How to Optimize Your Revenue Engine for Growth in Tech

11 Jan 24

In episode four of our podcast, learn how Cisco approaches optimizations in their key growth levers to drive sustainable growth in 2024.

Understanding the right design and execution of Go-to-Market (GTM) levers in uncertain markets could help CEOs propel their revenue growth by making efficient use of existing resources. As an industry leader with clients and offices across the globe, careful use of such levers plays an integral role in Cisco’s value creation model.

In Episode 4 of the GTM Value Creation Corner Podcast, Mike Hoffman, SBI CEO, sits down with Pilar Schenk, COO of Global Specialists at Cisco, to discuss strategy, execution, and activation in tech against a backdrop of those who had a thesis of growth at any cost.

The tech industry is no stranger to turbulent markets, but for companies in the second half of 2022, many were confronted with a shift from ARR at any cost to EBITDA. Combined with challenging conditions imposed by COVID-19 and the recent breakthroughs in generative AI, more companies are concerned on how they can keep ballooning costs down while maintaining sustainable revenue growth.

Optimizing resource use: the Cisco way

With challenging conditions on the horizon, Cisco’s approach to value creation begins with an establishment of a defined baseline for expenditure.

“Move number one is to go look at where you're putting your dollars and the spend and evaluate whether or not spend is in the right spot, and the exercise I always like to do is if I had a dollar, where would I put it and where would I take it from?” said Pilar.

Cisco considered their priorities with a critical lens: what investments worked well, and which ones did not pan out. It was crucial for them to identify avenues where they could optimize spend for higher returns and create cost takeout opportunities in the process. Now, they could focus on reinvesting into their talent.

As with dollars, Cisco had to first start with establishing priorities for talent. “One of the things that I see as a mistake is a lot of companies don't actually know how much more productive they need to be. And then when they know, which I think all of us can develop the math model, what are the levers that you're going to go pull to make that happen?” said Pilar about productivity benchmarks at the frontline.

Clearly, it’s more than just metrics for Cisco when it comes to optimizing their sales functions. Enabling sellers to excel while managing ramp, attrition, and churn is no small feat, and Pilar understands that it involves many levers outside of sales.

“You could be starting to look at things around your tech stack. You could be looking at things in terms of sales, admin time, and how do you get them more time with customers. You could be looking at what they're selling like, are they selling suites or are they selling them on higher ASP?”

Careful application of commercial tech also plays a crucial role in revenue operations. The potential of identifying key growth levers are immense, provided that leaders get the results they are seeking from them.

“It can be really sexy to onboard tech. It's a lot harder to land that tech in a productive fashion on the front line. And so I'm a big believer in picking the critical few sales process that you want to implement,” Pilar added.

“I think there’s a million things you can buy. What can you actually consume?”

The preparation has already paid dividends, Cisco’s pragmatic approach has primed them for a head start in 2024, ready to capture the market lead.

Want to hear the rest? Tune into the conversation on “Growth at Any Cost is Over” — episode 4 of the GTM Value Creation Corner podcast. Listen to the podcast here.


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