Cisco has pledged to invest heavily to tighten up a channel sales bookings programme that can leave distributors having to wait unnecessarily to fulfil orders.
Four years ago the Channel Booking Neutrality (CBN) scheme was introduced to prevent account managers from favouring directly served partners. Prior to this, Cisco in-house sales staff would be rewarded instantly for orders from partners with whom Cisco dealt direct, but would have to wait for compensation until the product was shipped in cases where the reseller bought through distribution.
This sometimes led to account managers booking sales with directly served partners who "were not invested in the deal" in order to meet weekly, monthly or quarterly quotas, according to Bruce Klein, senior vice president of Cisco's worldwide partner organisation. CBN stamped out this problem by allowing Cisco sales reps to gain instant recognition for deals with two-tier partners.
But CBN has brought its own challenges, as distributors cannot book deals to be fulfilled from their existing inventory, but rather have to place a new shipment order with Cisco and wait for delivery. Klein told CRN that he intends to eliminate the need for CBN by the end of 2014 by tooling up back-office systems to allow all deals and rewards to be processed as quickly as possible.
"We are starting to work on this now," he added. "We have to put the capability into our tools to implement a system whereby, whether an order is one or two tier, partners and sales reps get rewarded sooner and customers get their equipment sooner, so everybody wins."
Klein stressed the importance of these investments by pointing out that about 40 per cent of Cisco's global revenue comes through its distribution partners.
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