Earlier this summer, more than 40 Cisco partners converged in downtown Chicago for the second annual Partner Adoption Workshop—otherwise known as “Adopt Shop.” The two-day event was highlighted by dynamic speakers such as Nick Metah, CEO of Gainsight; Steve Robb, President, Solution Group, LaSalle Solutions; and Steve Reasner, President and COO of LIFTinnovate. Cisco’s top experts in customer experience and customer success also took center stage.

The goal? To inspire and support partners in building their own customer adoption practices.

We recently talked to Cisco’s Kelli Kirwin, Senior Manager, Global Virtual Sales & Customer Success, to find out more about the event and why having an adoption practice matters for today’s partners.


Q: What is Adopt Shop and how did it come about?

Kelli: The idea came about last year as we launched the Global Customer Success organization. One of the most important ideas we embraced from the beginning is that successful adoption of software and services are essential for transforming the customer experience. Because partners are core to our strategy at Cisco, we know that it is essential for partners to understand and implement adoption practices of their own.

The inspiration behind Adopt Shop was to knowledge transfer what we’ve learned so far about the value of adoption, and to give partners the opportunity to engage with industry leaders in the customer success field. The breakout sessions focused on the people, processes and tools that drive successful adoption including: Service Transformation Strategies, and How to Build a Winning Customer Success Team and Practice.  We also shared information on using tools like Cisco Impact and programs such as Lifecycle Advantage that can accelerate renewals & adoption with data-driven automation.


Q: Why is building an adoption practice so important?

Kelli: There is a lot of pressure in IT departments today—pressure to cut budgets while also increasing profits. Every technology investment must bring value or it will be replaced or forgotten, and that’s why adoption is critical. Adoption accelerates the value realization that customers receive from Cisco solutions when they utilize the full capabilities and feature set of our products and services.  By engaging in a repeatable, scalable globally consistent process, Cisco and our partners will ensure that customers receive maximum lifetime value in the solutions they purchase which leads to an improved customer experience and stronger customer retention.


Q: Beyond the Adopt Shop workshops, how is Cisco helping partners achieve stronger adoption practices?

Kelli: Many of our partners are eager to learn more and they want to embed best practices into their business workflows to ensure customer value is realized. To support and empower partners, our team has created a resource library that includes adoption playbooks, customer success webinars, customer health scoring tools, white papers and more. We’re also offering one-on-one expertise to help partners tailor their approaches so that they can gain a competitive advantage and differentiate themselves to win a greater share of wallet with their customers.

The Customer Success Talk Series plays a critical role in our ability to scale.  There have been no less than 200 partners attending these events hosted every 2 weeks and are a great way to reinforce the message we deliver in our workshops and partner-facing one-on-one’s.  We also participate in customer advisory boards to ensure the message resonates across the channel & industry. Lastly, because digital engagement is critical for scaling adoption practices, we’re inviting partners to take advantage of our data, analytics and automation tools to move customers smoothly through all phases of the relationship lifecycle.


Q: What kind of results are partners seeing through a stronger focus on adoption?

Kelli: It’s still early but our analysis has shown that partners with an end-to-end lifecycle practice are significantly outperforming those who don’t.  For example, we’ve seen renewal rates rise by five points when a best-in class lifecycle approach is implemented. The key differentiator for these partners is the Customer Success Manager function.

The feedback we received at the event and through ongoing communication with partners has been very positive. They’re telling us how they’re winning, differentiating and growing because of the unprecedented value the customer is realizing through the partners adoption strategies. This energizes us to continue to build upon what we’ve helped them achieve so far.


Q: What can we expect from your team as far as future adoption events?

Kelli: With only a select group of partners participating these past two years, we aim to expand the program to more partners and our broader subscription portfolio. We’re only just getting started—stay tuned!


Kelly Crothers

Director, Marketing

Global Customer Success