Customer success is more important than ever with the transition to the Software as Service (SaaS) recurring revenue model.  With the traditional on-premise license, the large upfront sale is of primary importance. With SaaS however, it’s all about renewals and reducing churn. And while vendors are used to using partners to drive new sales, many have not yet realized the important role partners can play in customer success.

This week I discussed this topic with Hope Galley, Sales Director of Software and Services in Cisco’s America’s Partner Organization.  Cisco is an excellent example of a vendor that places a huge importance on customer success and is transforming their channel to play a front-seat role. Hope shares the important role partners play and how Cisco is enabling them to drive customer success through an innovative partner program.


Why Partners Should Play A Key Role In Your Customer Success Strategy
  • Customer success is a lot more than the initial sale. It’s about what comes after that. Post-sales support, adoption, and expansion are vitally important to you and your customers’ growth and success.
  • As many companies move to the SaaS model, customer obsession is even more important to reduce churn and, better yet, reach negative churn.
  • Start by looking at your partners and your partner ecosystem as a whole. Look at their staff, their business processes, their financial incentives, how they recognize revenue, how adaptive they are, and how open they are to change.
How Cisco Is Driving Customer Success
  • Cisco launched the Lifecycle Advisor Program to enable partners to drive customer success.  The purpose of the program is to align the partner’s services to the customers’ software life-cycle.
Cisco Lifecycle Advantage
  • With the Lifecycle Advisor Program, Cisco provides opportunities and incentive rewards to help partners land, adopt, expand, and renew business.
  • Partners are evaluated for the program based on how committed they are to meeting with Cisco, going through the metrics, and whether they have some sort of customer success motion where they’ve been successful.