Cisco Systems Managing The Go To Market Evolution Case Solution

Category: Market, Microeconomics
Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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  • Cisco Systems: Managing the Go-to-Market Evolution
  • How has the market for switches and routers evolved since 1995? How has Cisco adapted to that evolution?
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Switches and routers are integral components of the modern day networks. Therefore, despite a brief lull in the demands during the telecom and dot-com crash of April 2001, the market of switches and routers has consistently on the rise. Cisco has been a leader in switches and routers in the past. With the growing demand in the market Cisco not only strengthened its marketing channels by way of reengineering the channels, but entered into strategic tie-ups with other partners as well.

  • What are the one or two admirable aspects of Cisco's go-to-market evolution? What are the one or two weaknesses?

Admirable aspects of Cisco’s go-to-market evolution:

  1. It minutely analysed the different segments in the market. This evolution worked by envisioning five tier of customers depending upon the opportunity they provided to the company. This helped the company in serving each tier differently depending upon the unique requirements for each tier.
  2. Adding complexity to the go-to-market pyramid helped Cisco in applying corporate push into adjacent markets

Weaknesses of the go-to-market evolution include;

  1. Some of the markets appeared to come in direct conflict with the existing marketing channels. For example
  1. Given your analysis of question #2 above, how would you evaluate Cisco's go-to-market strategy in the VOIP Telephony market? What challenges would Cisco have to overcome in order to succeed in this channel?

The VoIP market in general is known to be a market having high growth potential. The VoIP segment had quite distinct channels of marketing. While the VoIP market had the potential of generating derived demands for Cisco’s core products, the go-to-market strategy resulted in somewhat deceleration of growth.

  1. What is your reaction to the "Pyramid" model advanced in Figure 1? Is there an alternative evolutionary model that Cisco should adopt?

The Pyramid model appeared to provide a comprehensive edge in the marketing efforts. The segmentation on micro scale not only provided comfort to the marketing team, but it also helped the strategists to prepare well focused strategies targeting each layer of pyramid in a different manner.

  1. Hearts on Fire - Brand Development Manager
  1. What should HOF do? Why?

HOF seems to have created an identity for itself as a reliable brand taking good care of the 4 Cs i.e. quality and value addition in cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. But somehow the company is not able to realize its fullest potential. Therefore, the company requires undertaking marketing in right earnest. In addition to reaching out to the retailers, the marketing will include marketing the brand identity to prospective as well as the existing customers. It is worthwhile here to note that diamonds hold a unique prestige with it; therefore, the existing customers would prove to be good brand ambassadors for the company in the long run. In these competitive times a company will have to update its strategies in line with the strategies undertaken by the competitors.

  1. What is the role of the BD function? What, therefore, must s/he do internally at HOF? Who would you hire as a BDM - profile the person?

Brand Development has a very crucial role in widening the market base for the products and sustaining the achievements for long. Brand development is different from marketing in many aspects. While on the one hand BD includes creating a distinctive identity for the product by way of highlighting the product differentiation, on the other it includes informing and educating the customers about the distinctive features of the product. It is worth emphasizing here that establishing a brand equity calls for sustained efforts not only from the BDM, but all stakeholders in the business.

The BDM must therefore;

First be fully aware about the distinctive product features from HOF and the importance of creating the brand identity.

  • Be aware of the roles of everybody in the department. It implies that the role of an accounts manager is equally important.
  • Take note of the marketing campaigns undertaken by competing companies
  • Must set up short term as well as long-term targets for himself/ herself and the company
  • Chalk out a plan with comprehensive inputs from customers, retailers, and fellow workers

Profile of a prospective BDM includes;

  • S/he can inspire the team of marketing professionals with innovative ideas
  • Can work in close coordination with the marketing/sales team,
  • Can take regular inputs from retail partners, who happen to be the interface between a large number of customers and the company
  • Has an eye for details, which in turn helps him/her in foreseeing the emerging market scenario in near future
  • Good interpersonal communication skills so that s/he can take along other people in the chain
  1. Given the choice, where would you put the incremental $1-2 million in this company: advertising? More sales people? Sales training? Promotional dollars to retailers? Product line augmentation? BD? Why?

Given the choice I’ll make use of the resources towards establishing a lasting relationship with the customers. This will be done by way of undertaking marketing communication campaigns and efforts to establishing brand development. Sustained marketing campaigns helps in influencing the buying behavior of a borderline undecided customer. The sales people happen to be the key elements in reaching out to the customers, therefore training them would also be one of the strategies in this effort. The existing tagline of the company, ‘As the world’s most perfectly cut diamond’, also requires to be made more contemporary.

  1. How should the BDMs be compensated? (Bonus tied to what kinds of metrics?)

BDM can certainly not be compensated based on the sales volumes. At the same time it is worth pointing out here that the existing system of payments to the BDMs includes 70 to 80 percent costs incurred on travels. Well, if a BDM is undertaking so much travel then what is the role of marketing people? Instead of undertaking many tours, the BDMs must learn to take inputs from the marketing team/s. The BDMs must be compensated for the kind of buzz they are able to create about the product in the market. It is in no way related to actual sales. If the customer starts feels valued by being associated with the products from HOF, that would be success for BDM.

