The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 4 months ago

Ep 91: How Start-Ups Can Run Customer Success w/ Sydney Strader

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 91: How Start-Ups Can Run Customer Success with Sydney Strader, Head of CS at Catalyst 

Part of the "Thank God It's Monday" series, hosted by Tom Alaimo.

Thank God, it's monday. Welcome back tothe revenue Collective podcast. This is your host Tom Alamo. This is whererevenue leaders learn the tips, the tactics, the tricks that they need tobe successful in their roles. I'm happy to present some of this content to you.So I got a great episode with Sydney Straighter before we get to her to aquick shout out to drift. This episode is brought to you by drift. More than50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increase customer lifetimevalue faster drift, helps their customers align sales and marketing ona single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people arefree to have a conversation with the business at any time on their terms,learn more at drift dot com also had some drift guess recently. David canceland Julian Thompson to name a few. So let's get to today's podcast. I gotSydney Straighter. Sydney comes from the world of customer success, customersuccess startups and you know, is that polar mobile for a while. She was thatin fluid of at envision now she is running, she's the head of customersuccess over at catalyst software. She's got a great track record, she'sgot enthusiasm, energy. I think you're really going to enjoy this episode andlet's just get straight into it out with my conversation with SydneyStraighter. Alright, Sydney Straighter, Good morning, Welcome to the revenueCollective podcast. How are you? Good morning! I'm doing well. Thanks. Howare you? I am doing great. Where are you calling in from in the world? I amcalling in from my hometown of rent for Ontario in Canada. Pretty small town,lots of cows, you know, country farm girl kind of kind of vibe. Okay, okay.I like that. Did you? Is that that's where you grew up like in the farmland?Yes, grew up here in Renfrew and made my way back in the pandemic. Similar to,I think a lot of folks that I came off a snowboarding trip, I originally livedin a Toronto condo and happened to be here and uh, never left. Uh, and thenjust recently bought a house. I'm not leaving anytime soon. Wow, that's alife changing event. Life changing snowboard trip. Exactly. That's awesome.Did you grow up like on an actual farm or just in farm country? I did not justfarm country. Okay. That's like a weird kind of like, not obsession, but aweird, like almost life goals, like to have some sort of a small farm and veryintrigued by that lifestyle. We did have a horse and we had a donkey aswell, but it was another farm like nearby in terms of where they wereboarded. So we went to visit frequently, but we did not actually live on thefarm with the horse and a donkey ourselves. Well that's hey, if you'vegot a horse and a donkey, that's like, that's pretty legit. Yeah, barnaby waslegit. The donkey. He was, he was, he was the star of the show. That'sawesome. So I want to talk to you a lot about customer success today. Really.The sweet spot, the strength for you...

...and you've been in the space sincebefore. It was cool. It's kind of like been hot in the streets. I feel likethe last few years everyone's talking about all these different companiesthat are in it and more people have that as a title, but you've been in itfor almost a decade now. It looks like just based on linkedin. So I'd love tohear you talk about kind of the early days of customer success and how that'sevolved over time. Yeah, it was kind of funny. I mean, I didn't even know thatcustomer success was the thing. Again, like, I don't know if that was just byvirtue of me being from a small town and only knowing kind of like the, thestandard jobs enrolled. But I came out of school and was eager to to get a jobafter university and was looking at different opportunities. There was areally cool Toronto startup called Polar Mobile at the time rebrandedPolar and uh they were looking for someone in support and I was like, Ilove problem solving, I love working with people. This seems like, you know,be up my alley. I had taken marketing in school, so it wasn't necessarilydirectly aligned to where I focused my education, but all in all, I was moreeager to get a job than anything else. And that was really like my first forayinto customer success. It started with support, that role ultimately evolvedinto more of like an account management motion, did everything from onboardingcustomers implementation, seeing through like the post on boardingexperience than the renewal expansion. And so that was like, I just reallyfell into it, didn't even know it was a thing and it naturally evolved and astime has gone on, it's just become more and more of an established functionwithin organizations, which has been pretty cool to see. Yeah, and I'minterested in your role now at catalyst obviously, you know, running customersuccess there, but it looked like on linkedin, there's also like you're acustomer success coach, some sorts. I'd love to, I was intrigued by that, I'dlove to hear you explain what that means and what you're doing. Yeah. Soone of the really great initiative that catalyst has put on and props to ourhead of marketing mike roberts and, and Ben Win, they put together a coachingcorner program and the need that they identified in the market for folks inCS particularly was one, you've got leaders who want to give back, right.They've gotten to where they've gotten to through mentorship, learningopportunities to speak and learn from others. And you've got, you know, folksthat are looking to be mentored by those who have had experience and uh,you know, established themselves in customer success throughout theircareer. And so this was really an opportunity, a program to be puttogether to help bring those folks that want to mentor and want to be mentoredin customer success together and the program is taken off. I know Ben, youknow, max's capacity and we hired another, you know, individual to helpwith the management of that program because we've just seen such highdemand. And yes, so I have the fortune of being a coach to a couple of folks Ihave um mentoring right now, so it's been a great opportunity. And so arethose folks are at catalysts? Are those folks know? Yeah, so for example, Ihave someone at slack that I'm entering right now, that would be considered oneof the players. I'm the coach and uh, you know, I think for me as well, likeI learned so much sometimes you don't...

