As IT buying decisions shift from traditional technology purchasers to managers in discrete business groups, solution providers are increasingly asked to explain their offerings in less technical and more business-focused terms.
The shift toward line-of-business technology sales is the impetus behind new series of certifications from Cisco Systems Inc. that aims to elevate partners’ ability to engage in higher-value, more structured and business-relevant conversations when pitching their services.
The networking vendor this week rolled out three new Business Transformation Certifications for solution providers looking to move beyond simple transactional technology sales toward the selling of solutions that solve key business issues related to automation, cost reduction, innovation and transformation, and offer clear financial outcomes.
The new Cisco certifications include: Cisco Transformative Architecture Specialist; Cisco Business Value Specialist; and Cisco Certified Business Value Practitioner. The certs are offered tracks for transformative architecture and business value.
“Customers are making purchase decisions based on integrated business solutions that provide competitive advantage, drive growth and enable their long-term strategic initiatives,” said Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager for Learning@Cisco. “To accelerate results, we are shifting our sales approach from an IT hardware emphasis toward one centered on architecture and solutions.
“Individuals need to understand and develop sales and engagement models with a stronger focus on customer business leadership,” said Beliveau-Dunn. At Cisco, we are committed to delivering the certification programs that afford learners with the skills and knowledge to keep up with evolving practices, and their employers with unrivaled value.”
Alan Sturgess, consultancy practice technology leader at U.K. IT services firm Computacenter in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, said the heightened emphasis on business outcomes in the new Cisco certifications has helped his firm build strong relationships with clients.
“Cisco Business Transformation training provided a consolidated methodology for understanding business goals and translating them into technology roadmaps,” Sturgess said. “This allowed us to address both the immediate and future business needs of the customer.
“The techniques covered can be leveraged whenever engineers or consultants are engaged with the customer,” Sturgess added. “Most technology deployments, large or small, are generally driven by an underpinning business outcome. From my perspective, these techniques can only enhance the customer experience.”
Training for the new Cisco certifications is available now through Cisco Learning Partners and tests are being administered by the vendor’s test delivery partner, Pearson VUE.