Vice President of Business Development & Customer Success – Retired
More about Pete Eggimann
Cisco’s recent blog, Improving Partner Performance with Renewals, raised some really good points about the impact of asset renewals on partner profitability. Things such as simplifying and automating asset, contract, and software subscription management and using tools to visualize, simplify, prioritize and optimize the renewals process.
We then responded in a Cisco Tribune article, Cisco Recommends Partners Find Ways to Simplify and Automate Renewals. We touched on how Netformx AssetXpert uses automation and analysis to enable partners to achieve the four suggestions Jose van Dijk, VP, Partner Performance and Operations for GPO, suggested in the Cisco blog.
- Keep it simple: cover all devices, co-terminate expiration dates, consolidate agreements
- Automate to reduce time spent searching for, aggregating, and adjusting renewal data
- Stay in touch with your customers throughout the lifecycle
- Build a practice to optimize profitability
As VP of Customer Success at Netformx, helping Cisco Partners to accomplish these 4 things with our asset management tool is top of mind. And as our customers attest, tools such as AssetXpert’s at-a-glance renewal data and analysis both simplify and automate the management of renewals, resulting in increased profitability. Equally important is the value renewal insights and information have on the end customer’s experience (CX).
Ongoing customer engagement and relationships are critical
As we and others have noted, The customer engagement journey doesn’t end with the technology sale. Subscription-based services provide regular income to solution providers, and benefits to customers, but solution providers must ensure a continued customer relationship and provide added value all along the way. This means proactive conversations on software and hardware renewals, staying on top of the customer’s renewal situation, and offering options that are appropriate for their situation, i.e., becoming a trusted advisor who addresses questions such as:
- Are devices in their network approaching end-of-life or end-of-support and what should they do about that?
- Would co-terming contracts simplify their management as well as yours?
- Can they track their own renewals and make MACD (Move, Add, Change, Delete) change requests directly to you?
As Cisco points out, acquiring new customers costs roughly six times more than renewing existing customers. Consequently, VARs that build successful long-term relationships will win over those who mainly focus on acquiring new customers. Successful solution providers create and nurture a sincere business relationship with their customers and become a trusted advisor.
It can’t be done without accurate contract information
One of our customers shared this situation: Their Client Success Manager (CSM) needed to ensure that their clients were actually assigned to the contracts they purchased. Traditionally, the CSM would take the list of contracts and manually access various Cisco tools to determine customer assignments. This process is error-prone in itself and certainly very time-consuming.
If the client can’t engage in a frictionless manner with their CSM attempting to support the contract they bought, they will ask: What did we buy? Why don’t we have access to this? They can open a case but, in the meantime, damage has been done to the relationship.
AssetXpert generated the assignments in minutes, aligning the CSM with their clients immediately, and ensuring their clients get the support they have paid for.
A Use Case for a High Touch CX from SMP
“With AssetXpert, all the details about our customer Cloud and SaaS subscriptions and SmartNet contracts are at our fingertips. That powerful information enables our Client Success Managers to provide a high-touch client experience without spending days manually gathering, merging, cleansing and massaging contract data. And our Client Experience team can quickly map the many variations of client names in contracts and share all required information with appropriate teams in minutes instead of hours.”
– Terry Abbott, Director of Client Experience at SMP
As Cisco says: “In the case of renewing customer subscriptions, data is priceless.” And we will add that accurate data is worth its weight in gold. Since the Netformx AssetXpert portal is based on the partner’s Cisco CCW-R data, pulled from daily Cisco feeds, its comprehensive view of assets, hardware contracts, and software subscriptions is based on accurate, up-to-date information.
By simplifying renewal and subscription tracking across the lifecycle and identifying opportunities for upsell and cross-sell partners can provide a great CX and find opportunities to expand. Additional value is found with full visibility into SmartNet® lifecycle contract start and end dates, as well as active and expired contract status. Providing interactive search capabilities, drill-down of asset details, and a geographic asset heat map positions the partner to significantly impact their renewal process and align with Cisco’s goals.
In addition, an end user portal enables end customers to have visibility and directly track their own renewals and make Move, Add, Change, and Disconnect asset change requests, opening a renewals communication path between you and them.
Providing the best customer experience
When it comes down to it, we are all responsible for ensuring a great customer experience and ultimately, successful business outcomes. As Cisco communicated in their blog, a 20% increase in renew rates equates to a 50% increase in bookings. That is why Cisco Partners are turning to Netformx AssetXpert. Solution providers find they can skip the complex and time-consuming process of gathering asset data for large numbers of contracts with multiple expiration dates and instead can focus on providing the best customer experience and being their trusted advisor throughout the lifecycle.
At Netformx, we take customer engagement and customer success seriously – let us know how we are doing.