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CRN Interview: Cisco SVP Scott Brown On Walking Partners Into 'Customer Success' And Outpacing HPE, Dell EMC In Race To Software Value

Cisco executive Scott Brown speaks with CRN about the company's unified strategy to help partners transition to a software-centric sales model.

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Soft Skills

In the midst of a quest to refocus its sales strategy on software, applications and recurring revenue, Cisco Systems is also changing the way it relates to its channel partners.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company's multi-faceted Customer Success program was established within its partner organization about two years ago, and since then its portal has notched more than 30,000 visits from solution providers eager to change their sales strategies to fit a market that is rapidly embracing technology provided as a service and on a subscription basis.

Scott Brown, Cisco's senior vice president for global virtual sales and customer success, admits that the company didn't do everything right in the early days of its software evolution. Likewise, the majority of Cisco's partners, Brown said, have not made the transition to a software-centric sales model.

The Customer Success program, Brown said, is a unified strategy to meet both of those challenges by focusing Cisco squarely on providing value to customers while essentially walking partners through the steps toward becoming software-centric, services-oriented solution providers that count on recurring revenue for dramatic growth.

"We're making a big pivot," Brown said. "We're a $50 billion company pivoting from more of a hardware-centric, operating-system-centric model to an application, recurring revenue, software model. It's not a small undertaking. We've been working pretty diligently to recognize what needs to be done to make that transformation for us and our partners."

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