The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 to the revenue Collective podcast. This is your host Tom Alamo. This is where revenue leaders learn the tips, the tactics, the tricks that they need to be 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 a quick shout out to drift. This episode is brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers align sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free 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 cancel and Julian Thompson to name a few. So let's get to today's podcast. I got Sydney Straighter. Sydney comes from the world of customer success, customer success startups and you know, is that polar mobile for a while. She was that in fluid of at envision now she is running, she's the head of customer success over at catalyst software. She's got a great track record, she's got enthusiasm, energy. I think you're really going to enjoy this episode and let's just get straight into it out with my conversation with Sydney Straighter. Alright, Sydney Straighter, Good morning, Welcome to the revenue Collective podcast. How are you? Good morning! I'm doing well. Thanks. How are you? I am doing great. Where are you calling in from in the world? I am calling 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 lived in a Toronto condo and happened to be here and uh, never left. Uh, and then just recently bought a house. I'm not leaving anytime soon. Wow, that's a life 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 just farm country. Okay. That's like a weird kind of like, not obsession, but a weird, like almost life goals, like to have some sort of a small farm and very intrigued by that lifestyle. We did have a horse and we had a donkey as well, but it was another farm like nearby in terms of where they were boarded. So we went to visit frequently, but we did not actually live on the farm with the horse and a donkey ourselves. Well that's hey, if you've got a horse and a donkey, that's like, that's pretty legit. Yeah, barnaby was legit. The donkey. He was, he was, he was the star of the show. That's awesome. 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 since before. It was cool. It's kind of like been hot in the streets. I feel like the last few years everyone's talking about all these different companies that are in it and more people have that as a title, but you've been in it for almost a decade now. It looks like just based on linkedin. So I'd love to hear you talk about kind of the early days of customer success and how that's evolved over time. Yeah, it was kind of funny. I mean, I didn't even know that customer success was the thing. Again, like, I don't know if that was just by virtue of me being from a small town and only knowing kind of like the, the standard jobs enrolled. But I came out of school and was eager to to get a job after university and was looking at different opportunities. There was a really cool Toronto startup called Polar Mobile at the time rebranded Polar and uh they were looking for someone in support and I was like, I love 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 necessarily directly aligned to where I focused my education, but all in all, I was more eager to get a job than anything else. And that was really like my first foray into customer success. It started with support, that role ultimately evolved into more of like an account management motion, did everything from onboarding customers implementation, seeing through like the post on boarding experience than the renewal expansion. And so that was like, I just really fell into it, didn't even know it was a thing and it naturally evolved and as time has gone on, it's just become more and more of an established function within organizations, which has been pretty cool to see. Yeah, and I'm interested in your role now at catalyst obviously, you know, running customer success there, but it looked like on linkedin, there's also like you're a customer success coach, some sorts. I'd love to, I was intrigued by that, I'd love to hear you explain what that means and what you're doing. Yeah. So one of the really great initiative that catalyst has put on and props to our head of marketing mike roberts and, and Ben Win, they put together a coaching corner program and the need that they identified in the market for folks in CS particularly was one, you've got leaders who want to give back, right. They've gotten to where they've gotten to through mentorship, learning opportunities to speak and learn from others. And you've got, you know, folks that are looking to be mentored by those who have had experience and uh, you know, established themselves in customer success throughout their career. And so this was really an opportunity, a program to be put together to help bring those folks that want to mentor and want to be mentored in customer success together and the program is taken off. I know Ben, you know, max's capacity and we hired another, you know, individual to help with the management of that program because we've just seen such high demand. And yes, so I have the fortune of being a coach to a couple of folks I have um mentoring right now, so it's been a great opportunity. And so are those folks are at catalysts? Are those folks know? Yeah, so for example, I have someone at slack that I'm entering right now, that would be considered one of the players. I'm the coach and uh, you know, I think for me as well, like I learned so much sometimes you don't...

