Cluster Learning, a specialist channel-focused provider of Cisco channel training and enablement services, is offering to perform a free skills gap analysis for Cisco partners, so that they can focus their investment where it is most needed and will have most impact.
The UK-based company, which is a both a Cisco Authorised Learning Partner (technical) and Cisco Authorised Business Learning Partner (sales), is offering to send one of its Partner Readiness consultants to any Cisco Partner that wants to make a proper assessment of where the business stands in terms of its current levels of competency in key Cisco solutions. Cluster will subsequently produce a report and recommend a competency development programme that will plan learning and focus resources in the most effective way for the reseller.
Cluster offers end-to-end enablement training resources, covering the entire Cisco curriculum, through scheduled instructor-led courses and tailored solutions using a blend of classroom-based, virtual and online delivery. Cluster has its own dedicated Cisco Labs, equipped with the very latest solutions to provide trainers and delegates with access to the company’s state-of-the art networking, unified communications and collaboration and data centre technologies.
Matthew Hathorn, CEO of Cluster Learning, says that it’s important for Cisco Partners to understand exactly where they are today in terms of their market readiness: “Cisco is developing its technologies all the time and putting additional resources into driving key technologies such as unified communications and ‘smart’ business solutions. For Cisco Partners, keeping up with the latest advances is vital, not only to maintaining their accreditation status, but also to achieving a competitive edge. They need to know where they are now, where they need to be, and how they can exploit the next version of technology.”
It is increasingly important for partners to focus on outcomes, says Hathorn. “Training is not about simply ‘ticking the box’ to achieve accredited status and access to promotions and rebates. While all of that’s important, it’s vital to focus on the ultimate objective, which is to increase sales performance and win more business. That means going beyond the exam-pass and developing deeper skills that make individuals more effective so and making a positive impact on business performance for both partners and customers.”
The free skills gap analysis will be offered to Cisco Partners on a discretionary basis, but Hathorn says that no reasonable request will be turned down. “We genuinely believe that we can help Cisco Partners to become more effective and achieve more. The skills gap analysis enables us to demonstrate our own ability and understanding of Cisco technologies, and our ability to help partners become more competent and capable in selling and delivering those solutions.”
As well as courses covering the Cisco Learning curriculum, Cluster offers a range of soft skills courses on subjects such as effective executive communication and pipeline management. It is developing for a series of Cisco videos that will show delegates not only how they can achieve sales accreditation, but also how to identify opportunities and sell architecture-based solutions to business decision makers.
Cluster Learning is a fully accredited Cisco Business Learning Partner and develops all of its own partner enablement course materials. Earlier this year Cisco approved 27 of Cluster’s sales courses for its EASE promotion, which offers partners Cisco funded training for sales teams.