With Cisco products represented by a reported 1800 businesses across Australia, the vendor's Inside Sales manager, Bart Mascorella, certainly has his work cut out. According to Mascorella, the implementation of Cisco's nascent Inside Sales program is aimed at encouraging smaller resellers to make the most of Cisco products through improved sales and technical support.
"The program allows partners to build their sales skills as they pertain to their markets. We are not just going to go out there with product and solutions skills, or basic product training. We are trying to add more volume to the smaller resellers so they can really begin to see results from selling Cisco," explained Mascorella.
"These are often the guys selling into SMEs and that is an area where we are starting to see some real growth. We want to help our smaller partners capture that market."Cisco's Inside Sales group manager for the Asia-Pacific region, Larry McManus, is conducting a whirlwind tour of Australia, meeting with regional sales managers and monitoring the progress of the Inside Sales approach to channel partners.
According to McManus: "About five years ago Cisco Systems started to develop what we call an Inside Sales organisation and it has really started to take off in the US."The three-tier channel program replaces Cisco's former two-tier channel organisation. According to McManus, the structure allows Cisco to identify areas where the vendor's training and accreditation programs might be of assistance.
Smaller resellers represent the third tier of the Inside Sales organisation and will receive many of the training and development benefits of the program.
The program covers sales and marketing as well as technical training. McManus explained that Cisco's success was closely tied in with the skills base of the reseller channel.
"We need more resellers that have the expertise to install specific applications like broadband cable networks for example. We do very little of that ourselves and we want that to go through the channel so it can benefit from Cisco's growth. We needed a mechanism to develop and encourage these skills in the reseller channel."While Cisco is encouraging channel players to develop and broaden their skill base, the company is well aware of the importance of vertical markets and specialist skills to smaller resellers.
"We understand how difficult it is for the smaller operators to have an in-depth knowledge of a range of different industries. We are encouraging the third tier to get deeply involved in vertical markets and get to know those markets intimately," Mascorella said.