...realize, I find, you know, you're working in a startup, fast paced environment, like what have you learned and connecting the dots. It's not until you're like, regurgitating it to someone else with what you learned from it and you're like, oh yes, that was my takeaway and that's what I would do differently. So I fundamentally valuable, But yeah, it's open to anyone. You don't have to be a catalyst, you don't have to be a coach from catalyst, you don't have to be a player looking to 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 are earlier in their career, in the customer success world face? I think there's a couple key themes. One is just, you know, they want to have an impact and they want to grow their career and I think a lot of folks just like 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 the drivers are for that, that motivation and the desire for that progression from an organizational leadership ladder standpoint. And I think another piece is just like capacity and bandwidth and like trying to find the balance in, you know, a customer success role, you very much are at like the cross strings through an organization and it can become very overwhelming and everyone wants to do a great job. And I think the function of customer success is still trying to be solidified as well, right? It is relatively new function as you were chatting about. So I think a lot of folks are looking for guidance on like Sid what makes a baller customer success manager and what, you know, what can I do to ultimately be able to succeed in this role and take on more responsibility and continue to grow my career, whether that is continuing down an individual contributor path or whether that's expanding into management motions as well. So I think that those are, those are the most common ones that I'm hearing. How do I focus, where do I focus to have the biggest impact? And uh, where will that ultimately take me? You know, I'm starting to see I'm in sales and I've been in sales my whole career. I'm curious. I'm starting to see more be DRS 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 and now I'm starting to see them go sometimes into marketing, sometimes into customer success, into some of these other roles. I'm curious as a leader, are you looking at some of the young, like sales talent as prospective folks 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 had multiple CSM is that I could name, that went from a B. D. R. Into a what we call like our sMB market in terms of customer success manager who then got promoted to enterprise, who then got promoted into our strategic segment. You know, managing the IBMS of the world. So definitely very much a skill set that is polished in the BDR world. Martial peacock, one of the strongest CSM that I worked with, both that in...

...fluid tiv and at envision he, we worked together at two companies. He started off in the BDR space and I think like the resiliency you build up as a BDR in terms of like you just pound the pavement, right? And you've got to accept no and you don't accept no. So you keep going, going, going. Like there are a lot of skill sets with the B. D. R. S and also like the intentionality behind communication style and the creativity associated with that, which I think brings a lot to customer success and particularly the customer experience you deliver and they're also very outcomes focus, right? Because you have someone's very short attention span to be able to get a point across in terms of the value and the 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 in marshall specifically that he brought to his CSM role and really thrived and as a result shout out to Marshal Marshals boss, Love Marshall. Uh We love you marshal. So I think a common question that a lot of folks have that are running customer success at a smaller, fast growing startup companies that I feel like sometimes it might feel like you're going in two opposite directions. 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 customer success side. I feel like you get often probably put in a really tough position where sales is maybe bringing in deals that maybe they shouldn't be or are really tough fits or you know, it's this end of quarter push and now all of a sudden it's it's on your team to make sure that we find success. We're growing the customer, we're working with them, we're making sure that they're getting value out of whatever we're selling. I'd love to hear you just talk about like, what are the keys to growing the customer success or, and making 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 between the CS and the sales leader and it's not like sales versus CS or C. S versus sales. 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 being mutually successful. So as a CS leader, I understand we're going to push the envelope, right, we're gonna try and, you know, see what type of customers we can bring on and who we can make successful. But I don't see that as like, you know, kevin, as our Ceo and head of sales right now is trying to screw CS over by throwing customers that aren't a good fit. We've solidified around like what are the common attributes that we know ultimately make it customer successful. And quite frankly, you don't know until you know, right. And sometimes that means, you know, expanding the net a little bit to see what are these attributes and over time looking at the data to go, hey, if a customer doesn't have an established salesforce infrastructure, then quite frankly, they're not going to be able to get the full value that we think will ultimately drive retention and growth with them as a customer as an example. So I think that that's 11 piece and two is, you know, just like leaning on the data. I think that as a CS leader, you really are the central source of truth...

...for sending signals to the business in terms of what's working and what's not. And I think as long as you and your collective 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 same mistake twice and just being very candid about like what, what we're seeing is working and what we're seeing that it's not working and what we're going to continue to do and what we're going to stop doing. You ultimately get to that product market fit and that rope, right profile customer that you can then just like double down on as a collective group. So what are some of those data points that you're looking at and how does that impact? Maybe some of the decisions that you make and course correct. Yeah. I mean, I think you have like the kind of like a higher level which are like what's the company size, what's the team size, what's you know, the the infrastructure that they have today? And then I think you get down to more of the micro and the specificity relative to your business. So in the context of catalyst, you know, are we dealing with customers that have a single segment for their customer base or do they have segmentation in terms of like they've got you know tech touch motion and they've got a high touch motion and they may have like an ultra high touch motion where CSM s have 1 to 5 customers in their book of business and trying to get down to that more micro level. I think the more data you have at your disposal the better. And I think there's also you know as much as you can lean on the data then there's the actual conversations with customers. And I think that that is, is critically important to just speak to customers candidly about the value that they're getting or not. We have a health score, a catalyst that we've put in place that's around driven by data primarily, which is around activation of licenses, distributed and the ongoing adoption based on those licences. So as a core customer success platform, 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 a customer at risk due to low adoption, I actually send an email to the customer and I go like, hey, data doesn't tell the whole story, but this is what I'm seeing in terms of activation and adoption. This is what my understanding in terms of value. We're trying to get my off based on the data isn't telling me an inaccurate story or do we, you know, would be valuable for us to get on a call and chat through some of the challenges that you're facing. And I did that recently with the customer and they're like, no super helpful to see this data. And quite frankly, we're going through some pretty significant or changes here, but it would be helpful to get on a call to chat through 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 you know, we've actually seen that the adoption and activation has increased again over the last couple days and they're no longer considered an at risk customers. So I think, you know, you just want to make sure that you've got those signals in place and also know that data doesn't tell the whole story but can be the initial activation that you need to then take action to dig in to better understand what's going on. Would you be looking at those activation numbers throughout the whole life cycle? Are you more keen to look in the first few months to make sure that they're adopting properly? I'm curious. Yeah, we're looking at it throughout the entire lifecycle but there's definitely an emphasis on the...

