Cisco tells channel partners to own the story

MONTREAL – One day before the start of the Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Summit, the networking giant host marketing professionals from more than 110 channel organizations at its Velocity conference.

Sherri Liebo, the Vice President of Segment Marketing for Cisco Services, told an audience of channel marketing professionals that marketing is the last sector to be industrialized but the first to be digitized. Her advice for this brand new world is be agile, flexible, make sure to have a purpose, but the most important aspect is to “own your own story.”

For example those who use the popular social media tool Twitter get twice as many sales leads than those who don’t. And, social media has a 100 per cent higher lead-to-close rate, she said.

Liebo cited a use case from the Arizona Cardinals Stadium of the NFL. Cisco channel partner CDW approach the Cardinals in a new way. CDW thought about what the business problem could be for owning a stadium and how to entice a football fan or the casual sports fan from leaving their comfortable recliner at home featuring WiFi, surround sound and big screen and pay money to watch the game inside the stadium.

With others talked about wiring and other technical specifications for a stadium, CDW explored the actual in-game experience with the Cardinals. After successfully winning the deal and implementing the solution for the team, CDW shared the story on LinkedIn and that story got reposted 622 times.

This is what Liebo means by owning the story.

“This is not about building awareness, but building a pipeline,” she said.

“We live in an always-on, real-time marketing environment. It’s not about campaign planning for the next quarter anymore. The focal point is what am I doing differently in the next hour.”

Karen Walker, the interim CMO of Cisco, said the channel should begin a journey towards revenue marketing. According to Walker, 60 per cent of purchases are now based on an enterprises reputation and not their product. This is a big change in the B2B world, Walker said.

She has found that 57 per cent of purchases decisions have been completed before the customer calls the supplier today, while 67 per cent of that journey is done digitally.

Walker said: “The customer owns their journey. Their business is digital; is yours?”

By 2020, Walker estimates that 75 per cent of all business will be digital.

This stat indicates to her that traditional B2B marketing no longer exists. “You are now marketing to a human being and this means dealing with a person differently than before,” she added.

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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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