...realize, I find, you know, you'reworking in a startup, fast paced environment, like what have you learnedand connecting the dots. It's not until you're like, regurgitating it tosomeone else with what you learned from it and you're like, oh yes, that was mytakeaway and that's what I would do differently. So I fundamentallyvaluable, But yeah, it's open to anyone. You don't have to be a catalyst, youdon't have to be a coach from catalyst, you don't have to be a player lookingto be mentored from catalyst. It's open to anyone in the whole wide world. Mhm.What are some of the challenges that you see, a lot of folks that areearlier in their career, in the customer success world face? I thinkthere's a couple key themes. One is just, you know, they want to have animpact and they want to grow their career and I think a lot of folks justlike anchor around the title and the promotion path and how do I get that?But often times, you know, when we're going through the mentoring sessions,it's unpacking that a little bit further to understand truly what thedrivers are for that, that motivation and the desire for that progressionfrom an organizational leadership ladder standpoint. And I think anotherpiece is just like capacity and bandwidth and like trying to find thebalance in, you know, a customer success role, you very much are at likethe cross strings through an organization and it can become veryoverwhelming and everyone wants to do a great job. And I think the function ofcustomer success is still trying to be solidified as well, right? It isrelatively new function as you were chatting about. So I think a lot offolks are looking for guidance on like Sid what makes a baller customersuccess manager and what, you know, what can I do to ultimately be able tosucceed in this role and take on more responsibility and continue to grow mycareer, whether that is continuing down an individual contributor path orwhether that's expanding into management motions as well. So I thinkthat those are, those are the most common ones that I'm hearing. How do Ifocus, where do I focus to have the biggest impact? And uh, where will thatultimately take me? You know, I'm starting to see I'm in sales and I'vebeen in sales my whole career. I'm curious. I'm starting to see more beDRS and Sdrs as they get promoted. I felt like, you know, a few years ago,the obvious answer is that they were going to be an account executive andnow I'm starting to see them go sometimes into marketing, sometimesinto customer success, into some of these other roles. I'm curious as aleader, are you looking at some of the young, like sales talent as prospectivefolks that might fit fit better into a CS or versus being a closer? Yeah, 100%.We had an amazing track at envision where there were tons of B. D. R. S.Who ultimately moved into the CSR and work their way up. I mean we hadmultiple CSM is that I could name, that went from a B. D. R. Into a what wecall like our sMB market in terms of customer success manager who then gotpromoted to enterprise, who then got promoted into our strategic segment.You know, managing the IBMS of the world. So definitely very much a skillset that is polished in the BDR world. Martial peacock, one of the strongestCSM that I worked with, both that in...

