I started my journey at Cisco just three years ago as part of the Cisco Sales Associate Program (CSAP) – and what a ride it’s been! I am now an Account Manager, covering the Dutch Central Government and European Governmental Organizations which are headquartered in the Netherlands (where I also work and live).
CSAP is a traineeship that prepares young adults to become the best version of themselves and gives them the tools to become familiar with what Cisco stands for, what is unique about their solutions, how to work with all kinds of different stakeholders, and much more. After an intensive 6-month period, I then moved on to a half year of ‘on the job experience’, where I got my own set of customers.
After my first year, I officially became a Virtual Sales Account Manager (VSAM) as part of the Global Virtual Sales organisation on the Dutch Public Sector team. Here I was fortunate enough to work with some of the best and most senior account managers and sales engineers in the Dutch sales organization.
From my first few months, I had already learnt a lot, but I was soon to find out that in order to become successful within Cisco I might need a skill that I already mastered from my previous career as a professional cyclist: building trust.
I knew from my very first days in CSAP that Cisco’s solutions are top of the class. However, that is not the only thing organizations are looking for. They are looking for support, guidance, someone that always goes the extra mile for them and, most of all, someone they can trust. I believe that the key factor of my success is the trust level I have built with my customers. No matter what they need or when they need it, they know that I am just a phone call away and that I will do my best to fix any arising issue in the shortest time possible. Luckily, I also understand extremely well the processes and tools within Cisco, so I am able to connect A to Z very quickly, in almost any type of situation that might arise.
One of the things I stand for – and that is in my nature – is that I want to be available for my customers – always; evenings, weekends and even during holidays, if something is urgent, I am happy to help. Early on in my relation development phase with customers, I was able to fix some problems they had in a rather short period of time by connecting with and involving the right internal teams. Customers felt that they were well taken care of and they knew I was doing my utmost to get them help as soon as possible. It’s hard for me to let things go unresolved until the next ‘business day’.
This year, of course, was especially challenging for the globe as everyone shifted their work to an entirely remote experience. It has been interesting to watch, and especially to contribute to as many employees at Cisco made this shift, and our customers and partners adjusted as well.
I can only imagine how difficult it is for a business to be asked to make such critical decisions without being given enough time to assess what the best option is. I did my best to support all my customers in this time and knowing my customers played a key role in how I was able to help. Who are the stakeholders involved? What other interests does the organization have and why? How does this dramatic change of scene fit in the roadmap that we had previously created with the customer?
The past 6 months have been a roller-coaster for most of us. I know for myself that I worked long days and sometimes evenings, but it was entirely my choice as I wanted to be there for my customers. That was important to me, it’s just who I am. Cisco was there to support us, as employees, and it was not ‘mandated’ to work these hours – it was just simply something I (and many of us) felt compelled to do in order to help.
All this hard work, however, didn’t go unnoticed by Cisco’s leadership team as I was selected to be part of Chairman’s Club, a very special elite group only made available for the top 1% of the company’s sales organization!
I am very humbled and thankful for this recognition. From the moment I joined Cisco, it was my dream and my goal to become part of the Chairman’s Club, at least once. Being a part of this elite group so early in my career with Cisco feels very special and I will continue to do my best in the future, of course, and who knows - maybe I will get recognized again somewhere in the future.
No matter what, I will always be there for my customers – ready to provide the best support and guidance as we work together to achieve their goals.
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I have also applied for the Cisco CSAP program online at the careers portal for the Bangalore position. When can I expect to hear from them about the further process.
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