product division, and ensures programs are consistent."

OneX is broken into four programs customised for Australian resellers: OneDefence (security), OneVoice (unified communications or UC), OneWave (mobility and wireless) and OneNetworking (core infrastructure and datacentre).

Potter said Westcon had devised similar tools aligned to each program. All, for example, include sales tools around how to sell each product in the Cisco family. These are also tied to pre-sales support, configuration tools and service capabilities.

"We build our own how-to-sell guides for every vendor offered by Westcon. These include things resellers should know, complementary products, questions to put to the customer and a basic product overview," Potter said. "We also allow people to customise these documents and brand them for their own use."

Within each Cisco program, Westcon provides information on complementary vendor products and has partnered with third-party analyst group, Current Analysis, to access papers and guides around vendors and the market. There is also a facility allowing resellers to compare individual Cisco products against rival products.

"It's about making our channel partners more credible than the next sales guy coming in," Potter said.

Other features include lead generation tools covering things such as renewal opportunities.

The distributor will begin beta testing its OneVoice program with five Australian UC resellers from July.

Potter said the OneX programs will be offered free to authorised Westcon partners with a consistent buying history.

"The next stage is incorporating pricing tools," Potter said. Another area of opportunity was utilising social media applications to allow resellers to participate in more channel-oriented discussions. Potter also cited increasing demand from resellers wanting to form relationships with their counterparts worldwide. He attributed the trend to globalisation and the commoditisation of networking infrastructure.

Westcon is also working on extending the programs platform across other brands and will launch Nortel and Check Point equivalents later this year, Potter said.

Westcon was recently recognised as Cisco's Multi-Theatre Partner of the Year, representing the first time a distributor has won such an award.

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