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Connect, Recognize, and Motivate: Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX) 2012, Part Two

January 31, 2013 at 8:44 am PST

In my previous blog post I discussed the format of GSX (Cisco’s annual global sales meeting) and tactics deployed to listen to, engage with, and motivate the audience. In this blog post I am going to dive into new approaches we took to enable peer networking and team appreciation.

Enabling meaningful networking and recognition for attendees at any event is challenging, but in the hybrid format of GSX, this task is exponentially harder. This year, a number of new tactics were deployed to address these challenges.

Peer Networking
A new networking tool called ‘Make Connections’ was created exclusively for use at GSX. This tool was available on desktops and mobile devices. Using a variety of criteria such as market segment expertise, technology interests, job roles, and sales recognition status, attendees were able to control how they were found, as well as what they were looking for in a network connection. Once a match was made, attendees could add individuals to their personal network, chat with connections one-to-one, and make notes about the connection. After the event, attendees could download their network for reference and/or import it into a contact management tool such as Outlook. The response was very positive with a 6% increase in year over year “ease of networking” satisfaction score, and utilized by 57% of registered attendees during the event.

Team Recognition
Although we have a robust sales recognition program, every year we hear from the winners and the audience at large that they would like to find a way to recognize the contributions their teams made to their success. So this year we decided to tackle the request head on and deployed a digital engagement called ‘Team Appreciation’. Read More »

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Listen, Inspire and Celebrate: Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX) 2012, Part One

November 5, 2012 at 8:49 am PST

One of the challenges of a globally distributed event such as GSX is tapping into audience emotion and engaging attendees regardless of how they are experiencing the event.

To level set, the GSX format is a unique hybrid experience.  Some of the key format challenges of the event are:

  • Distributed over four days with three waves (one wave per region)
  • In 88 locations and 400+ Cisco conference rooms
  • 75% of the audience attending via remote viewing locations (i.e. watching a projection of the live broadcast)
  • 20% of the audience attending virtually (i.e. via their desktop)
  • 5% of the audience in main broadcast locations (i.e. watching live speakers on stages in one of the four broadcast hubs)

As mentioned, every year we just scratch the surface on the possibilities of the GSX format, and each year we work to fine tune the experience. This year, a variety of tactics were deployed to tackle the opportunities our audience was looking for. They wanted peer networking, the ability to recognize team contributions, inspirational content, and insight into the larger, global audience conversation and activities.

In this post I will talk about the specific tactics deployed during GSX FY13 (calendar 2012) to listen to the audience and leverage the vast amounts of data coming in from the event to showcase real time what the audience was talking about and doing. Let’s dive into the examples… Read More »

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Events Redefined Part II: Cisco’s Global Sales Experience

October 21, 2011 at 9:13 am PST

In the last post I wrote about Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX) I touched on how gamification tactics and the overhaul of the virtual recognition program were critical to the events success. As promised in that post I am going to dive deeper into these two areas to provide additional insight into why the tactics leveraged were so successful. Before I do I thought I would like to share this video featuring some industry experts on the importance of gamification tactics and why GSX is a great case study.

Several elements of GSX leveraged gamification principles to push the envelope on remote engagement. I am going to dive deeper into one of these areas the Architectures Mastery Program of the GSX virtual environment.

Before the event the team did a critical analysis of previous year’s results and engaged the sales force in surveys and focus groups to help us better understand what is working and what is not with the GSX program.

The Architectures Mastery Program was a result of this analysis. What we saw from metrics reporting was that the live architecture sessions attendance was low but the scores were high. What we learned from surveys and focus groups was that the sales force felt that previous architectures courses were too heavy on the ‘marketing’ message and didn’t provide enough insight into the competitive differentiation and the ROI for customers to adopt an architectures approach.

What was surprising was after we researched the training offerings enabled by the Cisco Learning Development and Solutions group it was clear that these types of trainings did exist but adoption had been low. So the opportunity we saw was to raise awareness of these existing training offerings and up-level the attendance of the live GSX architecture sessions. Hence the Architectures Mastery Program was born.

We created a set of criteria’s regarding the course publish date, target audience, global relevance, length and required attendees to pass an assessment for each course. The attendees had a choice of completing five courses from any of the architectures and attending one live architecture session of their choice. This enabled the audience to tailor the program to best meet their needs, i.e. specialists could focus on one architecture and generalists could pick and choose from amongst the architectures. The content was then packaged in a micro-site that clearly outlined the requirements and the attendee progress towards completion. A badge was created that had six individual components and as a requirement step was completed one of the components would change from black and white to full color. Once the entire program was completed the badge was full color and a “higher learning’ achievement was unlocked.

Post event the attendees who completed the program were placed in a drawing for a prize and an email was sent to them, with their manager copied, notifying them they had achieved architectures mastery with a downloadable version of the badge for their internal profiles and email signatures.

The metrics speak for themselves with over 3k learning modules completed and 2% of the audience achieving architectures mastery during the event.

Virtual recognition is tough , especially when being stacked up against a former in person experience were you got to walk across a BIG stage and shake John Chambers hand. However it is not impossible and can actually enable vehicles to recognize contributions at deeper levels since it is not as time and place constrained as in person recognition.

This year GSX was able to ‘crack the code’ on virtual recognition. Read More »

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Events, Redefined

September 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm PST

Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX) just wrapped up and proved to be ground breaking yet again. The idea of a multi-location distributed hybrid event is daunting especially when it covers 90+ global locations in over 400+ conference rooms with 24X7 broadcasting for three days straight. When the audience represents a blend of in person attendees with virtual attendees creating a stimulating and motivating event experience is a challenge.

In the past GSX has risen to the challenge and this year was no exception. This year GSX leveraged rich content driven digital engagements including GSX TV (an on-demand cable network style of short format programming),  Cloud Story (a video rich engagement highlighting the opportunity Cloud represents), A Matter of Time (a role playing game focused on Cisco’s top priorities) and an Architectures Mastery Program (a gathering of the cream of the crop eLearning courses married with live event technical breakouts) and once again demonstrated that when you align your experience with the fundamental goals of your event and listen to your audience you can truly break new ground and disrupt the notion of what the word ‘event’ means.

Of course GSX would not be possible without the depth and breadth of Cisco solutions available to execute it. GSX deploys a vast array of Cisco solutions to create the event experience for example Cisco’s Enterprise Content Delivery System, Digital Media Signage, and TelePresence. Check out the video below to learn more.

Another new element that proved very successful was the Achievements area of the GSX virtual environment. Read More »

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