On the heels of a very successful Partner Summit, it’s clear that our partners continue to “own IT” and are viewed as the best in the business. Through the years, Cisco has also built a reputation as a world-class selling organization. But as the subscription economy emerged a few years back, we saw business models change dramatically, with software and SaaS moving to the forefront. The seismic shifts that began to unfold made it necessary for us to transform our approach not only to selling, but also to customer engagement.

Join us for the next SuccessTalk webinar, Digital: It’s Now Or Never, to learn how your organization can reach customers in the digital space.

We’ve found that in the subscription economy, what matters most to our customers happens after the initial sale and spans across the entire customer lifecycle. In fact, “land” has become just the first step in a more robust engagement process. Today, it takes a focus on the entire customer experience (CX) – across the “land, adopt, expand and renew” stages – to fuel a partner’s ability to grow. Taking it a step further, a 2016 SiriusDecisions study shows that B2B CX “isn’t just important to customer growth, retention and advocacy – it can truly make or break a company’s success.”

Several large-scale pilots we ran last year at Cisco validated the importance of focusing on CX and the customer lifecycle. One of the offers included in the pilots was our Collaboration Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs). Renewal rates for the ELAs were low – at only 63% — and we knew they should be well above 90%. So we went to work to improve those numbers. But our goal wasn’t to sell more renewals: instead we made it our mission to help our customers gain full value out of their technology investments including all the fantastic features and capabilities they might have been missing out on.

By nurturing customer success through stronger adoption, more renewals soon followed. In fact, at the end of the pilot program we hit a 97% renewal rate. Even better, we found that focusing on adoption not only caused renewals to skyrocket, but also prompted customers to invest in 19% more product on top of their previous purchases.

It’s Time to Get Digital

As we’ve witnessed the power of a lifecycle approach we’ve learned that the need to actively manage customer health and consistently engage with customers on their terms is essential to ensuring their future success – and ours. And because our customers are so diverse, it’s not surprising that their terms vary a great deal. Finding an effective way to personalize and scale out our conversations with each of them throughout the post-sale lifecycle has become critical. To address this complex challenge, Cisco has invested heavily in data science, analytics and automation and built a talented team of digital experts.

After talking to many of our partners throughout the year and most recently at Partner Summit, it’s gratifying to see that the investment is paying off. Cisco has made it a top priority to put the customer’s business outcomes first, and we’ve also made it a priority to empower our partners to do the same through data-driven platforms and programs, such as Lifecycle Advantage, and through the complimentary resources on our SuccessHub website.

As you plan, build, scale and monetize your own Customer Success practice, we invite you to tap into these tools to jumpstart your digital selling and engagement motions and future proof your business for the New Year and beyond.

To learn how to get in on the rewards of digitization and customer success, join the conversation on Nov. 14 as we hold our next SuccessTalk webinar, “Digital: It’s Now or Never.” Our top CX leaders will discuss how providing an immersive and unique digital experience can help your customers realize value sooner and keep them coming back for more.


Scott Brown

Senior Vice President

Global Virtual Sales & Customer Success