With just weeks to go until Cisco Partner Velocity, its annual partner marketing extravaganza (this year in Cannes, France), Cisco Systems Inc. has named Sherri Liebo its new vice president of global partner marketing.
Liebo, an eight-year veteran at Cisco, picks up the role Amanda Jobbins left last August, ultimately landing as CMO for The Sage Group, PLC out of her native U.K. Jobbins herself held the job a relatively short time, taking on the role after longtime Cisco partner marketing veep Luanne Tierney left for rival Juniper Networks in early 2011.
“I very much wanted [the partner marketing leadership role] because I have such a passion for our partners, and I’m happy to be building on all the great work my predecessors did in this role,” Liebo said.
Her background suggests the networking vendor is taking its efforts to push partners towards more services seriously. Prior to taking this role, she headed up marketing for the company’s $10 billion (U.S.)-a-year services business, and led the development and launch of Cisco Smart Care, aimed at increasing services opportunities for partners with the company’s growing SMB business.
“Cisco knows their partners really value their services organization – you need someone who really gets that business model, and choosing me for this role is an acknowledgement of that,” Liebo said.
So aside from getting to know her new digs in the Worldwide Partner organization at Cisco, what are Liebo’s top priorities as she joins the new group? The executive outlines three.
The first is the Velocity event, just two weeks away.
“Velocity is a really unique opportunity, focused on the science and art of marketing as a peer group, it’s really a unique thing,” Liebo said.
Liebo said this year’s events will focus on “the journey of marketing,” and particularly with the role of marketing in partnering with sales and developing the idea of “revenue marketing.”
“In the old days, marketing used to be about the brochure, but now we’re talking about revenue marketing and building pipeline where sales doesn’t have coverage,” she said.
That intersection of sales and marketing is also, in and of itself, a priority for Liebo. She said this increased harmony is an opportunity for marketing “to make a difference in the business that marketing professionals couldn’t 15 or 20 years ago.”
Her third priority is to more closely synchronize partners’ marketing efforts with Cisco’s own, particularly in the managed services and cloud marketplaces. Liebo said the company has already made a practice of doing joint marketing with its service provider customers, but that’s something she’s looking to build upon with the broader array of Cisco’s partners.
“We believe in a world of many clouds, and any enterprise may use the any number of cloud options,” she said. “This is a team when it really is an ecosystem of partners.”
Based on her early feedback from solution providers, getting synched up shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. She said she’s already heard a lot of interest from Cisco partners in attaching their message to the company’s new “Internet of Everything” brand campaign.
The week before being publicly introduced into her new role, Liebo was introduced to partners in attendance at the company’s North American Partner Executive Exchange in Jacksonville, Fla., giving her a kick start to reconnecting or meeting with the company’s top channel partners. She said her job there was to do a lot of listening, and that’s going to continue to be a big part of her job description for the foreseeable future.
She said partners can expect her to listen to them, to stay the course that Cisco partner marketing has been on in recent years, and to “focus on how we can amplify the impact” of Cisco partners with their customers.