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Cisco test drives greater sales and marketing alignment

MONTREAL – One central theme at Cisco Partner Summit 2015 that washeld here this week is tighter alignment between the sales and marketing organizations, with the goal of a more shared responsibility for revenue growth. Toward that end, Cisco purposefully scheduled, for the first time, Cisco Marketing Velocity and Cisco Partner Summit back to back.

According to Sherri Liebo, vice president of global marketing at Cisco, all Velocity attendees were expected to spend time at Partner Summit. For many Velocity attendees, this is their first time attending Partner Summit.

That was the case for Josie Smoot, director of marketing and communications at Iron Bow Technologies ofChantilly, Va., who has attended three Marketing Velocity events. She said that by attending Partner Summit with salespeople from Iron Bow she’ll get to hear what they hear and will gain more insight into the department she supports.

As far as attending Marketing Velocity, she said, “As a small organization we can learn a lot from Cisco — what works and what doesn’t work — and at the same time we got a lot of validation for the things that we’re already doing.”

Karen Walker, interim chief marketing officer (CMO) at Cisco, talked at the Marketing Velocity event about the digitization of marketing, how sales has changed driven by how customers shop for and buy products, and how marketers need to move away from outbound marketing to inbound marketing to boost sales revenue. In doing so, she was passing along marketing strategies to partners that are used at Cisco.

Revenue marketing, in particular — where marketing is responsible for driving a net-new sales pipeline –is already happening at Cisco, Walker noted.

Angela Beltz, vice president of the Cisco Solutions Group, AIS Division, at Tech Data Corp., who attended Marketing Velocity with Michelle Curtis, manager for Cisco strategy for the same group at Tech Data, said that Cisco’s revenue marketing translates into collaboration between sales and marketing on how to go to market, how they do demand generation and how they manage the pipeline and funnel.

“Cisco is a leader in revenue marketing methodology for the past couple of years, transforming how we look at marketing,” Beltz said.

She also noted that traditionally, attendees at Marketing Velocity aren’t the same people who attend Partner Summit. “Now, not only will marketers get the forward-thinking marketing piece but they’ll also get the solutions and technical strategy [and] the selling piece of Cisco as well,” she added.

Beltz and Curtis will take back to Tech Data what they learn at Marketing Velocity and the strategic information is also shared with Tech Data partners. “Our partners may not have all the resources to invest in marketing so we help them do that,” Beltz said.