Chambers: New CEO Robbins Will Grow Cisco Sales Faster 'Than I Would Have'

Cisco CEO John Chambers says his successor Chuck Robbins is just the medicine Cisco needs to drive sales growth in the Internet of Things era.

"Chuck is an execution machine. He can and will move the company faster," said Chambers in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday. "He'll take us to faster growth than I would have done."

Growing sales faster than Chambers will be no small order if the measure is the most recent quarterly results. For its second fiscal quarter that ended Jan. 24, 2015, the networking leader posted sales growth of 7 percent, to $11.9 billion.

[Related: Cisco's Chambers On Why Robbins Got The CEO Nod And How Much Control He'll Really Have]

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But if the measure for growing sales is the third fiscal quarter results, which will be released May 13, then it will be sales growth of 3 percent to 5 percent. Chambers, in a highly unusual move, reiterated that 3 percent to 5 percent sales growth number even as he announced the Robbins appointment.

Cisco partners, for their part, said they are confident Robbins will accelerate sales growth.

"I think Chambers is right, Chuck's going to build all of that and take it up faster," said Gary Alexander, CEO of Alexander Open Systems, an Overland Park, Kan.-based Cisco gold partner and No. 94 on CRN's SP500 list. "Chambers has been up on the top, but Chuck has been down there in the trenches and he knows what's going on."

Alexander said total revenue sales at his company are up 30 percent this year, with 50 percent of his business consisting of Cisco.

"Our Cisco is way up and I think with someone like Chuck Robbins, who's really a personable guy, knows sales, is aggressive, he's smart, he's got integrity, this guy's the total package," said Alexander. "He eats, sleeps and breathes this, so he's the guy to make it happen."

Chris Bottger, senior vice president of collaboration services at IVCi, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider and Cisco partner, ranked No. 201 on CRN's SP500, said Robbins can continue Cisco's strong growth rate through the company's Internet of Everything initiative.

"(Chambers) thinks Chuck can develop that IoE side of it quicker than maybe what he can do in terms of the execution side, as opposed to the idea side, which I think John was very good in coming up with," said Bottger. "I think he honestly has faith in Chuck to execute that at a faster speed."

Mark Slaga, CEO of the Americas Executive Team at Dimension Data, a multi-award-winner at Cisco Partner Summit 2015 and No. 13 on CRN's top SP500, said he believes Robbins' leadership will accelerate sales growth.

"People just line up behind him, they want him from a leadership perspective," said Slaga. "Chuck's definitely got the ability to bring the growth in the future, and it's not a statement against John, but Chuck's got that kind of magnetic orb that people just want to be a part of -- whether it's partnering or with clients, it's just something that Chuck brings."

Chambers also told CNBC he is confident that Cisco can dramatically increase its security market share under Robbins leadership. In fact, he asserts, Cisco has the ability to move from 7.5 percent of the security market to as much as a 20 percent to 40 percent share.

"It's a huge growth market," said Chambers. "I think you'll see Chuck do that."

Cisco's security revenue grew 6 percent during the second fiscal quarter, to $416 million.

Dimension Data's Slaga, for his part, said he believes Cisco can increase security sales growth under Robbins.

"They can definitely grow that (with Robbins)," he said. "Cisco is going to have to continue to grow their product line and look at acquisitions. It's going to take investments. … Cisco's proven many, many times, whether it's voice or the data center, when they put in the investment, they've got a sales engine to make it happen."