...fluid tiv and at envision he, we workedtogether at two companies. He started off in the BDR space and I think likethe resiliency you build up as a BDR in terms of like you just pound thepavement, right? And you've got to accept no and you don't accept no. Soyou keep going, going, going. Like there are a lot of skill sets with theB. D. R. S and also like the intentionality behind communicationstyle and the creativity associated with that, which I think brings a lotto customer success and particularly the customer experience you deliver andthey're also very outcomes focus, right? Because you have someone's very shortattention span to be able to get a point across in terms of the value andthe pain that you're trying to help himself when you're engaging as a BDR.And so those are just like couple attributes that I really noticed inmarshall specifically that he brought to his CSM role and really thrived andas a result shout out to Marshal Marshals boss, Love Marshall. Uh Welove you marshal. So I think a common question that a lot of folks have thatare running customer success at a smaller, fast growing startup companiesthat I feel like sometimes it might feel like you're going in two oppositedirections. Like you're trying to get all of these new customers on board,You're trying to grow and grow in scale and scale and you know, on the customersuccess side. I feel like you get often probably put in a really tough positionwhere sales is maybe bringing in deals that maybe they shouldn't be or arereally tough fits or you know, it's this end of quarter push and now all ofa sudden it's it's on your team to make sure that we find success. We'regrowing the customer, we're working with them, we're making sure thatthey're getting value out of whatever we're selling. I'd love to hear youjust talk about like, what are the keys to growing the customer success or, andmaking it successful when it's such a fast pace and fast growing environment?Yeah, it's a great question. I think it starts with that partnership betweenthe CS and the sales leader and it's not like sales versus CS or C. S versussales. It's like we are one like its catalyst, successor catalysts, you know,not being successful and we know where we want to, we want to land in beingmutually successful. So as a CS leader, I understand we're going to push theenvelope, right, we're gonna try and, you know, see what type of customers wecan bring on and who we can make successful. But I don't see that aslike, you know, kevin, as our Ceo and head of sales right now is trying toscrew CS over by throwing customers that aren't a good fit. We'vesolidified around like what are the common attributes that we knowultimately make it customer successful. And quite frankly, you don't know untilyou know, right. And sometimes that means, you know, expanding the net alittle bit to see what are these attributes and over time looking at thedata to go, hey, if a customer doesn't have an established salesforceinfrastructure, then quite frankly, they're not going to be able to get thefull value that we think will ultimately drive retention and growthwith them as a customer as an example. So I think that that's 11 piece and twois, you know, just like leaning on the data. I think that as a CS leader, youreally are the central source of truth...

...for sending signals to the business interms of what's working and what's not. And I think as long as you and yourcollective team and the sales team are all on the same page of hey, you know,it's not about pointing fingers, it's about learning and not making the samemistake twice and just being very candid about like what, what we'reseeing is working and what we're seeing that it's not working and what we'regoing to continue to do and what we're going to stop doing. You ultimately getto that product market fit and that rope, right profile customer that youcan then just like double down on as a collective group. So what are some ofthose data points that you're looking at and how does that impact? Maybe someof the decisions that you make and course correct. Yeah. I mean, I thinkyou have like the kind of like a higher level which are like what's the companysize, what's the team size, what's you know, the the infrastructure that theyhave today? And then I think you get down to more of the micro and thespecificity relative to your business. So in the context of catalyst, you know,are we dealing with customers that have a single segment for their customerbase or do they have segmentation in terms of like they've got you know techtouch motion and they've got a high touch motion and they may have like anultra high touch motion where CSM s have 1 to 5 customers in their book ofbusiness and trying to get down to that more micro level. I think the more datayou have at your disposal the better. And I think there's also you know asmuch as you can lean on the data then there's the actual conversations withcustomers. And I think that that is, is critically important to just speak tocustomers candidly about the value that they're getting or not. We have ahealth score, a catalyst that we've put in place that's around driven by dataprimarily, which is around activation of licenses, distributed and theongoing adoption based on those licences. So as a core customer successplatform, customers using as five out of five days a week would be the goal.And you know, when the hell score indicates to me that we've got acustomer at risk due to low adoption, I actually send an email to the customerand I go like, hey, data doesn't tell the whole story, but this is what I'mseeing in terms of activation and adoption. This is what my understandingin terms of value. We're trying to get my off based on the data isn't tellingme an inaccurate story or do we, you know, would be valuable for us to geton a call and chat through some of the challenges that you're facing. And Idid that recently with the customer and they're like, no super helpful to seethis data. And quite frankly, we're going through some pretty significantor changes here, but it would be helpful to get on a call to chatthrough how catalysts can best support us through that. We jumped on that call.We had about three takeaways that we followed up on to support them. And youknow, we've actually seen that the adoption and activation has increasedagain over the last couple days and they're no longer considered an at riskcustomers. So I think, you know, you just want to make sure that you've gotthose signals in place and also know that data doesn't tell the whole storybut can be the initial activation that you need to then take action to dig into better understand what's going on. Would you be looking at thoseactivation numbers throughout the whole life cycle? Are you more keen to lookin the first few months to make sure that they're adopting properly? I'mcurious. Yeah, we're looking at it throughout the entire lifecycle butthere's definitely an emphasis on the...

