Cisco steps on SMB accelerator

Cisco is driving hard to recruit resellers for its SMB Select Partner programme in the Middle East. The programme has now been fully rolled out across EMEA with strong initial take-up from the channel.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  December 13, 2004

Cisco is driving hard to recruit resellers for its SMB Select Partner programme in the Middle East. The programme has now been fully rolled out across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with strong initial take-up from the channel. “We have had almost 500 partners sign up across EMEA in the first 90 days,” said Edzard Overbeek, VP for commercial channels and distribution at Cisco EMEA. “Overall we are aiming at between 2,500 to 3,000 resellers because we believe this number will provide us with sufficient coverage to address the SMB opportunity.” With the small and medium sized business (SMB) sector touted as a strategic growth opportunity for Cisco, partners meeting the SMB Select Partner criteria gain access to tailored support services and financial incentives. The scheme aims to reward local resellers with extensive knowledge of the SMB market. Cisco plans to identify potential SMB customers and feed these qualified leads into its SMB Select Partners “Once leads have been qualified they will be used by the SMB Select Partners who will address the opportunities and can then qualify for rebates through Cisco’s Opportunity Incentive Programme (OIP). It is a solid closed loop marketing model,” continued Overbeek. In the GCC, Cisco is whittling down a list of some 1,200 resellers to identify up to 100 with the necessary skills and reach to drive into the SMB space. Wayne Hull, regional sales manager for Cisco’s commercial lines in the GCC, said: “We expect these 100 resellers to be the focus of the SMB Select programme and once we have identified them we will spend time working with our distributors to make sure the resources are available that help them to tackle the SMB segment.” Cisco’s SMB push provides a platform for local resellers to climb the value-add ladder and turn themselves into trusted suppliers of complete IT solutions to a local customer base. Cisco is broadly defining SMBs as organizations with between 20 and 249 employees. “Partners around the world that have not managed to build value-add offerings have struggled,” continued Hull. “They need to decide whether to value-add on a specific technology or industry. The SMB Select programme can help them build expertise into their skill set with incentive programmes that help finance the investment.” Cisco is taking the SMB message out to the regional channel both through its distribution partners and through events. Extensive online resources offering partner education and detailing solutions tailored to the SMB environment complement these efforts. As Cisco introduces new elements to its channel programme, it is also working hard to keep the partner interaction as simple as possible. “What we’re building right now is an information tool that will start to deliver total business intelligence to the reseller,” explained Overbeek. “At any given time, he or she can look into the system and see exactly what rebates are outstanding and when they are being paid. Elements of this are already in place but now we are looking to deploy a complete dashboard for partners.”

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