No Sitting Still: Rapid Transformation at Cisco

Keynote insights from Jeff Sharritts, senior vice president, Americas at Cisco

Jeff shared his keynote address on Lessons from a Disruptor with the 400+ guests at the 2020 Alexander Group Virtual Executive Forum. His presentation focused on the changing role of the customer.

Changing Business Models

“We are evolving our portfolio to meet the future needs of our customers. What we are doing is delivering Cisco’s growth through new platforms and as service models. We are going to deliver that customer value through platforms and through that service model,” Jeff shared.

The new model requires a change in selling motions. “How we engage our customers to deliver value – new platforms, new services, new offers – means evolving everything we do and how we sell. No more one-off transactions. It’s now about subscription, recurring revenue. It’s about supporting our customers from that point on the digital journey from consideration to the actual renewal. Because our customers are 24/7 from now on and we have to be too,” Jeff noted.

Scaling Smarter

Cisco is rethinking everything from engineering and coverage models, how to enable teams, and even the new ecosystem they will work within. New services, digital demand, marketing intelligence and other variables in their go-to market model are shifting as the 24X7 customer evolves.

“In order to touch more customers, more efficiently and more effectively, we are going to have to scale much smarter as we go forward,” Jeff shared with the audience. “It’s a tall task to support our customers the way they expect. We need to move incredibly quickly.”

The Future Workforce

Throughout 2020, Cisco earned their reputation as Fortune Magazine’s #1 place to work. They provided innovative employee benefits that addressed health and well-being, supported remoted workers and leadership, and shut down the entire company for a day to give their workforce a well-deserved break. But will it continue in the future?

Jeff believes they need to take care of employees and doing good in the world and communities is critical. The aging workforce will also impact the talent pool. “The next generation of employees is concerned about their employer’s culture, purpose and social response. It’s no longer about working somewhere to make a buck,” Jeff said.

“Make sure you keep your employees at the center, focus on customers and then make sure that you take care of that third stakeholder. Making sure we are great for the world is going to be important,” Jeff believes.

Closing Thoughts

“As we think about the market shifting and transforming and our customers changing, we can never sit still. We have to continue to innovate and move quickly.” Organizations should continue to be agile, even if the core business remains solid. Don’t assume that business is going to be successful in the long haul. Continue to look for new opportunities while caring for your teams and customers.

Alexander Group’s 2021 Leadership Series

In the coming year, Alexander Group’s Leadership Events will focus on the continued importance of the new type of customer and what’s around the corner under the theme of 24X7 Customer: The Next Chapter. These events will continue the exploration of how companies are reshaping their go-to-customer approaches, with an emphasis on how revenue leaders are taking their learnings from 2020 and using them to build stronger customer relationships and find new pathways to growth.

In addition to roundtables, symposiums and Forums, we are also excited to announce the first Alexander Group Women in Revenue event in April. Be sure to mark your calendars.

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