  1. Who should manage the BD function? Who should manage individual BDMs?

BD is a unique job requiring more of strategic job then field job, therefore BD must be management by a senior level manager. Each BDM should directly report to the senior level manager, because at times the BDM is required to undertake unconventional tasks calling for fast decision making process. If BDM keeps waiting for the long chain to take the decision, that would imply loss of valuable time and opportunity.

  1. What are the main hurdles standing in the way of effective demand generation? What should Claereboudt and Gruenewald do to overcome these hurdles and build the demand generation engine they're trying to build?

Main hurdles in the way of effective demand generation are;

  • Rapid pace of advancements taking place in the fields of IT and telephony
  • Competition from local as well as international markets
  • Lengthy process of sales and setting up of the projects

Claereboudt and Gruenewald can overcome these hurdles by;

  • Keeping a tab on the latest technology and making use of forecasting techniques to assess the demand for particular products and services.
  • Entering into strategic tie-ups at local as well as international levels
  • Simplifying the process of sales and acquisition of orders
  1. What do you make of the "gap" that Charlie Ill talks about on p. 10 of the case? What gives rise to this gap? Is this gap inevitable? What are some of the implications of this gap?

The ‘gap’ here implies that the leads received from marketing are not getting translated into actual sales. This gap arises because of two main reasons. First, the lack of coordination between marketing and sales teams and second, because of some deficiencies in the marketing campaigns being undertaken by the respective teams, which results in faulty leads. If this gap is allowed to continue this way, it has the potential of widening in the near future, which in turn might result in negative impact on the overall sales of the company.

  1. What is the objective of Marketing? What is the objective of Sales? How do we ensure that these objectives are aligned and reinforcing?

Objective of marketing is to generate an interest for the products and services amongst the prospective as well as existing customers. Objective of sales is to carry out actual sale purchase of the products and services. Both these objectives can be aligned to work towards the overall objective of the company if there is regular interaction amongst the teams and there’s someone responsible to oversee and coordinate both the operations.

  1. Once you come up with a plan for aligning Sales ; Marketing, think about how you might implement your plan in Avaya's markets

Implementation of the alignment plan for sales and marketing would include;

  • Undertaking the marketing efforts with regular feedback to the sales team
  • Following the leads jointly and in case of a faulty lead, making at least one more attempt to convince the customer
  • Arranging a brainstorming session with sales and marketing professional
  1. HubSpot: Inbound Marketing and Web 2.0
  1. Do you agree that the "rules of marketing" have changed? If so, how? Is inbound marketing the answer? Why or why not?

Indeed, rules of marketing have changed. With e-commerce and m-commerce making a distinctive mark, now the marketing campaigns are to be devised in such a manner that the customer can be convinced even by electronic means. Intense competition is another factor which has made the customer in a commanding and demanding position vis-à-vis the producers and manufacturers. Inbound marketing certainly offers a solution as it calls upon the marketing team to devise inviting messages so that the customer gets attracted towards the product. But, relying solely on the inbound marketing would not help the company in establishing itself in the market.

  1. Is HubSpot finding and serving the right set of customers? Given its position as a start-up company, should it widen its focus to serve any customer that comes its way? Or narrow it, say by focusing exclusively on either B2B or B2C customers? Or exclusively on either Owner Ollies or Marketer Marys?

HobSpot has been enticing the customers through the same method which it advocates i.e. by means of inbound marketing. These customers have approached the company only after going through the messages on the internet. Therefore, the company is finding those sets of customers which have some idea about the profile and abilities of the company, which certainly helps the company in closing the deals in successful manner. As a start-up company, it will be better for HubSpot if it consolidates the existing customer base and creates an identity for itself, instead of going after more customers and creating an unmanageable situation.

  1. HubSpot has begun to differentiate its products as it has learned more about its customers. Should its pricing strategy change too? Does the software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model work for both Marketer Marys and Owner Ollies? Should HubSpot try to immediately capture more value for either of these customers?

Pricing strategy depends not only upon the profile of existing customers, but it also depends upon the level of competition prevailing in the market. As a start-up company HubSpot will have to rely more on penetrative pricing strategy. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) appearing to be resulting in some customers leaving after the first purchase, but it must not be forgotten that such customers happen to be satisfied customers and NOT unsatisfied one’s.

Therefore, such customers are bound to be influenced by the abilities of the company and in future they may turn back for some upgrades. This pricing model therefore has been serving the purpose well and needs to be continued. Any effort to hike the prices or change the pricing strategy might adversely impact the fortunes of the company in the long run.

  1. Are Halligan and Shah being too stubborn by not doing any outbound marketing? Or should they continue to practice what they preach by focusing on inbound marketing alone?

A mix of inbound and outbound marketing certainly has the potential of inviting more attention amongst the prospective customers. Supplementing the existing inbound marketing efforts with traditional marketing efforts would certainly help the company in creating brand awareness on a sustained basis.

  1. Halligan and Shah want HubSpot to be to marketing, what is to sales. What would your plan of action be to make this happen? Why would you take these actions? What keeps you up at night about your plan?

Halligan and Shah too want that HubSpot should dominate the lead generation and analysis of the customer funnel. The plan of action would be;

  • To create a brand identity for itself
  • Widen the customer base and increase the number of satisfied customers
  • Take cues from emerging scenarios to regularly update the business model and strategies

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Cisco Systems Managing The Go To Market Evolution Case Solution. (2018, Jan 19). Retrieved from

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