Does anyone have good data on diversity in customer success?

Options
Alex Farmer
Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
edited July 2020 in Industry Insights

Hi everyone, wondering if you have seen any data on diversity on customer success.  There have been several studies on gender diversity in our space (pretty even for individual contributors, abysmal for leadership positions), but I haven't seen much on racial diversity.  Has anyone come across good data on race/ethnicity in customer success?

Please share!

Tagged:

Comments

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited June 2020
    Options

    Not necessarily in CS but in tech overall there are a handful of studies as I am sure you have already seen.  I am passionate about this field so will be curious to see what others have found.  When I hired my last CS team member, I made it a point to scour every corner of LinkedIn to find a diverse set of candidates to interview.  It was a lot of work but worth it in the end as I learned a lot about my experience.

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited June 2020
    Options

    Yeah man I hear you - I'm looking to mentor a few people from underrepresented groups but need some data on what that looks like.

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited June 2020
    Options

    Keep me posted.  Not sure what you do internally from a recruiting standpoint but our D&I committee (which I am on) has really tried to make a conscious effort to recruit outside of the "traditional" channels.  We are also exploring ways to partner with the public school district (Kansas City,MO) to see what we can do to help support and mentor high school students into careers within tech.

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited June 2020
    Options

    Thats great man - awesome to hear.  Lots more we can do, but good to see more people focusing on it of late.  Will let you know!

  • Samma Hafeez
    Samma Hafeez Member Posts: 24 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited June 2020
    Options

    Following this thread! I found it super hard to diversify our talent pipeline in 2019 despite going out of my way to do so and being a minority myself (thought my personal profile might relate better to other POC). Would love to know if anyone has successfully worked with any recruiters or agencies that specialize in this domain.

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited June 2020
    Options

    I'm looking to mentor underrepresented groups in CS but was hoping to see what the current make-up of our profession was first - will let you both know if/when I can find some data.

  • Dave Blake
    Dave Blake Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited June 2020
    Options

    We're currently promoting our "2020 - State of Customer Success" survey and have added questions specific to diversity & inclusion. We'll share the results once completed.

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited June 2020
    Options

    Thanks Dave - look forward to it.  Definitely need more of this data in our space

  • Scott Hopper
    Scott Hopper Member Posts: 70 Expert
    First Comment
    edited June 2020
    Options

    I love to see as well what people are doing to fight ageism. Tech hasn't been good in general at promoting hiring in this space.  

  • Arit Nsemo
    Arit Nsemo Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited July 2020
    Options

    I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your survey @Dave Blake -- I'm actually starting to meet with other Black customer success leaders to encourage more diversity in the space. I've been able to leverage my network to ensure I'm hiring diverse candidates and building a pipeline, but I also have a very diverse network being a Black woman myself. Happy to chat further on some things that might move the needle, but opening yourself up to non-traditional backgrounds is going to be one of the best things you can do. 

  • Dave Blake
    Dave Blake Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited July 2020
    Options

    Thanks Arit, since we had already launched the survey around some other topics, we added that section later. We're hoping to get many more participants to complete the survey so we have a good sample of data to share on this important topic and the others. 

    If any haven't completed the survey, please do as your feedback will be valuable for the broader customer success community. 

    https://www.clientsuccess.com/state-of-customer-success-2020/

  • Arit Nsemo
    Arit Nsemo Member Posts: 13 Contributor
    edited July 2020
    Options

    Oh perfect. Just took it!

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited July 2020
    Options

    Glad to hear this got added @Dave Blake - I took it early and didn't remember seeing it, so very much looking forward to results.

  • Scott Hopper
    Scott Hopper Member Posts: 70 Expert
    First Comment
    edited July 2020
    Options

    @Samma Hafeez one of the challenges of hiring is we often are doing it piecemeal.  Meaning 1 person added at a time.  How long of window do you look at 1 year 2 year 5 year?

    Add executives panic that closes hiring for extended periods of time, so hiring goals are not met. 

    A long time ago a good friend of mine, brought out the mathematics of an individual hire and if a minority is said to be 20% represented that equates to a leg. You can't hire a leg.    

    That doesn't mean you can't do better, but you have to work harder to source your candidates and probably have a numeric pipeline bias toward recruiting under-represented groups (minority, gender, or age).  If your plan is to hire 3 people in a year, if one is an under-represented hire then it better be done in the first 2 hires because the third might not happen.   Much more likely to succeed in these goals if you are hiring 10 people not 2-3 

  • Samma Hafeez
    Samma Hafeez Member Posts: 24 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited July 2020
    Options

    I really hadn't considered the probability side of the hiring equation given how reactive most CS hiring efforts tend to be. Really great point about exerting extra effort to improve representation for the first couple of hires. Will be applying that as I go forward!

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited July 2020
    Options

    Interesting point @Scott Hopper! I think we're lucky that CS is a relatively new profession - that should make it easier than other professions to build pipelines with more representation of under-represented groups for a few reasons:

    1. The dreaded "years of experience" criteria is theoretically lower, making it easier for those with no/limited CS experience but transferable skills to apply and be interviewed.  Rejection due to years of experience at resume review stage biases hiring because it continues status quo of under-representation: "you can't get experience in CS because you don't have experience in CS."
    2. Over the last couple of years there has been much more demand for CS roles than there is supply (excluding COVID-19 era), so folks without CS experience, but transferable skills, are more likely to be considered.
    3. In my experience, the role of CSM is well-suited for people without direct CS experience - some of my best hires came from other sectors and industries.  When hiring, I'm looking for the "holy trinity" of commercial acumen, technical aptitude, and domain expertise.  But each of those areas can be informed by experience other than CS.  Retail or hospitality roles have pretty transferable skills.  Experience in the domain you'll be a CSM for is especially transferable - ie: you do marketing and want to be a MarTech CSM. 

    Because CS is still so new, there are tons of people out there who have never heard of it but would actually be really good.  If we make the effort to diversify candidate pools and cast wider nets, the preconditions mentioned above serve us well to actually move the needle.  Just one guy's opinion!