Cisco Sweetens Cloud Services Reseller Program

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Cisco announced Tuesday enhancements to its Cloud Services Reseller program targeted at boosting demand for Cisco-powered cloud services by providing greater sales incentives to channel partners and Cisco’s own direct sales team.

The changes, which go into effect in August, were announced at the Cisco Partner Summit in Boston.

Chief among the changes to the program, which was first introduced in spring 2011, is a new policy compensating Cisco direct sales teams for sales of Cisco-powered cloud services by Cisco partners. This change alone eliminates the disincentive for direct sales teams to steer partners toward recommending premises-based solutions. Not only will cloud sales retire quotas for direct sales, but Cisco will pay more 30 percent more  and double on Hosted Collaboration Services (HCS). (Note: This compensation comes from Cisco, not the service provider.)

This move was designed to change the psychology of the enterprise sales force to work collaboratively with partners in selling Cisco-powered cloud services, explained Jeff Spagnola, vice president of global cloud go-to-market for Cisco, in a press briefing.

That obstacle removed, Cisco has added a number of incentives to its partners. For example, it is including Cloud Services Resellers to its Value Incentive Program, which rewards partners that focus their practices on technologies that are part of Cisco’s architectures around collaboration, data center, borderless networks, cloud and managed services.

Similarly, they will be included in a Cisco Rewards Program that allows resellers to earn points toward a catalog of items, including individual prizes and go-to-market assets, including learning credits.

Cloud resellers also will be able to use the “Cisco-Powered” branding as part of their marketing when they are paired with qualified Cisco Cloud Providers.

In addition to these incentives, Cisco is providing partners with a Cloud Resource Center, an online self-service portal with access to go-to-market tools and assets, including a marketplace of about 350 Cisco-Powered cloud providers and their capabilities.

To qualify for the program, partners must be registered Cisco partners and have a valid sales contract with a Cisco cloud-service provider. Partners also must have an individual on staff to manage the relationship with that provider. Cisco is not involved in the contractual relationship between providers and partners. 

Spagnola said Cisco has made a conscious decision not to be a cloud-services provider and instead to enable the cloud supply-and-demand ecosystem. To further support that goal, Cisco is using its sizable marketing machine to create brand awareness and accelerate demand for Cisco-powered cloud services sold through partners.

Its a win for providers and the reseller community,” said Steve Benevenuto, senior director of global partner programs for Cisco. He added that the new program is one way for channel partners to transition for legacy business models to hybrid IT” models that include CPE and managed/cloud services.

We know that not every partner will stand up a cloud service and not every partner should,” said Edison Peres, senior vice president of worldwide channels, in his keynote remarks announcing the program. With all of the Cisco-powered services in the marketplace and the accelerated customer demand, the time is now for all of you, at a minimum, to resell cloud. We need you to be skilled at selling cloud at the same time as you are selling [premises solutions]. Dont stand on the side. Dont be afraid. Embrace it. No, drive it. Make it a strategic agenda.”

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