Cisco to Partners: 'We Will Enable You With Campaigns'

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Cisco Systems Inc. last week held its first-ever Twitter chat with its new vice president of global partner marketing, Amanda Jobbins, as it rolls out its $75 million "Partner Led" strategy.

Partner Led relies on VARs, dealers and other partners, rather than direct salespeople, to identify and close sales, particularly in markets such as the SMB sector where Cisco, as a rule, has not been competitive. Jobbins is overseeing the marketing support functions for Partner Led, and, in the first of many Twitter chats to come, talked about key priorities and strategies she's pursuing for 2012.

During that Q&A session, Jobbins said partners can expect a cloud campaign and possibly campaigns on the data deluge and device proliferation. Cisco plans to create the messaging and then help partners with co-marketing funds "to ensure they align marketing with Cisco's campaigns," Jobbins Tweeted.

Cisco further will help partners by teaching them about social media, how to create campaigns, and how to assess business models for potential changes, for example. Jobbins said partners told her on a recent listening tour that's the kind of help they need from Cisco. The company "will be creating programs and revamping existing ones based on feedback, so stay tuned," she Tweeted last week. She did hint at one of those retools — Cisco will relaunch Partner Communities, where partners can collaborate, in January.

"Look 4 simplified experience & better ways to network w/fellow partners," Jobbins wrote in a Tweet.

Cisco turned to the Partner Led approach earlier this year after failing to meet Wall Street's expectations. The company is laying off thousands of employees worldwide and cutting costs, but, as a result, is ramping up its focus on indirect channel partners. 

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