...initial on boarding, right? Because Ithink there's a lot of data to support that those 1st, 30, 60-90 days of acustomer on boarding a tool are imperative in that first impressioncounts as well. So I wouldn't say it's limited to just doubling down on thatpost on boarding once the teams trained and enabled, it is looking at itholistically because things can change right? We had a customer who gotacquired recently and you know, we very quickly saw some of the adjustments inthe data to reflect that. Um and they're, they're mature customer in thecontext of like they didn't onboard recently. They've been with us for sometime. So just making sure that we are looking at it holistically covers arebasis. Yeah, I love the idea of speaking candidly with them and asking,you know, if you see an issue and just saying, hey, this is the day of tellingthe full story. I had a situation recently where it was something verysimilar to that and we're on the call and the guy goes and I assured risklike they were like uh kinda and it was, it was just this funny moment that kindof got passed around the company. Just like if you have those types ofconversations, you're more likely to be able to kind of find the solution and,and work a path forward versus just crossing your fingers and hoping itgets better. Yeah, 100%. I think we just have to like also, you know,emulate our customers world, which is like, it's noisy, right? Like the, I'vegot calls until you know, God knows what our today doing a podcast doing.You know, I already had another meeting about hiring, I got three interviews,like there's just so much noise going on at any given time that while as acatalyst, it's our priority to make sure customers getting value, like andthey inherently want value from our product. They don't necessarily knowhow to go about getting it. So to be really transparent to go like, hey, youknow, executive sponsor who purchase catalyst, I just want to bring to yourattention that we think you may not be getting the full value from this. It atleast brings it to the forefront for them and to your leaning into beingsolution oriented to help them ensure that they're getting the value because12 months can go by real fast and next thing, you know, you're like, wait,what we didn't, you know, achieve ultimately we're trying to achieve. SoI think being proactive and you know, leaning into the tough conversation andgetting to the bottom of it, goes along with and I know we're getting a littlebit tactical with this podcast, but hopefully it's helpful for for folksthat are actually in the trenches and, you know, trying to, you know,operationalize their CS organ. I'm curious like how do you do, how do youoperationalize where again, your work almost specifically at fast growingstartups, where there's all this chaos going on, but you need tooperationalize, you know, what's our kickoff process? What how often are wedoing business reviews with customers? What type of data are we checking? Likecan you walk through like the key points that you need to standardize oroperationalized in your orig? Yeah, for sure. I think it starts with just likeat a high level, you know, A A to B where's a customer going right fromlike the marketing engagement, through to working with sales, through to ourimplementation onboarding team and and onward. So I think just like I'm a bigfan of Miro in terms of just like visually mapping out whiteboard style,what that would look like and then you...

...get into the specificity to your point.So I think, you know, for us we have specialized certain roles in ourcustomer experience we want to deliver. So we've got an implementation team andthey are solely responsible For shipping customers in a healthy state,which means of the folks that were assigned to seat and catalyst. They areactively using catalyst and of the folks that are actively using catalystsare in there, you know 3-5 days out of the week and we're starting to buildthat muscle memory because a huge component is the change managementmotion, right? You can buy a tool with the best of intentions, but you found amethod to your madness every day. I found a method to my madness every day.And so we've got to disrupt our habits in order to re establish new habitswithin within the platform. And so then yeah, it's just literally mapping outall of these respective engagements. And I think, you know, for us, thequestion we ask ourselves is like what do we want a customer to be walkingaway from this? You know, function with. So like as an example if you're inonboarding, what do we want a customer to be able to walk away with? And we'vegot our health score as a measure to effectively assess. Did we or did wenot achieve that? We also send it a satisfaction survey afterwards to getfeedback on the implementation manager, you know, were they educated andinformed and prescriptive about our product where they, you know, able toprovide deep insights relative to your business and give recommendations interms of how to build it in catalyst. Did you feel supported? Like we've gota number of questions and so I think it's just chunking it out in each ofthe respective functions that you have, representing those areas of thebusiness, understanding what the outputs are. But more importantly toyour point like getting tactical on documenting what those inputs are thatultimately is going to drive those outcomes. So in our onboarding process,we have a very tactical checklist of here, all the actions and activities tobe taken by an implementation manager to ensure that we are producing acustomer that's healthy and gives us a high satisfaction rating. Mm Andthere's a quote that I love from drifts ceo David cancel that. He says that thewhoever gets closest to the customer wins. And I think that obviously hasrepercussions for for customer success. But I think that there's so many otherparts of the business and departments that need to know what the voice of thecustomer sounds like from marketing to product to, you know, sales so on andso forth. So I'm curious like you talked about your collaboration withsales, but if customer successes that kind of like the heart of theorganization, if it's driving the company forward, what other ways do youdo that? How else do you work with other departments to help yourcommunications with the customer affect everyone else at the company? Yeah,it's a great question. I think it starts with sitting down with each ofthose respective partners and understanding what they're trying toachieve in their respective function and how they want to collect thoseinputs in a really great example is our product team. Oftentimes there can betension between CS and product, right? How do you construct a road map that'sprioritized accordingly and reflective of what, you know, CSS hearing from ourcustomers on the front line to feel like we're able to provide them adirection and innovation in our product that's aligned to addressing some ofthe pains that they're having. Product,...

