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Building Customers for Life is Core to Cisco’s Digital Transformation


February 20, 2018 - 2 Comments

In previous posts, I’ve shared many aspects of the massive digital transformation we are going through at Cisco. At the heart of this transition is the move toward subscription-based buying models. We can think about this transformation in terms of a defined number of customer journeys we have to solve for.

Central to these is the customer success journey. Customers win with the subscription model, which ensures they get recurring value from their investments. This also enables software providers to maintain ongoing relationships with their customers. This is in turn is rewarded by Wall Street and investors, due to the financial visibility and predictability software providers have into their customers’ spend.

As we evolve Cisco’s customer success journey we tend to think about it in two distinct, yet closely related parts — customer adoption and renewals and expansion. At the core of our customer adoption strategy are Customer Success Managers, trusted Cisco advisors focused on a single outcome — a happy and satisfied customer. The Customer Success Managers are the first point of contact for every customer issue, from deployment, to procurement, to perhaps even sharing some encouragement and sympathy when the customer is having a bad day at work. You can think of the Success Managers as individuals hired by the Cisco or a Cisco partner, but working for the customer as a virtual member of the organization. This tight relationship results in a win-win strategy. It brings efficiencies to customers who can meet their IT requirements with fewer points of contact, fewer vendors and more simplified processes, and helps Cisco build customers for life.

An important part in ensuring we have customers for life is also providing customers with a seamless expansion and renewal experience. This experience spans from helping customers procure more of the same when they need it to ensuring uninterrupted service levels at the time of renewal. The expansion and renewals strategy of the customer success journey focuses on driving towards this goal. We are developing the end-to-end renewal journey with a clean sheet of paper, and in parallel executing a series of pilots putting into motion elements of the strategy. For example the Enterprise Cloud Suite and Tetration are some of the newer subscription offers that were launched in FY17 and the one year subscriptions that customers bought are now coming up for renewals.  We are executing the renewals for these and other related offers in high touch mode through the pilot efforts. These are helping inform the product standards, operational capabilities and broader renewals strategy.  This approach helps ensure we are continuously factoring the voice of our customers as we build and refine a renewal strategy that will be most appealing to them.

As you can see from the framework above, we are working through several aspects of the renewal journey. If you’re using subscriptions and have a renewal coming up, how would you define the ideal renewal experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment!

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Customer Success Managers at Cisco are not well integrated into the field Go To Market. Would encourage you to ensure tighter alignment between your field sales teams and your customer success organization.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read! Agreed on the tighter alignment of the land motion to the adopt, expand and renew aspects of the customer lifecycle. This is well recognized at multiple levels within the organization and efforts are underway to drive change.