Ok. Here it is. My first ever blog not written by a marketing department. I have been warned though:
No swearing. Nothing controversial and no Dad jokes which for those of you who know me pretty much limits any opportunity for me to write anything! Here goes…
What is Customer Experience?
Customers are increasingly moving to Software as a Service (SaaS) and recurring offers to enable their digital transformation. These offers hold tremendous value for customers because you don’t need the same up-front investment typical hardware-led solutions require.
This means customers can accelerate innovation, reduce risk, and achieve better business outcomes faster. It also means customers are more likely to abandon you as a Partner or the vendors you work with if their business outcomes are not realised.
This makes a focus on customer experience critical to succeeding in a SaaS/recurring revenue world and why it should be absolutely critical to you as a Partner and if you haven’t woken up to this yet – why not and what are you going to do about it?
It does, however, present a tremendous opportunity for you as a Partner to help customers achieve their business outcomes together, by delivering value-added services after the initial purchase but you need to be positioning this as early as possible for it to have any sort of impact. It cannot be an afterthought as it often is.
In addition, you will own the contract and drive recurring revenues for you as a Partner, which is equally important as achieving these outcomes. It really is a great deal for both of you if you get this right!
Embrace CX or be left behind.
To take full advantage of the software, SaaS, and services opportunity with Cisco, in particular, deep technical expertise is critical. You may already have that covered with your architecture specializations but to truly thrive, you also need a strong focus on customer success and a lifecycle-first approach to sales.
This may mean shifting your current business model and/or developing new capabilities and the Customer Experience Specialisation from Cisco is designed with that in mind.
Don’t underestimate the benefits – they are huge.
You become more important to your customers. You sell more to your customers. Your renewal rates will be higher, and you will be rewarded from Cisco with additional incentives throughout the lifecycle of your customer engagement for doing this.
Our goal is simple: to help you develop a customer success practice with the right people, tools, processes, and infrastructure to best support your customers throughout the lifecycle.
There’s now a compelling event.
If you didn’t know, it is now mandatory for all Cisco Gold Partners globally to become CX certified and if you don’t achieve this then you will lose your Cisco Gold Partner status by January 2022 and it is likely that next year the requirements in this space will become even more intensive such is Cisco’s focus in this area.
If you do not approach this seriously and do not have a plan in place in order to manage Customer Success then you will be left behind as a Partner as your competition continue to grow. Anything sold as a Service or as an Enterprise License Agreement is much more difficult to pick apart and much easier to layer additional services on top of, so if you aren’t the one selling in this manner – you need to ask yourself why and what steps you need to take in order to change.
What about Non-Cisco Gold Partners?
Customer Experience is vital for all Partners and just because it isn’t mandatory does not mean you should not become CX certified with Cisco, in fact, it’s the opposite, as once all of these Gold Partners become certified (and they will) then it will be another competitive differentiator they will have over you as a Partner.
Distribution will also likely be key to you as a Partner in this space.
Glu work very closely with Tech Data, who as the leading value-added Cisco Distributor are working very hard to ensure the Partners they work with have a CX plan and in turn the ability to execute their customers’ outcomes.
Glu can support you to get CX Certified and manage the Cisco CX programme.
Regardless of which Cisco certifications you hold as a Partner, Glu, as a chosen Partner of Cisco to deliver in this space, and as the only Advanced Cisco CX Partner that is also a Cisco Learning Partner, can assist you in order to achieve this certification, renew this certification and help you build a long-term sustainable Cisco CX practice.
As we are a Channel only business there’s no conflict in us doing this. In addition, Glu has created an in-house managed service platform called Glu Horizon that simplifies the ongoing management of the Cisco CX programme end to end and drives your sales teams to position CX as early as possible as part of your sales motion.
Delivery for support is available too.
If you are struggling with delivery, don’t worry, we can help you here too. We have a team of ex-customers in our growing Customer Success team who can be white labelled and utilised in order to show you how it’s done, what the process is and how to execute your customers business outcomes.
Partner with us to be the “Glu” to help you realise the benefits of CX as you create and build your plan in order to deliver Customer Success at scale with your customers and workforce and remember – this approach doesn’t just apply to Cisco as a vendor either.
It isn’t just about the technology, you need to elevate yourself above this as it is a combination of the technology, people and processes that really bring this to life and will have the biggest impact on you as a Partner.
Contact us – we are very friendly!
There are a number of ways in which we can engage, ways that can be funded or co-funded by Cisco as a vendor and in addition, most of our engagements in this space can be net neutral to you as a Partner.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the above and hope you enjoyed my first blog!
Billy Haining, Co-Founder