...trying to achieve the same with thebest of intentions but has a barrier in between more often than not relative tohow close CS can be to that. So we sat down with our product team and a linethat like yes, we've got a common goal of making sure that what, you know, ourcustomer's perspective and voice is representative of the road map andwhere we're headed. And then it got down to again, going to tactically likehow does one want to receive that in product? Because the last thing we wantto do on the C. S. Side is create noise that isn't actionable and it's sooverwhelming, you can't see the forest for the trees and you're trying tofigure out where do we go from here? So in catalyst we created a note template,but it was constructed by our product team and they have clearly outlinedlike when I am, I'm trying to so that I can and they basically gave us astructure of filling this information for every feature request that's comingfrom a customer. And then we triaged that on the product side and then thatis basically compiled into themes and then we are consistently on a two weekrotation, reviewing that as a CS team and an engineering product design teamas well as sales on what our roadmap direction is and what we'reprioritizing and why. And the beauty of that is it pulls in one, all of theinformation that product feels is relevant to them, that they can digestand actually action to its objective in the sense that it pulls through thelogo of the customer who has requested this in addition to the revenueassociated with it. So we can see, hey look, we've got millions of dollarsrepresentative of customers who are asking for email and that is veryhelpful for us when we're looking at all of the many feature request to go,where do we make our bets and why? So that's uh, that's an example. But Iwould say that's the model like one sit down with the team that you're tryingto partner with to understand what outcomes they're trying to drive andthree understand what inputs you can provide them in a fashion that'sdigestible so that they can truly have the voice of the customer reflect themand you'll get to a great place. So constant communication with marketing,sales and our MPD engineering product and design teams. We also havesolutions like brings us to the center to your point, the heart of theorganization. We have a slack channel. So any time we're getting insights fromcustomers, anytime in NPS is given any time we have feedback, you know, goodor constructive, all of it shared there so that there's cross, crossorganization visibility into what we're hearing from our customers. Oftenyou'll see team members throwing in chorus snippets or like shout out toparticular members on our team based on feedback that we've gotten fromcustomers. So that's a really great way to just keep customers at the center.The last example that I'll tell you is, you know, if a customer returns,obviously not ultimately what anyone wants to achieve, but to your pointearlier is like lesson learned, right? What a sales learned from this, whichis marketing learned from this, which is engineering product design and yes,learn from this. And so, you know, we're experimenting with bringingcustomers onto a company wide call to talk about why they turned and what itwould take to win them back and what we could do differently and why that wouldhave prevented the situation in the...