...initial on boarding, right? Because I think there's a lot of data to support that those 1st, 30, 60-90 days of a customer on boarding a tool are imperative in that first impression counts as well. So I wouldn't say it's limited to just doubling down on that post on boarding once the teams trained and enabled, it is looking at it holistically because things can change right? We had a customer who got acquired recently and you know, we very quickly saw some of the adjustments in the data to reflect that. Um and they're, they're mature customer in the context of like they didn't onboard recently. They've been with us for some time. So just making sure that we are looking at it holistically covers are basis. 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 telling the full story. I had a situation recently where it was something very similar to that and we're on the call and the guy goes and I assured risk like they were like uh kinda and it was, it was just this funny moment that kind of got passed around the company. Just like if you have those types of conversations, 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 it gets 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've got 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 a catalyst, it's our priority to make sure customers getting value, like and they inherently want value from our product. They don't necessarily know how to go about getting it. So to be really transparent to go like, hey, you know, executive sponsor who purchase catalyst, I just want to bring to your attention that we think you may not be getting the full value from this. It at least brings it to the forefront for them and to your leaning into being solution oriented to help them ensure that they're getting the value because 12 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. So I think being proactive and you know, leaning into the tough conversation and getting to the bottom of it, goes along with and I know we're getting a little bit tactical with this podcast, but hopefully it's helpful for for folks that 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 you operationalize where again, your work almost specifically at fast growing startups, where there's all this chaos going on, but you need to operationalize, you know, what's our kickoff process? What how often are we doing business reviews with customers? What type of data are we checking? Like can you walk through like the key points that you need to standardize or operationalized in your orig? Yeah, for sure. I think it starts with just like at a high level, you know, A A to B where's a customer going right from like the marketing engagement, through to working with sales, through to our implementation onboarding team and and onward. So I think just like I'm a big fan 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 our customer experience we want to deliver. So we've got an implementation team and they are solely responsible For shipping customers in a healthy state, which means of the folks that were assigned to seat and catalyst. They are actively using catalyst and of the folks that are actively using catalysts are in there, you know 3-5 days out of the week and we're starting to build that muscle memory because a huge component is the change management motion, right? You can buy a tool with the best of intentions, but you found a method 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 habits within within the platform. And so then yeah, it's just literally mapping out all of these respective engagements. And I think, you know, for us, the question we ask ourselves is like what do we want a customer to be walking away from this? You know, function with. So like as an example if you're in onboarding, what do we want a customer to be able to walk away with? And we've got our health score as a measure to effectively assess. Did we or did we not achieve that? We also send it a satisfaction survey afterwards to get feedback on the implementation manager, you know, were they educated and informed and prescriptive about our product where they, you know, able to provide deep insights relative to your business and give recommendations in terms of how to build it in catalyst. Did you feel supported? Like we've got a number of questions and so I think it's just chunking it out in each of the respective functions that you have, representing those areas of the business, understanding what the outputs are. But more importantly to your point like getting tactical on documenting what those inputs are that ultimately is going to drive those outcomes. So in our onboarding process, we have a very tactical checklist of here, all the actions and activities to be taken by an implementation manager to ensure that we are producing a customer that's healthy and gives us a high satisfaction rating. Mm And there's a quote that I love from drifts ceo David cancel that. He says that the whoever gets closest to the customer wins. And I think that obviously has repercussions for for customer success. But I think that there's so many other parts of the business and departments that need to know what the voice of the customer sounds like from marketing to product to, you know, sales so on and so forth. So I'm curious like you talked about your collaboration with sales, but if customer successes that kind of like the heart of the organization, if it's driving the company forward, what other ways do you do that? How else do you work with other departments to help your communications with the customer affect everyone else at the company? Yeah, it's a great question. I think it starts with sitting down with each of those respective partners and understanding what they're trying to achieve in their respective function and how they want to collect those inputs in a really great example is our product team. Oftentimes there can be tension between CS and product, right? How do you construct a road map that's prioritized accordingly and reflective of what, you know, CSS hearing from our customers on the front line to feel like we're able to provide them a direction and innovation in our product that's aligned to addressing some of the pains that they're having. Product,...

