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Cisco makes big push to increase SMB relevance

Cisco makes big push to increase SMB relevance

SMB Makeover Competition and Linksys integration are part of the vendor's further push into the SMB space

Brand awareness tops Cisco's priority list for the next year

Brand awareness tops Cisco's priority list for the next year

Cisco believes many SMBs are still not knowledgeable enough of its solutions for the market and is making brand awareness top of its priority list for the next year.

Cisco head of SMB, Sarah Adams, said the vendor has experienced double-digit growth in SMB over the last three years.

“We launched a new certification program last year that is tailored for SMB and we’ve had 200 new partners certified since then,” she said.

But Cisco and its partners needed to continue lifting their understanding of how SMBs are using technology, Adams said. To help push things along the networking vendor’s SMB Makeover Competition, which was run for the first time last year and invited SMBs to describe an ideal communications set-up, is on again this year. The vendor received 1000 entries in the first competition and picked nine winners. Each received $50,000 worth of Cisco technology.

“There is still limited awareness among SMBs about us,” Cisco head of SMB marketing, Jo Lanzarone, said. “We’re still seen as enterprise-oriented – this program is designed to build our relevance for SMBs.”

Following the competition, five to six per cent of entrants had subsequently shown interest in upgrading their systems, Lanzarone said.

Cisco has also integrated its Linksys and Cisco channel programs as of August 1, a move Adams said will clear some confusion in its SMB channel.

“We’ve combined channel partner programs, R&D on a global level and moved the sales team over. We’d found there was confusion in the market around who to talk to, and when to approach Linksys or when to approach Cisco,” she said.

- Matt Sainsbury attended Cisco Networkers as a guest of Cisco.


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