Looking to drive more global sales opportunities, Cisco has put together a new go-to-market program to facilitate partner-to-partner collaboration worldwide.
Unveiled at the vendor’s Channel Exchange event in Lisbon, Portugal, the Global Resale Agent model allows a host partner to locate an agent partner from another geography to provide customer installation services on their behalf.
Under the structure, the host partner registers a deal via Cisco’s Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP) program, then secures an agent via the vendor's new Web 2.0 collaboration portal, Cisco Partner Exchange. The terms and conditions of their agreement will be based around Cisco’s framework, policies and guidelines.
The host partner will receive the deal registration benefits, while the agent partner will be entitled to rebates related to the transaction and products installed for each deal.
Senior vice-president, worldwide channels, Keith Goodwin, said the program stemmed from a combination of globalisation and increased collaboration between partners. Partners will need to have at least Premier status to participate.
“Globalisation is a significant opportunity for Cisco and partners. Customer are looking to drive growth outside of their own country and are going multinational,” he said. “We need to evolve our channel to support partners dealing with that.”
Goodwin cited a recent channel report undertaken by Illuminas Research of Cisco certified partners, which found 40 per cent are already working in collaboration with another partner to extend geographic reach or skills set. This collaboration generated 31 per cent of channel revenue, the report claimed. It also found Cisco partners worked with an average of eight other partners regularly.
“Global Resale Agent allows us to extend territory and national partners to a multinational level and anywhere the customer opportunity is,” Goodwin said. “We’re enabling partners go after new business and also allowing customers to look at themselves as global companies.”
Goodwin disagreed Global Resale Agent could create bidding wars between agents looking to secure a host partner’s business because of the value- and trust-based nature of collaboration. He added local Cisco teams would work with both sides to ensure the best partners were chosen for a deal.
Cisco has piloted Global Resale Agent with 79 organisations globally and claims to have 3000-4000 new customer leads waiting to be addressed. The vendor identified 225 partners for the new go-to-market model initially but expects thousands to sign up.
Cisco senior director of technology go-to-market, Alex Thurber, said the vendor also established a governance committee of services executives to oversee the program as well as internal and channel compensation.
Sales director for Australian-based Cisco partner Kytec, Ben Donaldson, said the program was about formalising a partnering process the vendor was already actively driving. But while Kytec often works with other partners, it more interested in expanding its own staff and capabilities internationally.
“Our plans are to go global and we have a strategy to launch in China or India in 2010,” he said. “It’s glass hall-full and opportunistic, so it’ll be an ad-hoc thing… but realistically to become a global business, you have to invest in the economy you’re trying to work in.”
The latest go-to-market initiative is part of Cisco’s broader plan to foster a collaborative channel community using Web 2.0 and WebEx technology, Goodwin said. Along with its Partner Exchange portal, which is being used by over 1000 partners globally, he highlighted the new Partner Connect environment designed to help the channel better collaborate with Cisco’s team on specific areas like account development and accelerating deals.
Other initiatives include Cisco’s Virtual Expert portal, which allows partners to virtually access technology resources, as well as its Web 2.0-based talent portal. Partners are also increasing collaborating through its application solutions initiative, Industry Solutions Partner Network, Goodwin claimed.
“Ten years ago, the significance of the channel was in terms of revenue generation… you had the Cisco sales force creating demand and the partners fulfilling that created demand,” he said. “We have come a long way since then… today it’s our partners are creating demand and delivering value.”
- Nadia Cameron travelled to Lisbon as a guest of Cisco.