I have been involved in some way with Cisco resellers – as a founder or investor – since around 1995. It was about then that I recommended that LanSwitch/Voyager adopt Cisco as it’s main product for resale rather than 3Com.
There are a variety of options in terms of the type of reseller that you are. Broadly speaking these range from resellers that are focussed on
” shifting ” ( Cisco ) box’s to those that are focussed on delivering ” advanced ” services e.g. consultancy.
When LanSwitch first started out it was very much focussed on selling ” box’s ” – to be precise 3Com LAN switches. Even then we had added some
” services ” around the basic offering e.g. baselining and maintenance.
By the time we adopted Cisco we had a fairly well established set of services.
With Cisco there is a seemingly never ending number of accreditations to get which normally include having so many qualified people. The permutations of these qualified people get ever more complex, and the variations of types of qualified people increase all the time. There is a definate cost to getting and maintaining these people and accreditations.
Over the years I have seen Cisco do many sorts of ” analysis ” of their resellers as someone comes up with another way of looking at them.
From Cisco’s perspective it is substantially about ” shifting box’s ” and achieving sales,revenue and profit targets.
They don’t really, deep down, care how you do it as long as you do it !
Cisco’s perspective on a reseller is one view. However another view, that as is as important – arguably more important, is the view of the ” market ” i.e. M&A people and if floated, the stock market.
If they look at your company they will take Cisco accreditations as ” very good but so what ?? “. i.e. there are loads of Gold, Silver and Bronze resellers, what makes your company different from them ??
As one analyst said to me when we were looking to value Voyager ” Are you a box shifter or a value added service provider or reseller ?? “. When I answered that we were a ” Value Added Reseller ” he said ” Really ? – what’s your revenue from box sales relative to your revenue from services ? ” If it was 80/20 Box to Services that was bad. If it was 40 Box to 60 services that was good.
I actually spent a lot of time thinking about differentiators and value drivers at Voyager. The more differentiators and value drivers you have the higher your valuation multiples become. Also you get into ” I actually don’t know how to value that but it sounds good ” territory !!
When I was thinking about this blog I realised that it could easily end up as a book because there was a lot to say in terms of Cisco’s perception of a ” valuable reseller ” and a lot to say about the ” markets ” perception of a valuable business. There would also be something to write on the intersection of Cisco and the markets valuation points.
As I want to talk about another matter I don’t want to delve more deeply into these aspects just yet.
Cisco has a great range of products. You can just about survive selling these products if you wrap a certain amount of services around them ( the achievable margins on Cisco products have fallen dramatically over the years ). To differentiate yourself within the Cisco community and to the ” market ” you need more ” value added ” elements.
Let us now turn to the Six Figure Mentors ( SFM ) / PRO U / Digital Experts Academy ( DEA ) opportunity:
SFM/PROU/DEA offers a range of ” Digital Marketing ” products with Tools, Training, Support and a Community. It is the ” Cisco ” of the Digital Marketing world. Better than that the margins on these products are very high. So, you certainly can build a business focussing on being a reseller of these products. The products are priced from $20 to $20K.
Selling lots of these products is certainly going to get you noticed within SFM/PROU/DEA and if you are really good it is going to get you onto the
( Sales ) Leaders Board.
That is a great opportunity in itself. Essentially you only have to get prospects into the sales funnel at the top through ” sign-ups ” and ” applications ” and the rest is handled by SFM/PROU/DEA internal support and sales staff.
As was pointed out here this is only the first of three opportunities.
I think added value can be implemented here e.g. ” conversion ” from ” sign-up ” to ” application ” relies on the auto-responders doing their job – which to a large extent they do but some people are not convinced by these and additional ” personal sales intervention ” may be required.
We know that once you understand ” the system ” it can be applied to other products and services that you might wish to sell e.g. within our team Sandra and Adelaide want to use the system to market and sell new Callanetics products.
You don’t just need to know the system but also how to make a range of products and services suitable for marketing and sales by the system.
There is added value here.
Finally, the main target of the SFM/PROU/DEA products and services is individuals ( probably of a certain demographic type ). In our view the products and services can be used by individuals and businesses – probably SMB’s as a particular target.
Tailoring ” the system ” to a businesses needs is certainly an added value capability. Here you are acting as an ” integrator ” – using the SFM/PROU/DEA products and services and integrating them into a new or existing businesses Marketing and Sales operation.
You are acting as a high-end Internet/Digital/Social Media Marketing/Web Development Consultant and Integrator.
This is what The Centripetal Network is .
Becoming part of the Centripetal Network is like becoming part of a Global Systems Integrator ( in Cisco terms ). You are a member of SFM/PROU/DEA – which in itself is a fabulous thing. You probably run a Digital Experts Academy in e.g. Washington D.C. or The Gold Coast. You use ” the system ” to sell other products and services e.g. Callanetics but also you are part of a Global Digital Marketing Integrator that uses the system to boost other businesses Internet Presence Return on Investment. You help them to get more traffic, leads and orders – and therefore money – for their businesses.
One of the main advantages of this is that Centripetal Consulting is a ” business ” in it’s own right to anyone looking at it from a ” market ” perspective. It is a business owned by you and us. It is a ” Value Added Integrator ” . It can be sold or floated in the future and the shareholders will be you and us.
Now it is not ” easy ” to build a Global Digital Marketing Integrator and exit from it ( trade sale ) or float it but it is possible. Chris. Michael and I bring with us the experience to do this.