Archives For juniper

If you sell, you should be reading Wall Street…that is, if you want to call on decision makers.  This morning’s article on Cisco is important information if you resell Cisco, especially when your clients start asking, “Should we stay with Cisco?”  Statements like:

  • …shares languishing at 1998 levels
  • …the company’s problems run much deeper than a few disappointing quarters
  • …a byzantine management structure
  • Mr. Chambers…seems to be repeating mistakes.

These are tough accusations.  In Rolfe Winkler’s article he notes that most of Cisco’s revenue comes from core networking, and Juniper is taking market share.  Is the product bad?  I don’t think so – core networking is a commodity business and Cisco has been the long standing champion and has delivered strong networking technology – still does.  I can’t comment on the reasons why market share is slipping – perhaps Wall Street has a good handle on this.  However, my video recorded just about one hear ago – The History of the Channel stands out in all of this.  The reseller must have a value proposition that does more than point to a vendor’s product.  Recent Cisco acquisitions and their move away from security over the past decade (which I see is starting to rekindle) have put resellers in competition with their other vendors (like HP), but have not given them discontinuous innovation to take to market (such as Unified Communications eleven years ago).  This has placed the Cisco resellers in the middle of Geoffrey Moore’s Technology Adoption Life-Cycle, where margins are at their nadir, and competition – it’s zenith.  What is the solution?

Your value proposition must proceed the product sale.  Helping clients solve business problems is a business level sale.  Technology is used to help solve the problem, but only after the theory has been sold.  None of this depends on a vendor brand…their brand “stamps” stability on the solution once that phase of the project comes into play.  So what should resellers be selling?  Risk mitigation, ROI, Efficiency, competitive advantage…the same 4 things I’ve been writing about for years.  It’s your brand that matters at the start of the sale, and your position as an adviser will largely determine which product gets the budget.

I’d love to hear your comments on this article!

© 2011, David Stelzl

Advertisements

Lots of channel talk out there…Juniper is revamping reseller training online to address complaints from their channel, Fortinet coming out with an MSSP program, probably in response to the SMB and midmarket growth in managed services offerings – of course all of the AV companies out there are doing this or headed that way, and numerous comments on the CRN forums concerning whether partners should be exclusive or committed to one vendor in a given area.  The problem with just about all of the programs out there is this: Vendors are not always addressing the root problem – resellers need more GP (Gross Profit).  This won’t come through install services, and increasing product sales doesn’t necessarily mean more GP either.  Sales must come earlier in the sales cycle with shorter sales cycles driven by high touch solutions, consulting, and low cost of sales in terms of people resources.  So what do channel managers need to do?

  • Understand the reseller profit model – it’s nothing like the vendor’s…
  • Provide sales training that focuses on selling, not speeds and feeds
  • Help resellers build your technology into solutions that drag other product areas within that reseller
  • Learn about marketing and help/support VAR marketing efforts
  • Clarify how deals are protected from direct reps and competition
  • Don’t over distribute which hurts the street price
  • Remember that GP is what matters – not revenue.