Cisco Integrates Small-Business Channel Partner Programs

The vendor folds its Linksys program into its own channel partner program in what officials say will create a more efficient, single point-of-contact for VARs. The combined program will have more than 50,000 channel partners.

August 13, 2008

Al Senia

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In a move that was largely expected for more than a year, Cisco is unifying its small-business partner programs by folding the Linksys Small-Business Channel Partner Program into Cisco's own, larger Channel Partner Program.

The move will require an estimated 20,000 Linksys channel partner to sign up by Sept. 16 as Cisco channel partners, which already include an estimated 40,000 resellers. Cisco expects an overlap in the two programs of about 10,000, which means the new, combined program would total more than 50,000 channel members.

Officials said the integration process also includes bringing the Linksys Business Series products into the Cisco SMB product portfolio, an action that will provide Cisco channel partners with access to a more diverse set of solutions.

"The SMB market continues to present tremendous growth potential for Cisco and our channel partners," said Andrew Sage, vice president of small business sales, worldwide channels at Cisco. "We believe that taking a coordinated approach across technology and go-to-market strategies is a natural evolution that brings greater synergies to our customers and channel partners." He added that the move helps Cisco and its partners focus more successfully on the SMB market.

Cisco has been moving toward consolidating the programs and developing a more integrated approach for the SMB space for more than a year. Earlier this summer, the vendor established a Small Business Council to align its SMB strategy and marketing efforts across all functions globally. The council is led by three Cisco veterans: Sue Bostrom, chief marketing officer and executive vice president; Keith Goodwin, the senior vice president of worldwide channels; and Ian Pennell, the senior vice president of the Small Business Technology Group.

The Linksys partners who become Cisco Registered partners by the mid-September deadline gain access to benefits that include demo equipment, financial incentives, sales support through small business market managers, lead generation through the Cisco.com SMB website, and access tomarketing resources such as Cisco Campaign Builder and Cisco Partner Central.

Officials added that Cisco and its Linksys division have developed a phased approach to support the integration effort. Linksys channel partners need to obtain a user identification number and password for Cisco channel program access and a registration form that according to Cisco, takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Related channel partner approvals will be granted within 48 hours of submission, officials added.

 Additional details are avalilable at: www.cisco.com/go/linksyspartner.

TAGS: support,SMB,marketing,Cisco,channel partners

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