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Cisco Targets Enormous Small Business Segment Opportunity

Partners will be happy to hear Cisco is going after small businesses in a big way.

Lynn Haber

November 7, 2019

4 Min Read
Cisco Targets Enormous Small Business Segment Opportunity

(Pictured above: Cisco’s Marc Monday at Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas, Nov. 6.)

CISCO PARTNER SUMMIT — Cisco on Wednesday announced Designed for Business, its new brand that includes a portfolio of products priced for small business customers that’s easy to buy, manage and support.

The announcement was part of a more overarching development, the introduction to Cisco’s first ever Growth Marketing Organization, headed by Jim Walsh, senior vice president of growth marketing at the company. The new organization is committed to helping all partners own their niche, and from a sales and marketing perspective demonstrate more global alignment and integrated support.


Cisco’s Jim Walsh

“A great example of our integrated segment strategy is our focus on the small business segment,” Walsh told attendees during the morning session, while introducing Cisco Designed for Business. “Small businesses don’t wake up every day thinking about technology. They wake up thinking about how they’re going to drive their business. We have to make it easy for them to connect, compute and collaborate securely.”

Cisco Designed for Business is a big opportunity and one where Cisco has barely scratched the surface.

“Small business is big business; we’re going big in small together,” said Walsh.

Small business creates one-half of the world’s GDP and employs two-thirds of the world’s global workforce.

Cisco will do three things to win with partners in the small business space: Develop market specific technology and offers at the right prices; invest in awareness and demand generation for partners; and enable partners with relevant programs, promotions and incentives.

Cisco’s commitment to small business is to create a frictionless, easy customer and partner experience, the Cisco Designed for Business portfolio, and increased investment in partner programs.

Cisco is committed to sharing best practices through sales plays, which is everything the partner needs to put together in a digital playbook to take a proactive, outcome-based conversation within the C-suite and down throughout the organization, the company said. The sales plays contain architectural use cases which can be used to sell to the traditional IT buying center. Cisco also linked the architectural use cases to industry use cases which can be used to sell to the new buying center, such as line-of-business leaders.

Cisco also created the Virtual Demand Center, providing fast response and support, a low- or no-touch sales motion, and qualified opportunities for partners. Next year, partners will see a Joint Demand Center to enable partner marketing campaigns.

“This is about demystifying Cisco. There’s a perception that big brands can be scary, but there’s virtue in our big brand and there’s virtue in our support, our products and our road map,” said Marc Monday, global head of small business at Cisco.

Demystifying Cisco for small business customers means challenging the perception that the company might be too expensive or too complex.

“We already have a multibillion-dollar small-business business. We need to lean in and continue to deliver that value,” said Monday.

Partners will see Cisco offer …

… the following:

  • The Perform Plus incentive is a new global performance incentive that rewards partners who focus on midsize and small business customers, with a quarterly cash rebate. Cisco also is increasing the investment in partners that demonstrate targeted growth behaviors but may not be able to capitalize on other incentives. This incentive launches late winter or early spring.

  • The CMSP Express Program is a redesigned cloud and managed service program to address managed service providers (MSPs) selling to small-business customers.

  • X-Sell is a sales community created via co-investment with partners. It includes Cisco-led training and joint selling to scale to the small business opportunity. It’s available globally.

Cisco also has streamlined deal registration, accelerating approval time for deals under certain sizes allowing partners to act quickly.

The company’s curated portfolio of products includes new ones specifically designed for small business. Cisco Designed for Business’ new additions include Cisco Business Wireless Access Points, a new Meraki Go full stack and the new Catalyst 1K switch, an entry point to the Catalyst range of switches for small business.

At a time when Cisco is putting heavy emphasis on DevNet, integration and software-driven sales opportunities for partners, this news about going after the small-business market just may turn some heads.

“I look at it from the standpoint that not all of the partners will make the transition to a true enterprise-level, complex, software-driven sale, and if I’m a partner that wants to be more managed services-focused, that implies a midsize or smaller market opportunity,” said Kevin Rhone, channel acceleration practice lead at Enterprise Strategy Group. “From our point of view, partners are being successful with the right business model around managed services. If I’m a partner, I’d see a real business opportunity in servicing that 200- or 100-person company that wants me to take care of all their problems. And, if I can structure my business around sales and marketing 2.0, lead generation, new client acquisitions, minimizing my costs for support, I think it’s a good business opportunity.”

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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