High-Tech Vendors CX Accreditation

The trend towards Customer Experience has escalated rapidly in recent years and has created extra responsibilities on Partners by high-tech Vendors.

Since building a CX practice which will truly impact revenue, requires having the right people, tools and processes in place, many high-tech Vendors offer their own CX certifications to help Partners build CX proficiency to drive business growth.

Attaining a Vendors CX accreditation is a win-win-win for Customers, Partners and Vendors alike. While Customers are empowered to drive faster “time to value” and leverage their investment to the fullest potential, Partners on the other end, enjoy the enticing incentives that the high tech Vendors offer at a different stage of the Customer lifecycle. These incentives are in place to encourage Partners to focus on Customer adoption, solution activation, renewal and expansion which in turn increases market share for the Vendor.

While it is undeniable that high-tech Vendors CX accreditation comes with lots of credibility and empowerment from Vendors, the pre-requisites and/or the effort required to be CX accredited may be difficult to attain by smaller organisations.

In this blog, I have invited Aaron Foster, Lead CX in Glu, to get his perspective on today’s topic. Aaron has been working with different high tech Vendors and Partners of all sizes for several years and I couldn’t think of a better person to explore this topic further with!

Aaron Foster – Senior Customer Success Manager

Introducing Aaron Foster.

Aaron is responsible for the delivery of Customer Success, ensuring that the Clients fully realise their return on investment and meet their business objectives. Having spent many years holding that same responsibility within his own organisations, having to implement new technology to solve ever changing business problems, Aaron is best placed to empathise with the client and work together on solutions from their perspective.

Let’s hear what Aaron has to say…

Sam: Aaron, thank you for joining me. To begin with, it would be great to get your thoughts on why you believe high-tech Vendors offer these CX certifications.

Aaron: Vendors now have to compete to win market share like never before. If their route to market is via Resellers and Distributors, they are not in control.

But they understand that as their business model needs to shift to a Business Solutions led sale, remunerated through subscriptions, their Partners now also have to change their mindset and adapt to change their businesses to rely less on one off high value, high margin sales and more on lower value, lower margin subscriptions. If done correctly, this does not mean lower profits.

In my opinion, many organisations are fed up with buying solutions that only partially or sometimes never deliver what was promised. Get Customer Experience right and you will meet your Customers objectives, accelerate their ROI and be their trusted Partner, not the company they just go to, to buy stuff from.

In today’s world, the Partner now needs to truly know their Customer, know their requirements, and ‘sell’ a solution that will be aligned to their Business Objectives and stay with them to ensure that it does. One can no longer just sell a tin box with flashing LED’s and walk away to focus on the next sale.

To encourage the Partner to start to change their sales practices, high-tech Vendors are looking at incentives, rather than rebates, to help fund a CX practice lead and a Renewals practice lead.

Certifications ensure that these new roles are aligned to the Vendors recommended sales process and best practices.

Sam: How do you think different Partners perceive CX and Vendors CX certification?

Aaron: Many smaller Partners unfortunately see it is an unnecessary additional cost. They see these new leads as a non-quota carrying expense. But I believe that is because they do not yet understand the long term benefits.

The Vendors Certification often encourages buy-in from an Executive Sponsor. This is crucial to ensuring that the business benefits from moving to a true Solution Sale are understood and that these new CX led roles are to ensure they reduce churn by having a happy Customer that renews and sees you as their trusted Partner and not just another Sales company.

Sam: From your experience and continuous engagement with different Partners, what value do you believe Partners gain from these certifications? And what non CX certified Partners are missing out on?

Aaron: By gaining CX Certifications, Partners would gain a better understand of Vendor best-practices in adopting their technology. It also gives Partners access to Play Books and training on which can be used to provide an even better level of Customer Experience.

Sam: and Aaron, is it in every Partner’s interest to get certificated?

Aaron: No! In terms of a Vendor Cx Certification, they need to take into account the physical and people cost, time and effort and balance that against any potential financial reward.

If the Vendor only has products that are very rarely sold, and there is no strategy in place to increase that, then it is unlikely to be an effective use of their time.

