Over the next few weeks, Cisco partners will be focusing on a final sales push before the end of Cisco’s fiscal year. The level of intensity during this time is unrivaled with any other month throughout the year. Yet in this process, it is critical that Cisco partners have the right resources at their fingertips to ensure that they finish strong.
We recently sat down with Dan Forbes, Senior Director of Field Sales at SYNNEX Comstor, to talk about how partners can leverage a distributor relationship to ensure success in selling Cisco. Forbes tells us that many times Cisco partners do not think of their distribution partners until it’s time to place an order. But for partners looking for a smooth and strong finish to the fiscal year, they must keep the distribution partner in the loop.
“July has always been a very busy month for Cisco, and we tend to see things that don’t really occur at any other point throughout the year,” Forbes told us. “Oftentimes, deals materialize, and opportunities are created that we didn’t see on the horizon.”
While these deals may seem to be a “surprise” to the distribution teams, it often isn’t a surprise to the partner that is selling the Cisco solution. “In reality, the deals have been in the making for some time, but the partner hasn’t yet communicated it to the distribution team.”
Forbes suggests that Cisco partners really work hand-in-hand with their distribution partners, especially during this time of year when deals are closed quickly. “We have a lot of rigor around tracking opportunities, tracking deals, and reporting back to Cisco,” Forbes said. “With partners that bring us into the process early on, we help track and ensure that the deal goes through, seldom running into any issues. On the other hand, last-minute orders require scrambling.”
Forbes offers a few best practices to ensure that partners are the most successful during these last few busy weeks:
Open the communication lines early. As an opportunity arises, get in touch with your distribution partner and notify them of the possibility. They can work with you to track the deal, identify financing, and more. “The orders that arrive on Friday at 4:30 on the last day of the month that no one was expecting or had forecasted is where we run into problems,” Forbes said. There is a sudden rush to book it in the next 30 minutes, and while it can get done, Forbes knows that these situations can be avoided if the communication lines are open earlier.
Connect with inside sales and outside sales reps. Forbes stressed the importance of connecting with the various distribution team members. “Communicate with the SYNNEX Comstor team. Make sure your inside rep and outside rep are aware of the deals you are tracking even if the chance of closing is small.” Forbes said that this allows the distribution partner to ensure credit availability, look into product assignment, and get ahead of the opportunity so there are better chances of getting the order completed and booked.
Give access to all materials needed for the order. When it’s time to place an order, Forbes advises partners have “a bill of materials they are looking at.” This includes making sure there is access to deal IDs or Cisco special pricing. “Deal IDs are a snapshot of a moment in time, and as things change, our team needs access.” This also ensures that the SYNNEX Comstor team is aware of any overall credit needs.
“It’s important that we give our credit teams a heads up to unusual circumstances,” Forbes told us. “To have a deal come in July that out-sizes the credit capacity allotted for a partner because this partner typically doesn’t have big deals generally or their businesses are more linear across the month requires us to prepare. We want to get organized quickly so that when a PO comes in, there are no issues.”
Put your account manager on speed dial. In nearly every case, Forbes notes that communication is key to getting orders in and finishing out the fiscal year strong. He suggests putting your account reps on speed dial so that you have access to them when you need them. “Most of our field sales teams have a couple of ways to reach them via phone or email. Here at SYNNEX Comstor, we have assigned account management teams, so every account has one or two people dedicated to the account.” Forbes also suggests emailing the team email alias or calling the company switchboard if you don’t know who to reach out to.
With all of this in mind, the SYNNEX Comstor sales team is here to support partners as they make a final push in the next few weeks to close out the end of the Cisco year. “Don’t hesitate to reach out, we are here to help.” Forbes concluded.