...trying to achieve the same with the best of intentions but has a barrier in between more often than not relative to how close CS can be to that. So we sat down with our product team and a line that like yes, we've got a common goal of making sure that what, you know, our customer's perspective and voice is representative of the road map and where we're headed. And then it got down to again, going to tactically like how does one want to receive that in product? Because the last thing we want to do on the C. S. Side is create noise that isn't actionable and it's so overwhelming, you can't see the forest for the trees and you're trying to figure 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 outlined like when I am, I'm trying to so that I can and they basically gave us a structure of filling this information for every feature request that's coming from a customer. And then we triaged that on the product side and then that is basically compiled into themes and then we are consistently on a two week rotation, reviewing that as a CS team and an engineering product design team as well as sales on what our roadmap direction is and what we're prioritizing and why. And the beauty of that is it pulls in one, all of the information that product feels is relevant to them, that they can digest and actually action to its objective in the sense that it pulls through the logo of the customer who has requested this in addition to the revenue associated with it. So we can see, hey look, we've got millions of dollars representative of customers who are asking for email and that is very helpful 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 I would say that's the model like one sit down with the team that you're trying to partner with to understand what outcomes they're trying to drive and three understand what inputs you can provide them in a fashion that's digestible so that they can truly have the voice of the customer reflect them and you'll get to a great place. So constant communication with marketing, sales and our MPD engineering product and design teams. We also have solutions like brings us to the center to your point, the heart of the organization. We have a slack channel. So any time we're getting insights from customers, anytime in NPS is given any time we have feedback, you know, good or constructive, all of it shared there so that there's cross, cross organization visibility into what we're hearing from our customers. Often you'll see team members throwing in chorus snippets or like shout out to particular members on our team based on feedback that we've gotten from customers. 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 point earlier is like lesson learned, right? What a sales learned from this, which is marketing learned from this, which is engineering product design and yes, learn from this. And so, you know, we're experimenting with bringing customers onto a company wide call to talk about why they turned and what it would take to win them back and what we could do differently and why that would have prevented the situation in the...

...first place. So we've got our first one coming up in a month. I'll let you know how that goes, but that's something that we're looking. Hopefully it's not a routine thing that we're going to be doing, 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 and synthesize, you know, here's why a customer turned. It lands a lot differently when you hear it from a customer directly, and also why customers are renewing and making sure that that is is as equally as visible to the organization, because that's a huge win for all and helps give us indicators of where we should continue to focus. So what's the incentive for the customer that churned to get on the call with you or with the whole come? I don't know if the whole company is on the call, if they just listen afterwards, but what's the incentive for them to share their honest feedback on that? Yeah, I mean, really it's, it's them as a great human being to be perfectly honest, they, they really are just, you know, making an investment back in us to learn and you know, there may be some therapeutic elements to it of like, hey, my voice is going to be heard because there could have been frustrations along the way and I want to ensure that this is prevented. But I genuinely think that they're, they're doing it out of the kindness of their hearts as an investment in us to learn. And the beauty of catalyst is like when you're working with CS professionals, they've been in your shoes, right? And so they have a lot of empathy for like, hey, yeah, I know how valuable it can be to an organization, to be able to hear this information firsthand from a customer's. So I'd be more than happy to jump on a call for 30 minutes and have an open Q and a with your team to dig into where we got value and where we missed the mark and what we would love to see in terms of future innovations from catalyst, future experiences, from catalyst that would have 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, you obviously have a wealth of knowledge from all of your experience. I'm curious 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 customer success 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 the personal contacts and network that I have every day. I was catching up this morning with uh the former manager on my team and envision spitballing ideas off of him and and getting feedback. And that's just been incredibly valuable. 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 catalyst has I think it just brings a really unique perspective from different folks that bring customer centric city in some capacity to their unique environment but all different flavors. So that's a big one. I think the gang grow retain crew is consistently pumping out a lot of really great content 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. Yes demos are revenue Ops, he gets props for that creative inspiration. He marketing is throwing out always in you know in slack. You know, here here's what we're going with. What are the...

