After years of discussing a potential partnership, Cisco and D&H Distributing have finally made the jump. The two companies announced a major distribution agreement Monday that makes D&H a primary ally in the networking giant's recent push toward the small and midsize business (SMB) market. Under the agreement, D&H will carry and promote Cisco's SMB-focused products to its reseller community. The partnership looks to provide benefits to both companies; Cisco now has another entry point to the SMB market, and D&H acquires a market-leading vendor to bolster its own business.
"What probably made no sense 18 months ago now makes perfect sense," says John DiLullo, vice president of worldwide distribution at Cisco. "There's very little overlap between the customer segment of D&H and the reseller communities of our other distributors."
Michael Schwab, vice president of purchasing at D&H, says Cisco's SMB strategy matches up well with the distributor's focus. Schwab adds that the Cisco partnership could be one of the most important vendor alliances D&H has ever made.
"Cisco's up there with Microsoft and Intel," he says. "This is a very meaningful relationship, and we want to continue doing business with Cisco as long as we're in the market."
The D&H agreement is yet another sign that Cisco is serious about upping its sales in the lower end of the market. In the past 18 months, the networking company has made a number of efforts to boost SMB sales. Last summer, it launched 30 SMB-related products while doubling its marketing budget for the market segment. In addition, the company created an SMB support-services organization, an SMB leasing program and a deal-registration program, dubbed Opportunity Incentive Program, which, according to Cisco, currently has 8,000 registered deals worth more than $1 billion.