“Software is at the core of how we’re enabling our customers’ digital transformation – and our partners are at the core of how we accelerate and scale with software.” — Vinay Nichani, VP, Worldwide Software Sales at Cisco
There are many factors impacting Cisco customers today. Pre-pandemic, the economy was already shifting to create a subscription-based economy, which changed how to buy and sell. As the digital transformation accelerated in the midst of a pandemic, now more than ever, Cisco customers have changed how they purchase IT solutions. Similarly, it’s time for Cisco distribution and partners to change how these solutions are sold and embrace Software-Led Selling.
Software is becoming a valuable guide at Cisco, as partners and distributors like SYNNEX Comstor help increase revenue and ensure repeat business. And this trend is giving rise to the approach of Software-Led Selling among Cisco partners. “Software-Led Selling is an opportunity for differentiation as we help our customers navigate digital transformation,” explained Kelli Kirwin, Director, Worldwide Software Sales at Cisco.
Kirwin, who will be joined by Vinay Nichani, VP, Worldwide Software Sales at Cisco, will be discussing this trend in an upcoming webinar on August 5, 2020 titled What has Cisco Software Done for Me Lately? To learn more about the webinar, we spoke with Kirwin about some of the key themes and what to expect during the discussion.
Here’s what she had to share:
EDGE360 Editors: Let’s unpack the term “Software-Led Selling.” What does that mean for Cisco partners?
Kelli Kirwin: Software-Led Selling refers to the shift of Cisco’s selling approach to address what customers care about most: Value, visibility, agility, and access to innovation. It moves us away from the “set & forget” mentality into a lifecycle-led, outcome-based exchange. As we migrate away from transactional, point-based solutions, this approach opens the door for our partners to connect in a value-led engagement that our customers have come to expect.
Generally speaking, healthier customer relationships translate into greater success, and that’s why our partners are leading the transition in placing customer success at the heart of everything we do via Software-Led Selling. We need to help all customers to reach their maximum potential, so that in return, the customer’s commitment to invest in Cisco solutions will pay dividends over time. Our customers can and will vote with their wallet. If they see value, they buy. They buy more, they buy big, and if they don’t – they won’t.
And SYNNEX Comstor is reinventing its business to not only provide lifecycle services but also to enable their partners to develop their own lifecycle practices. They will ensure that partners have the support and resources needed so they can effectively lead with outcomes and differentiate their business with their own IP and value-added services. We are excited by this transition and are privileged to work with companies like SYNNEX Comstor that are ready to invest in this direction.
EDGE360 Editors: Tell us about some of the unique components of Cisco’s Software Platform and how they benefit Cisco partners.
Kirwin: The most strategic way to consume across Cisco’s Software Portfolio is via the enterprise agreement (EA). EAs allow our partners to create business value for our customers by giving them the tools and the framework to understand, navigate, and guide the customer to meet these expectations and more. Ultimately, they are the conduit to simplify the customer’s consumption experience and unlock new levels of opportunity by empowering partners to position and profit from their own unique value around the exponential benefits of the Cisco Software portfolio. In turn, this gives the customer the flexibility and operational agility they desire and opens the door for future value-add while creating a stable recurring revenue stream.
We actually offer a series of architecture-based use cases for Cisco’s Software Platform that get partners started on understanding the various ways in which each partner can create their own unique value, based on their strengths and expertise. Risk management, asset management, consumption management, leveraging API’s and the ability to value shift across the portfolio are all opportunities for which the partner can monetize in their software practice.
The Software Platform also allows the partner to sell additional suites at any time during the life of the EA through the co-terming feature. The value a partner can bring to a customer is transformed as they provide new business impact and insights and seamlessly integrate these new, needed features for the customer.
EDGE360 Editors: What teaser would you like to share with EDGE360 readers about what to expect during the webinar?
Kirwin: Selling software has seen a noticeable culture shift in recent years. You have to speak value, you have to defend ROIs, you have to speak about the long-term benefits of software. You can’t just sell a solution and walk away – not in today’s subscription-based economy. Cisco is investing in capabilities to enable partners to lead at scale with these new trends in mind via tools like the EA Management Platform (EAMP). EAMP allows the partner to have autonomy to model deal scenarios after what suits the customer’s needs most comprehensively.
EAMP truly is a game changer as it relates to digitizing and automating the end-to-end partner seller journey. It allows the partner an opportunity to really compete in the marketplace based on the value they bring to the table by converting the customer proposal into a quote in an integrated and automated platform. That’s a very powerful capability to transform the seller and customer experience.
I look forward to digging into the opportunity that comes with this territory during the webinar.
Click here to register for What has Cisco Software Done for Me Lately?