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Rob Lloyd, Cisco's hard-charging global sales chief, says that the message to Cisco's sales force and its channel base is that after a year of seismic change at Cisco, it's time to double down on the areas where it has momentum and be even more aggressive as a competitor to the likes of HP, Microsoft and Huawei while continuing to simplify how it does business with partners.
Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president, worldwide operations, and Cisco's top sales leaders recently addressed more than 20,000 Cisco employees as part of GSX, a virtual sales conference through which Cisco attempts to set strategy for its legions of salespeople at the start of the new fiscal year.
This year's installment included breakouts for Cisco's three geographies -- Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific Japan and China (APJC) -- keynotes from Cisco CEO John Chambers and Lloyd, and a number of technology-specific sessions focused on both enterprise and service provider priorities, as well as other executive presentations that included people like Bruce Klein, Cisco's new senior vice president, Worldwide Partner Organization.
"The feedback was very good," Lloyd said of the GSX presentations in an exclusive interview with CRN. "This last year has seen a lot of progress, and [Cisco] is coming back to the top of its game."
Last year, Cisco kicked off a painful corporate restructuring process that's seen it part ways with more than 15,000 employees thanks to early retirement packages, layoffs and asset sales. At the same time, Lloyd's sales apparatus was rearranged from nine theaters into three geographies, and in the ensuing months, a number of well-known Cisco executives departed or were reassigned.
One was Klein, who succeeded Keith Goodwin in August as Cisco's global channel chief. Another was Jim Sherriff, the former Americas sales channel chief who now reports directly to Lloyd in a newly created role running the sales aspect of the Accelerated Cisco Transformation (ACT) project, a companywide Cisco effort to prepare the company's operations, sales strategy and product portfolio for the coming years.
That was all part of the early phase of a simplification effort that's going to take several years, Lloyd said. Part of that will be a process Lloyd likened to "cleaning out the Cisco closet."
In the next year, Cisco will work ensure that its processes and procedures are as streamlined as possible, its messaging and value proposition are as clearly stated in as many areas as possible and its various resources -- everything from company white papers to its galaxy of incentive programs -- are simplified so they can be executed a lot more rapidly.