Cisco's New VP Of Partner Marketing: Let's 'Attack' Growth Areas Together


Cisco Friday tapped Sherri Liebo as its new vice president of global partner marketing, filling the hole in its channel team that was formed when Amanda Jobbins, Cisco's former vice president of partner marketing, left the company in October.

Karen Walker, senior vice president of marketing at Cisco, had been filling the partner marketing position on an interim basis.

Liebo, whose former position was vice president of marketing for Cisco Services, has been with Cisco since 2005, and she touts more than 20 years of industry experience. Liebo was a driving force behind the development of Cisco's Services business and also of Cisco Smart Services, a software-enabled suite for network monitoring, application management and more.

[Related: Cisco Confirms More Layoffs]

Liebo's services background should mesh well with Cisco partners. According to Cisco's 2012 annual partner survey, Cisco solution providers make 50 percent of their revenue, and 70 percent of their profit, through service offerings.

The networking giant also launched a new partner program last year dedicated to its services business. The program, dubbed the Cisco Services Partner Program, collapsed roughly 50 different global programs into one, and it offers partners performance-based incentives based on the breadth of the Cisco services they provide.

Liebo is heading into her new partner marketing role with a to-do list. Among her goals, she told CRN, is helping partners maintain the momentum they've seen with Cisco's services business over the past year.

Specifically, she said she wants to drive more "as-a-service" and cloud-based offerings through partners and pointed to the suite of hosted management software Cisco came into through its December acquisition of Meraki as an enabler of this.

"Meraki is a great example of the cloud services we could offer through our partners," Liebo said, adding that she also wants to broaden partners' play around cloud-based telepresence and collaboration solutions.

Liebo also wants to help partners build up their marketing arms and pursue opportunities that are largely "untapped" by Cisco and its partners today, such as line-of-business deals and the mid-market.

"We are seeing a lot of growth in the [mid-market] through our partners, and we want to open that up more broadly to our partners and say, 'look we are seeing a lot of growth there. Let's go attack this together.'"

From a line-of-business perspective, Liebo said she wants to help partners take advantage of trends like BYOD and the consumerization of IT, which have shifted a lot of the technology decision-making from IT teams to end users. That said, she said she wants to help partners strike a balance between selling to line-of-business teams and not turning their backs on the relationships they already have with IT managers and CIOs.

"We need to make sure we don't go backwards on our strong relationships with those traditional buyers in IT," Liebo said.

Liebo said in her new role she will report to both Bruce Klein, senior vice president of Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization and Karen Walker.

PUBLISHED, MARCH 29