Customer Success Leadership

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Jared Orr
Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
edited August 2023 in CS Conversations

Tomorrow I will be interviewing for the Head of Customer Success position at my company. To anyone who has experience leading client-facing teams, what advice do you have for someone wanting to go into CS leadership? 

Thanks in advance! 

Jared Orr

Customer Success Whisperer

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Comments

  • Kathleen Fava
    Kathleen Fava Member Posts: 6 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    Leading a team is about supporting them and getting them what they need to do their best work. You have to have their backs and they have to know it. This is not to say you're not "there." You absolutely are there for them, but they are the stars and you are the guy backstage making it possible. Remember that and it should bring some clarity when you get into your interview. 

    To continue the analogy, break a log Jared! I look forward to hearing all about it!

  • Griffin Fuller
    Griffin Fuller Member Posts: 10 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    Good luck in your interview @Jared Spencer Orr !

    I don't have direct experience in answering this question on a personal level, but I read the "Customer Success Professional's Handbook", which devotes an entire chapter to this. 

    I believe you could obtain some good value out of reading the chapter, so feel free to get the Kindle version now so you can read that chapter by the end of tonight to be even more prepared for the interview tomorrow! 

    Link to the book here

  • Kyle Bennett
    Kyle Bennett Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    Good luck @Jared Spencer Orr , we're all pulling for you! 

    A couple items of advice, just from my perspective as a former director of both CS and support teams:

     

    1. Have a well formulated plan of what the future of CS looks like under your leadership. How will your plans impact the larger goals of the organization and what steps are you considering right out of the gate? 
    2. Similarly, have a well articulated vision of your leadership style. How will you motivate your CSMs and contribute to their individual career growth? What personality will your team reflect with you at the helm? 
    3. One more... if the opportunity presents itself, don't be afraid to also point out that you bring something new to the leadership room. Great leadership teams don't hire people they already have. They hire bigger, faster, smarter, stronger talent that can "level-up" the entire leadership team. Be ready to claim your mark here too! 

    Go crush it! We'll all be here waiting for your big announcement after you get it! 

  • Kyle Bennett
    Kyle Bennett Member Posts: 8 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    Good luck @Jared Spencer Orr , we're all pulling for you! 

    A couple items of advice, just from my perspective as a former director of both CS and support teams:

     

    1. Have a well formulated plan of what the future of CS looks like under your leadership. How will your plans impact the larger goals of the organization and what steps are you considering right out of the gate?
    2. Similarly, have a well articulated vision of your leadership style. How will you motivate your CSMs and contribute to their individual career growth? What personality will your team reflect with you at the helm?
    3. One more... if the opportunity presents itself, don't be afraid to also point out that you bring something new to the leadership room. Great leadership teams don't hire people they already have. They hire bigger, faster, smarter, stronger talent that can "level-up" the entire leadership team. Be ready to claim your mark here too!

    Go crush it! We'll all be here waiting for your big announcement after you get it! 

  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
    First Comment Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited June 2020
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    Discussions I have had with my leadership when I am referring leaders to our org always talks about have they worked with a large team, have they managed their own book of business before, and what were the results I have seen them accomplish in past positions.

    If I don't have this info, the resume isn't pulled.

    Also, what initiatives did they lead in their past positions?

  • Jen Jackson
    Jen Jackson Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited June 2020
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    Good Luck @Jared Spencer Orr 

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 184 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited June 2020
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    Agree with all of the points above!  One of the items that helped me was the company I interviewed with asked me to pull together a 30/60/90 day plan once hired.  It may be an activity you do prior and keep in your back pocket as you interview.

  • Kate Current
    Kate Current Member Posts: 9 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    The "why" is as important as the "what"here. Dedication to customer advocacy is #1 for me. As CS leader, we need to help our teams represent our customers and fight for what they need. Too often CS can get squashed when escalating to product or measuring the customer's best interest with sales. Whether a team is new to this kind of advocacy or not, they need to see their leaders do it too! 

  • Thomas Seelbinder
    Thomas Seelbinder Member Posts: 22 Thought Leader
    edited June 2020
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    So much good advice in here already. Wishing you the best @Jared Spencer Orr, you got this!

     

    I'd just add one piece of advice I've picked up from leaders I've worked with - never hesitate to get into the trenches. Dig those ditches right alongside your team. Make this known during your interview. You're their leader, but you're also their teammate. 

     

     

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Love the idea of having a 30/60/90 plan in place, @Brian Hartley 

    I will start working on that and have it in my back pocket if I make it to the next round of interviews!

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Thank you, @Jen Jackson !

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Thank you, @Kyle Bennett 

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Thanks, Griffin! I actually just finished reading that book and am currently reading the next one in the series, The Customer Success Economy :)

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Very true! Having a "why" for anything is imperative for long-term success. Thanks for the advice, @Kate Current 

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Griffin Fuller
    Griffin Fuller Member Posts: 10 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    You're ahead of the game!

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Solid advice, @Thomas Seelbinder Thank you!

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer

  • Jared Orr
    Jared Orr Member, CS Leader Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited June 2020
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    Thank you everyone for the well wishes and advice! The interview went very well. The company I work for is headquartered oversees so there is a chance they will go with someone closer to most of the executives for language and time zone purposes. 

    But in the words of Michael Scott, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. -Wayne Gretzky" :)

    Jared Orr

    Customer Success Whisperer