Educating your C-Suite about the value that Customer Success (CS) can drive for your company as a whole – along with each department — is vital. In fact, according to Gainsight, one of the top reasons that CS programs fail is lack of executive buy-in. And that’s why, as we began creating a CS culture at Cisco, we sat down with our leadership team, not just once, but many times. We learned that understanding what they care about, and speaking with them on their terms, would help us avoid setbacks and pave the way to greater long-term success.

Infographic – Influence Change Through Relevant Conversations

Borrowing from our playbook, here are five conversation starters to use with the C-Suite as you engage with them about your CS value proposition:

  1. CEOs Want Competitive Advantage: CEOs place a high value on competitive differentiation, and they view the customer relationship as critical to the success of their business. Recognizing that the first 90 daysin the customer lifecycle are the most important for ensuring loyalty, be prepared to show them how CS makes this possible.
  2. CFOs Want Bottom-Line Results: CFOs are all about putting money and resources in the right place. Simply put, they want to know how CS will help the company The way to win their buy-in is through bottom-line results: discuss higher customer retention rates; steady, reliable recurring revenue streams; stronger renewals; and efficiency gains fueled by economies of scale.
  3. CIOs Want Reduced Risk: The CIO strives to reduce risk and will want to future proof any big- ticket decisions while getting the most out of existing systems. They tie business goals to IT When approaching them, be prepared with clearly defined technology requirements for your CS initiative.
  4. CHROs Want a People Strategy: HR leaders will be challenged to find a way to cultivate the talent required to achieve meaningful customer engagement across the organization. Building a customer-focused corporate culture falls under their domain, too. You’ll earn their trust by guiding them in developing a comprehensive people strategy.
  5. CMOs Want It All: A CMO’s priorities include customer engagement, digital transformation, marketing automation, personalization, real-time data and actionable insights. And, now more than ever, they are results driven. Fortunately, CS focuses on all of these areas and can be a force multiplier for marketing.

For more C-Suite conversation starters, check out our infographic. And for more insight, I invite you to watch the on-demand SuccessTalk webinar, “Customer Success Is a Game Changer.

As always, don’t forget to make use of our comprehensive library of free digital assets on SuccessHub, along with the platforms, tools and programs, such as Lifecycle Advantage that create greater value across the customer’s post-sale journey. Cisco has invested in these resources to help you make your Customer Success goals a reality, and we’re here to help in any way we can.


Scott Brown

Senior Vice President

Global Virtual Sales & Customer Success