...first place. So we've got our first onecoming up in a month. I'll let you know how that goes, but that's somethingthat we're looking. Hopefully it's not a routine thing that we're going to bedoing, but we want to take advantage of the opportunity as a really good,valuable learning lesson for everyone because as much as in CS will try andsynthesize, you know, here's why a customer turned. It lands a lotdifferently when you hear it from a customer directly, and also whycustomers are renewing and making sure that that is is as equally as visibleto the organization, because that's a huge win for all and helps give usindicators of where we should continue to focus. So what's the incentive forthe customer that churned to get on the call with you or with the whole come? Idon't know if the whole company is on the call, if they just listenafterwards, but what's the incentive for them to share their honest feedbackon that? Yeah, I mean, really it's, it's them as a great human being to beperfectly honest, they, they really are just, you know, making an investmentback in us to learn and you know, there may be some therapeutic elements to itof like, hey, my voice is going to be heard because there could have beenfrustrations along the way and I want to ensure that this is prevented. But Igenuinely think that they're, they're doing it out of the kindness of theirhearts as an investment in us to learn. And the beauty of catalyst is like whenyou're working with CS professionals, they've been in your shoes, right? Andso they have a lot of empathy for like, hey, yeah, I know how valuable it canbe to an organization, to be able to hear this information firsthand from acustomer's. So I'd be more than happy to jump on a call for 30 minutes andhave an open Q and a with your team to dig into where we got value and wherewe missed the mark and what we would love to see in terms of futureinnovations from catalyst, future experiences, from catalyst that wouldhave us coming back and super excited about it. That's a great idea. And you,I love Sidney the passion that you're bringing to customer success, youobviously have a wealth of knowledge from all of your experience. I'mcurious what are some of the top resources, be it a book, a podcast,someone to follow on linkedin, a blog, whatever it is that in the customersuccess space that's helped you or that you recommend to other people. Yeah,it's a good question. I honestly wish I had a lot more time to spend on that.Um and so for me it really is just digesting from from a lot of thepersonal contacts and network that I have every day. I was catching up thismorning with uh the former manager on my team and envision spitballing ideasoff of him and and getting feedback. And that's just been incrediblyvaluable. But for me, I think there's a lot of incredible resources out there.I think selfishly really love the M. P. S. I love you podcast. That catalysthas I think it just brings a really unique perspective from different folksthat bring customer centric city in some capacity to their uniqueenvironment but all different flavors. So that's a big one. I think the ganggrow retain crew is consistently pumping out a lot of really greatcontent as well. So a couple out there that are accessible resources for you.What was the one your name and P. S. I love you and P. S. I love you. Yesdemos are revenue Ops, he gets props for that creative inspiration. Hemarketing is throwing out always in you know in slack. You know, here here'swhat we're going with. What are the...

...recommendations in terms of title anddemos might have a future in marketing in addition to rev ops if he everwanted it. That's an epic podcast name. I love that. You got to check it out.It's a great one. That's awesome. So obviously we're on the RevenueCollective podcast. So I'd love to hear you talk for just a minute around howyou leverage the community. There's, there's so many ways like if it's slackor if it's meetings one on one with people or events or the playbooks orwhatever it might be, I'd love to hear any tips that you, you leverage thiscommunity for and then also just networking as a whole and tapping thatnetwork, especially for such a growing community, like CS it seems to bepretty tight knit. So how you leverage that to help you get better at your jobas well. Yeah, I mean, I think like linkedin is naturally a great place tostart, right. And you know, even just following folks or connecting withfolks that are in customer success and you know, some are big avid heads downsharing content type of folks and others aren't. So I think that that'sjust something you have to be intentional about is is there are a lotof incredible CS folks out there that are not out there sharing content eachand every single day, so one just like you know, digest what you can based onwhat's being shared publicly and double down. I was recently had theopportunity to present on a webinar, and the individual that presented infront of me was like absolutely ball or CS and I was like hey we should connectafterwards and I'm going to ask you to be my mentor if that's cool because Ithink that your strengths are areas that I would love to continue to refineand double down on. So I think like you just have to be opportunistic and awareof like what resonates with you and why I would say I've got like mentor on theC. S. Side which is immensely valuable. I also have like mentors on theleadership side to try and around me out there as well and and I think I'vejust been intentional II reality is I don't have a ton of time and I have tobe really intentional about you know who I'm following it and why for whatinformation I'm trying to to consume. So I think just trying to be as focusedas possible in that regard goes a long way and then you know one thing that Ithink I think I shared this with our C. R. O. And V. PFCs when I was atenvision but like who are the folks that you're working with today that youwill regret not having a deeper relationship with if both of you choseto move on tomorrow because so often, like you're in the environment withthese incredibly brilliant folks, but today, more than any time you havesomething immensely valuable to connect on, that's meaningful to the two of you,which is the company you're at today. And oftentimes when you both move on,it's hard to re establish that connection or hard to really go to thedepths of which this connection could have been made when you don't have thatsame foundation that you once had as the company that you work for. Sothat's something that I've reflected on and tried to be very okay andintentional about which are like who are the people that I'm working withtoday that like, rest assured I'm going to go as deep in the relationship as Ican with them to just learn so that...

