The Value Realized, Customer Success Podcast uncovers perspectives that shape tomorrow’s strategies and tactics in Customer Success. Value Realized caters to individual contributors, managers, directors and leadership in the field by providing thoughtful insight and context on how professions deliver more value to their customers. Value Realized will help uncover trending best practices, thought provoking strategies, how to build a brand/career in CS and how to deliver impactful experiences to those around us. This is the for the customer success community, this is our podcast.
Thanks for hanging in there! I'm doing my best to keep the Value Realized, Customer Success Podcast alive. I recently stepped into a new role that requires me to flex my strategic muscles even further. With the current headspace I'm in, I'd like to add value to the Customer Success community in a new and meaningful way.
I'm introducing a new alternative format whereby I invite guests onto the Podcast to, yes highlight their amazing work, but to focus on a specific challenge or problem they're trying to solve. This comes as a more consultative approach to the Podcast. The result of which should produce more productive dialogues on real-world CS challenges, bring differing perspectives and ideas to the table while directly helping folks who are looking for new ideas/perspectives . The ideas themselves should be interesting, but my hypothesis is that HOW we arrived at specific solutions will be the real value realized.
Reach out to me on LinkedIn, under Nate Fiedler! Hope to hear from you soon.
More episodes coming! Hang tight.
All the best,
Successful Change Management in CS
Everything changes when everything changes - so how the hell do you navigate the changing change? In customer success there are varying speeds at which change is occurring. Whether you're moving your Solutions Engineers to your Customer Success Organization (nice call out in the episode, Dave!), building a consulting arm or solidifying the strategic long term direction of your customer success managers or anything/everything in between there's likely a lot going on in your world.
So how do you realize the desired state from all of your changes? I sat down with two colossal voices in the field, Dave Duke (Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer at MetaCX) and Kristi Faltorusso (Vice President of Customer Success at BetterCloud) to learn how change has played a role in their successes. Below are the guiding questions that shaped the discussion.
How do you prioritize tactical short term needs while balancing a long term strategy? How would you advise other customer success leaders on how to best prevent analysis paralysis when looking to data to inform your decisions? Do you think customer success organizations are being thoughtful around initiative fatigue? (K)How are you successfully navigating change? What has been your biggest surprise regarding decision making and change in your customer success careers?
CX + CO = CS in Theory and in Practice, a Visionary at Work
In the customer success space, the Customer Success formula coined or at least heavily championed by GainSight (CX+CO=CS) has gained a lot of traction over the past year. Despite the growing popularity, I've been shocked to see the many liberal interpretations of both CX and CO. In my opinion, there's one Customer Success leader who seems to have a firm understanding of these components both equally in theory and in practice. It's difficult to execute on both theoretical and practical terms and I argue that it takes a real Customer Success visionary to be able to mange the two effectively.
Which brings me to today's guest, Kristi Faltorusso, Vice President of Customer Success at BetterCloud. For those of you in the Customer Success world, you know that Kristi's name is among the most prominent and influential minds in the field. This episode lends a refreshingly open dialogue around Kristi's tactics and strategies as a VP of Customer Success and how she and BetterCloud embrace Customer Success as thoughtful and methodical execution of Customer Experience and Customer Outcomes.
More Women in Tech – a Rising Hero and Advocate
According to Evia, (cited by Small Business Trends) women make up less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs, even though they make up more than half of the U.S. workforce. According to McKinsy and Company, Gender diversity is correlated with both profitability and value creation. Like gender diversity, top-team ethnic and cultural diversity is correlated with profitability. In the most crude business terms - more diversity means more money. Which I would hope is not the main driver in campaigns and strategies to increase diversity in the workplace, specifically tech.
Tech and SaaS has an endless amount of complex problems which need a multitude of varying tactics, perspectives and conversations. The more diverse minds you have at the table, the more likely you are to come up with compelling and unique solutions. In short, diversity rocks, it's needed, it makes basic human sense, and I'll continue to advocate for diversity in tech and I hope you will too.
Which is why I'm happy to highlight one of SaaS' rising heroes, Vanessa Hannay, who not only serves as a Senior Customer Success Strategist at Muck Rack, but also recently co-founded a NYC Chapter for Women in Customer Success. While achieving accomplishments in her role at Muck Rack, she took the opportunity to leverage her success to open the door for other aspiring women in Customer Success, while creating a community of women currently in Customer Success to network. This episode highlights Vanessa's journey which led her to working in customer success and enabling others to do the same.
The Soul of a Leader - Lessons from Leading with Empathy
Take two deep breathes, in and out, with a three second pause in between. Close your eyes and imagine you wake up in the morning fully engaged, you feel "on" like nothing in your day is going to deter you from unleashing your full potential. You're actually excited to get in front of your laptop, to walk into your meeting, or handle any situation that would have previously given you anxiety. Any pressure of "not being enough" in the workplace is gone. Your boss has your back, they believe in you, they help you realize what you uniquely bring to the table. You aren't operating out of fear but rather out of joy and adrenaline knowing that someone sees the greatness in you that at times you doubted existed.
This sounds like some primer for a Tony Robins course, but it's not. The gateway to this transformational power can be leveraged by each of us to be better leaders (regardless of titles) for ourselves and for each other. It starts with something so small yet so complex. Something that is mistakenly disregarded in power and influence that is rarely gets the credit it deserves.... Empathy.
The Development Dimensions International articulates that:
"Leaders who master listening and responding with empathy will perform more than 40 percent higher in overall performance, coaching, engaging others, planning and organizing, and decision making, according to the research. The unprecedented report is based on the analysis of real behaviors in assessment center simulations from over 15,000 leaders across 300 companies in 18 countries over a decade."
This research done by the DDI highlights the importance of this resource, but it's becoming more and more scarce:
"A study released by the University of Michigan reported that college students are 40 percent less likely to have empathy compared to 20 to 30 years ago."
At the beginning of the exercise I described a scenario in which you feel full empowerment from your boss is something that I've experienced firsthand from my dear friend, mentor and previous boss, Tia Kruzek, Customer Engagement Advisor at Google. Tia describes her journey of leading with her values and cultivating a deeper sense of empathy for others. She provides thoughtful and pointed insights on how others can do the same, and I know you'll hear her power in her commitment and dedication to others.
Renewed Commitment to Effective Customer Renewals
At SaaS companies (or really any kind of company), processes at their best are efficient, dynamic and easy to understand. At their worst, processes create a bureaucratic maze that drive you crazy and provoke you to throw your hands up in disbelief that something so incredibly convoluted is preventing you from doing your job well. There’s a balance to be struck. With Customer Success how do you create enough boundaries to foster productivity but not too much to where it stifles ingenuity?
One of the most critical events in the customer lifecycle can plague customer success organizations with inefficiencies and confusion - customer renewals. My good friend, Cam Sheak, Customer Success Manager at Kapost, and I focus on this issue as Cam explains his thought process around creating an effective renewal process. As one of the most talented Customer Success Managers I’ve worked with, Cam demonstrates his understanding of the complexity of dependencies in hammering down processes that work and win.
Check out the supplemental piece on LinkedIn as well!
Customer Success Strategy
I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the Value Realized podcast. Im writing this review after the second episode. The host does a great job bringing to life examples from the guests that are relatable to startups and late stage customer success organizations. This will be a source of influence for so many professionals.
Real Value from Real Situations
Nate is focused on bringing true perspective to customer success, from all angles. It’s not so easy to implement, but it’s easy to dream. Really informative, and hopefully it inspires all companies to have a legit and long lasting connection with their customers.
Great stuff for those working in any field who want helpful tips on maximizing their potential!