Cisco’s channel plan for the mid-market

One of the major announcements at the Cisco Partner Summit Boston this week is networking giants attempt at capturing the mid-market business.

The question on many a mind is could Cisco act as a mid-market vendor. They certainly act very well in enterprise. Its SMB record is still up for debate, however.

From a Canadian perspective would Cisco have a better chance here than any other regions. I really think they do. I spoke to Garth Scully (vice president of mid-market and small business for Cisco Canada) who has just taken over for Gary Isaacs as the subsidiary’s mid-market business leader and he outlined his plan for CDN.

The key aspect to Scully’s plan is that no matter what the deal looks like there will be a channel piece of some kind. I think starting with that base will make Cisco more successful in the Canadian mid-market.

Scully also said that Cisco Canada has about 1,700 named large enterprise accounts and he is working on a way to touch everything underneath that.

There will be two main approaches to capturing mid-market business for Cisco. The first is Partner-Scale and the second is Partner-Led. In Partner-Scale, Cisco will employ mid- market account managers who will be working on 20 to 30 accounts each. The strategy here is that these deals will scale through the channel partners who have a Cisco preference.

Then he has virtual sales account managers that basically work as an inside sales rep. They will have approximately 170 accounts to manage. Scully admitted this will be in a low touch approach. But they too will work with channel partners with a strong Cisco preference. That’s the Partner-Led model.

The next piece will be the unnamed account space and this too will be Partner-Led and there is a program in place currently to encourage this group to become more of Cisco first solution provider. Scully added that this area will also be low touch as there are too many companies to track.

The final part of Scully’s mid-market strategy is the low end and Cisco will use marketing programs that leverage the Cisco brand to get at those customers. Again it will be Partner-Led and he expects most of this business to pass through distributors.

What’s at stake here is an $800 million plus market that Cisco hasn’t played well in the past.

By concentrating on channel partners Cisco is in a better position today to go after the mid-market especially after releasing purpose-built products for customer with 100 employees up to 500.

One quick hit before I go. Former HP Canada senior executive Geoff Kereluik in now working for Bell Canada as its vice-president of sales – Ontario Commercial unit.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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