...that relationship can carry on and Ifeel like that compounded between polar between influence between envision andnow catalyst Every day. You know, if you look at my calendar over theduration of a week, I have spoken with someone from every one of thoseorganizations consistently for the last 10 years of my career. So it's justlike snowballs over time, which is really cool. Yeah. And you seem to do areally great job of kind of like this plus minus thing where it's like you'rehelping people that are earlier on in their career that are still trying tolike figure this whole thing out while also tapping people that are moreestablished or doing different things are unique things that you want tolearn from and just trying to learn from both of those areas, which I thinkis amazing. So I want to applaud you for that. Well I appreciate, I learnedso much. It's not necessarily about like years of experience and who hasdone why, like that perspective is helpful, but the folks that I mentor,like they meant for me and I absolutely love it. I learned from them everysingle time and so that's really valuable and it feels good obviously tobe able to give back because I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't forthe many people who invested in me here early on in my career and stillcontinue to invest in me. So anything I can do to help them game, that'sawesome. Sydney, is there anything that we didn't get to that you were dying totalk about? You know, we're getting into somewhat short on time? No, Idon't. I think we covered some really good ground I think, you know, to theexacts out there, one thing that is big for me is obviously hiring andrecruiting talent and showing a career path and growth and you know one thingthat I really love is to invest early in a framework to help CS teamsunderstand what great looks like but also giving them the autonomy to beable to build their way there independently in addition to thesupport that I provide from a coaching and development standpoint and one ofthe kind of I think biggest levers missed often by C. S. Leaders are themuscle memory of enforcing, reinforcing, encouraging enforcing would not be theright word, we're encouraging your team to get feedback from their customersand to be very open and vulnerable in wanting to get feedback. Hey you knowwe just had a QB are at the end of this cube, er I'm going to say five minutesfor feedback. What was super valuable from this cube? Er what would you loveto see differently next time? Any feedback for me in terms of deliveryand have the CSM incorporate that kind of feedback loop for themselvesindependently in their engagement with customers. So it's not dependent on onyou. And I think that as a CSM you can very much accelerate your growth whenyou lean on multiple people to give you feedback and don't just have thisdependency of like hey, my boss is the one that's responsible for giving mefeedback and therefore I will grow dependent on how much feedback my bossgives me. What are they doing to self assess themselves and then what arethey doing to lean into source feedback from other areas customers being at thecore of giving you what you really want to be hearing. And it also on thecustomer side probably makes them feel good to be involved in that process,Right? And give feedback and say, hey, you know, you did a B and C really well,but D I didn't, you know, you could...

...have added more here or whatever it is,and then next time they get a better product as a return 100% and nothing ismore, you know, confidence inducing, then hey, I gave feedback and it waslistened to and then they're off to the races. So I think that that's a that'sa huge piece and um, you know, for me, I I incorporate that into the growthand development plans that I have for my team as like an expectation, whichis like, it's my expectation that you're asking your customers forfeedback routinely and you're using that as an investment in your owngrowth and development of how to continue to refine delivering anamazing customer experience a catalyst. Yeah, I love that Sydney for, I knowyou're incredibly busy, so I appreciate the time I've spent and I know thatsome folks will probably want to connect with you after the show too.Just get to know you better or maybe ask specific questions. What would bethe best place for anyone to reach out? Yeah, for sure. Hit me up on linkedin.Sydney Straighter and that would definitely be the best place, awesome.Thanks so much Sidney, This is a blast. My pleasure. All right, thanks forchecking out that episode while you were cooking lunch or taking a walk oryou know, feeding your pet turtle or whatever you're doing right now,appreciate it. You can add me on linkedin, My name's Tom Alamo, I workover at gong Co host this podcast every monday. Let's also wrap this up with aquick shout out from our sponsor. Again, this episode was brought to you bydrift, the new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and getthe conversation started at drift dot com until next week. Get after it,wishing you well and I'll talk to you next monday piece. Say something. Mhm.

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