Many Vendor programs are fairly similar but what is common throughout is the core underpinning reason behind all of this; providing good customer experience through ensuring that you have understood the Customers requirements and you are able to articulate that back to them, offering them a solution that best delivers against their Business Objectives and then making sure what is delivered meets or exceeds their expectations. If we understand this and apply it to all sales, whether for £1 or £100M, then we are going to be seen as a trusted supplier and we will see a return in increased renewals and additional sales.

Sam: Now, lets look at it from Partners perspective, is it in every Partner’s capability to attain these high-tech Vendor certifications?

Aaron: With enough resources in place, yes. But it is often the case that the Partner may have to qualify to join. For example, Cisco Resellers have to transact over $1m of relevant sales per year to qualify for their Lifecycle Incentive program and become CX Specialised.

Sam: What does this leave uncertificated Partners with? And how do you think they should compete against CX certified Partners?

Aaron: Just because a Partner may not qualify for a specific Vendors CX / CS certification program, there is nothing stopping them embedding the CX philosophies into their business and leading with them in a Customer conversation.

Sam: How do Tier2 Partners manage to ‘stand their ground’ against bigger, certified Partners?

Aaron: This can only be achieved by either levelling the playing field or having a distinct advantage.

A Tier2 partner is typically unable to compete on price, so it has to play smart. By building in Customer Success to the deal, right from the start, you can build a solution for the Customer that delivers against their Business Objectives and ensures their wider requirements are met.

Although I admit it is not always that simple, especially with closed tenders. But where possible, understanding the Customers true needs over and beyond the kit list, demonstrating to them how you as a smaller and more agile business will be able to work with the stakeholders and decision makers to ensure they get true value and ensuring the original Business Objectives will be met will go much further than just saying you will provide the kit at price X.

For example, one of our Partners who was looking to position a unified communications solution to a city council, through a Business Objectives led discussion, identified that their customer was concerned how their more elderly users in the community would cope with video calling. A structured delivery and training plan, catering for all user types, was provided to address this in the tender response. They subsequently won the deal even though their pricing was higher than the competition.

Sam: Aaron, thank you once again for joining me cover this today. If there was one tip that you would like to give to Tier 2 Partners who for some reason or another cannot complete their CX certification in order to remain competitive, what would that be?

Aaron: Build Customer Adoption services into the heart of your business. Lead all conversations with Customer Success at the forefront and focus on delivering against Business Objectives.

We are seeing that many Procurement teams, as well those requesting or ordering a solution, are now expecting to see terms such as Customer Experience, Customer Success and especially Adoption services in their proposal or tender response.

Because of this, many businesses are now buying on value and not price alone. They want assurances that their investment will meet their objectives, quickly give a return and continue to add business benefit well into the future.

Adoption Services therefore become the differentiator.

Final Thoughts…..

It’s undeniable that being CX certified gives Partner credibility and monetary rewards to increase their revenue.

However, while CX certification are not always mandatory, nor attainable by all Partners, in my perspective, building a Customer-centric culture is. If you would like to drive adoption, increase revenue and renewal, my recommendation is to future-proof your CX and upgrade your Customer engagement.

So, the question is, what is stopping your company from being CX accredited?

And if you need support in completing your CX accreditation, feel free to get in touch!

Aaron Foster – Senior Customer Success Manager

Aaron is responsible for the delivery of Customer Success, ensuring that the clients fully realise their return on investment and meet their business objectives.

Having spent many years holding the responsibility of having to implement new technology to solve ever changing business problems, Aaron is best placed to empathise with the client and work together on solutions from their perspective.

Aaron is slowly hanging up his anorak, but still likes to work with small businesses in his spare time, building IT strategies to help them succeed.


Samira Dhakak – Customer Success Manager at Glu
Being an end user for several years, Sam brings her first hand experience, trials and tribulations along with the lessons which aid her to understand our clients’ needs. And translating these into solutions to better support our customers is what my sole aim is!

If there’s one thing a decade of marketing experience has taught her, it is that ‘managing customer expectations and delivering beyond those expectations’ is key to the success of any business. Cisco Certified Customer Success Management has given her the wings that she needed to venture into a Customer Success Manager role. Coming from the world of ‘end user’, Sam knows how to best empower our customers to meet their KPIs successfully and efficiently.

A baker by passion and necessity (2 young boys plus a husband ensure that she stays that way!). A trained & qualified designer she dabbles in designing websites and ‘beautifying’ spreadsheet data.