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D&H Distributing has a new program for partners interested in starting a Cisco Meraki practice or expanding an existing one.
The “Driven” program for Cisco Meraki provides soup-to-nuts enablement for SMB VARs, including training and certification, promotions, discounts, market development funds (MDF) and a dedicated, self-service Partner Performance Tracker portal.
Cisco Meraki is a cloud-managed solution designed to help VARs in SMB space that might not have the resources to attain one of the more elite Cisco partner tiers that require specific certifications and trainings. More successful Cisco partners focus on a specialization, such as sophisticated wireless or hybrid solutions, the distributor said.
“What’s unique about this program is that we’re helping [partners] to create, develop and execute on a Meraki growth plan,” Peter Gambino, director of Cisco sales at D&H, told us. D&H has seen 75 percent year-over-year growth for Meraki, he noted.
Tied up in a single comprehensive package, Driven offers partners an inclusive program that starts with the Partner Performance Tracker portal, putting all the resources they might need in a single location.
Once signed into the portal, partners can sign up for the Meraki360 training, the Cisco Express Networking Specialization training, certifications, track sales, forecasting, and leads. D&H also offers demo kits and MDF, which are also offered through the portal.
“What’s key here is that it’s all very simple to navigate; there’s nothing for partners to have to figure out,” said Gambino.
The distributor also has three sales associates, a program manager and a Cisco systems engineer dedicated to Driven.
While Cisco has been a D&H technology partner for more than eight years, the distributor created a dedicated Cisco business unit about two years ago. Today, D&H has about 1,000 partners selling Cisco Meraki.
A core focus for Driven is to train new partners on Cisco Meraki. The distributor reports that 10-15 people have been trained on Cisco Meraki weekly for the past four months. The four-hour WebEx sessions are booked two weeks out.
“We’re not having any challenges filling up the training,” Gambino said.
Driven isn’t the first dedicated program offered by D&H, Peter DiMarco, vice president VAR sales at the distributor, told us. Over the last two years, other unique programs include one that targets K-12, and another is the Hewlett Packard Enterprise SMB “Hero” (Heighten and Elevate Revenue Opportunity) program, designed for SMB VARs to grow their HPE practices.
“The theme that we’re really focusing on is to be able to solve problems that our vendors have in the SMB space where they can’t provide the coverage and enablement, so we take on the coverage and channel development,” DiMarco said.
The Cisco Meraki sales opportunity for partners is in multilocation businesses, such as convenience stores, retail or school districts where a big staff isn’t required for IT management. Ideal customers are those with multiple locations looking for wireless that’s easy to install, manage and expand.
There’s also a managed-services opportunity for a Cisco practice.
“More traditional resellers who want to offer managed services such as monitoring the end-customer’s IT environment – the devices, the access points, the wireless infrastructure – that would be step one. Meraki offers a great tool set to help a VAR or MSP scale that approach,” said DiMarco. “At a higher level, as they leverage Meraki and a number of other tool sets, they could manage the entire security profile and security plan for the end customer — things such as identity management [and] traffic management,” he added.