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Published January 18th 2016

Interview: Talking Digital Transformation & Social Education with Cisco

We sat down with Alex Montuschi of Cisco to discuss how they use social intelligence as part of their digital transformation strategy - and much more.

As part of our blog series with leading experts across a range of industries, we took some time to speak with Alex Montuschi, Senior Digital Marketing and Media Manager – EMEA at Cisco.

Cisco is the worldwide leader in helping companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow, by providing their customers with next generation networking, security, data center, and collaboration products and solutions that help them achieve their desired business outcomes – so we were delighted to be able to talk to Alex.


How digital works at Cisco

Alex has worked at Cisco for six years, starting out in their office in Italy. He’s seen the organization embrace digital from day one.

“We are very lucky at Cisco, because social media and digital proactiveness is coming from the very top executive level.” says Montuschi.

Social media is part of Cisco’s DNA.

Alex works within the Digital Transformation and Analytics team; a regional team of 10 whose main role is to create standards and coordinate local markets around digital and social media best practice.

Cisco’s passion for digital has transformed the whole company, not only the specific functions you might have typically thought interested in social.

Understanding why education is vital

Education is incredibly important at Cisco, and within the Digital Transformation and Analytics team there is a member of staff whose role is entirely dedicated to social education.

“My colleague Sarah runs social media boot camps, trainings, one-to-ones and webinars. This is a really important part of digital transformation, because it’s about educating not only marketing, but also, sales, account managers, the entire company.” says Montuschi.

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Recently, Alex has seen an uprise in interest on social education from the Cisco sales teams.

The sales teams are proactively approaching the Digital Transformation and Analytics team asking for training, on how to use Twitter, how to use LinkedIn, and on how to connect with their potential clients.

Alex sees this as an incredibly positive sign.

Unlocking social selling

An interest from the sales teams within Cisco for education has seen social selling in crease within the organization.

“Social selling should be really only about selling through social. I think, it’s more about building a relationship and helping sales to use the social channel.”

Historically social had a tendency to be a channel used at the beginning of the buying journey, and when it comes to getting to the close, or to the actual decision process they tend to convert through other channels – maybe search or organic, or they go directly to the website.

A challenge Alex and his team have faced is attribute sales and results to social. Alex is involved in projects at the moment to tackle this.

“We have a cross functional team working on contribution modelling, and completely changing the way we are reporting on digital. The idea is to show the contribution of each channel, each stage of the buying journey.” says Montuschi

Cisco are viewing social more as an integrated channel.

Within any campaign, any activity they action, from marketing to social, account management, PR, customer service, Cisco are integrating social in every way they can.

Embracing B2B obstacles

As a B2B organization, Cisco’s challenges are very different from those a more consumer facing brand faces.

“As a B2B brand you need to build a longer relationship with customers.

Social is a challenge but also an opportunity at the same time, as it allows you, instead of only having one-off touch points where you’re trying to sell your products right away, to having multiple points of contact.” says Montuschi.


Social media is presenting a fantastic opportunity for Cisco to start new conversations and continue those, eventually helping the customer make the right decision.

The future?

When asking Alex what he sees as the future of social intelligence, or more specifically where he sees Cisco focusing more attention on in the coming years, he sees bringing social intelligence closer to the single individual becoming increasingly important.

“In a B2B industry, because we are less focused on big large audiences, focusing on the individual is key. When it comes to using or leveraging analytics to have an impact on sales, then we need to have insight on an individual and company level” says Montuschi.

Cisco’s commitment to investing in social education and digital evolution only continues to elevate their position as a pioneer in the digital space.

“There’s not a distinction really, between digital, social or even between digital and marketing. All marketing is becoming digital by definition” ends Montuschi.

A big thanks to Alex for speaking with us. This interview is one in a series with industry experts – you can expect more every week.

Coming up, we’re speaking with both FXCM and Walmart on the challenges and opportunities in using social media intelligence. Stay posted.

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