...recommendations in terms of title and demos might have a future in marketing in addition to rev ops if he ever wanted 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 Revenue Collective podcast. So I'd love to hear you talk for just a minute around how you leverage the community. There's, there's so many ways like if it's slack or if it's meetings one on one with people or events or the playbooks or whatever it might be, I'd love to hear any tips that you, you leverage this community for and then also just networking as a whole and tapping that network, especially for such a growing community, like CS it seems to be pretty tight knit. So how you leverage that to help you get better at your job as well. Yeah, I mean, I think like linkedin is naturally a great place to start, right. And you know, even just following folks or connecting with folks that are in customer success and you know, some are big avid heads down sharing content type of folks and others aren't. So I think that that's just something you have to be intentional about is is there are a lot of incredible CS folks out there that are not out there sharing content each and every single day, so one just like you know, digest what you can based on what's being shared publicly and double down. I was recently had the opportunity to present on a webinar, and the individual that presented in front of me was like absolutely ball or CS and I was like hey we should connect afterwards and I'm going to ask you to be my mentor if that's cool because I think that your strengths are areas that I would love to continue to refine and double down on. So I think like you just have to be opportunistic and aware of like what resonates with you and why I would say I've got like mentor on the C. S. Side which is immensely valuable. I also have like mentors on the leadership side to try and around me out there as well and and I think I've just been intentional II reality is I don't have a ton of time and I have to be really intentional about you know who I'm following it and why for what information I'm trying to to consume. So I think just trying to be as focused as possible in that regard goes a long way and then you know one thing that I think I think I shared this with our C. R. O. And V. PFCs when I was at envision but like who are the folks that you're working with today that you will regret not having a deeper relationship with if both of you chose to move on tomorrow because so often, like you're in the environment with these incredibly brilliant folks, but today, more than any time you have something 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 the depths of which this connection could have been made when you don't have that same foundation that you once had as the company that you work for. So that's something that I've reflected on and tried to be very okay and intentional about which are like who are the people that I'm working with today that like, rest assured I'm going to go as deep in the relationship as I can with them to just learn so that...

...that relationship can carry on and I feel like that compounded between polar between influence between envision and now catalyst Every day. You know, if you look at my calendar over the duration of a week, I have spoken with someone from every one of those organizations consistently for the last 10 years of my career. So it's just like snowballs over time, which is really cool. Yeah. And you seem to do a really great job of kind of like this plus minus thing where it's like you're helping people that are earlier on in their career that are still trying to like figure this whole thing out while also tapping people that are more established or doing different things are unique things that you want to learn from and just trying to learn from both of those areas, which I think is amazing. So I want to applaud you for that. Well I appreciate, I learned so much. It's not necessarily about like years of experience and who has done 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 every single time and so that's really valuable and it feels good obviously to be able to give back because I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the many people who invested in me here early on in my career and still continue to invest in me. So anything I can do to help them game, that's awesome. Sydney, is there anything that we didn't get to that you were dying to talk about? You know, we're getting into somewhat short on time? No, I don't. I think we covered some really good ground I think, you know, to the exacts out there, one thing that is big for me is obviously hiring and recruiting talent and showing a career path and growth and you know one thing that I really love is to invest early in a framework to help CS teams understand what great looks like but also giving them the autonomy to be able to build their way there independently in addition to the support that I provide from a coaching and development standpoint and one of the kind of I think biggest levers missed often by C. S. Leaders are the muscle memory of enforcing, reinforcing, encouraging enforcing would not be the right word, we're encouraging your team to get feedback from their customers and to be very open and vulnerable in wanting to get feedback. Hey you know we just had a QB are at the end of this cube, er I'm going to say five minutes for feedback. What was super valuable from this cube? Er what would you love to see differently next time? Any feedback for me in terms of delivery and have the CSM incorporate that kind of feedback loop for themselves independently in their engagement with customers. So it's not dependent on on you. And I think that as a CSM you can very much accelerate your growth when you lean on multiple people to give you feedback and don't just have this dependency of like hey, my boss is the one that's responsible for giving me feedback and therefore I will grow dependent on how much feedback my boss gives me. What are they doing to self assess themselves and then what are they doing to lean into source feedback from other areas customers being at the core of giving you what you really want to be hearing. And it also on the customer 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 is more, you know, confidence inducing, then hey, I gave feedback and it was listened to and then they're off to the races. So I think that that's a that's a huge piece and um, you know, for me, I I incorporate that into the growth and development plans that I have for my team as like an expectation, which is like, it's my expectation that you're asking your customers for feedback routinely and you're using that as an investment in your own growth and development of how to continue to refine delivering an amazing customer experience a catalyst. Yeah, I love that Sydney for, I know you're incredibly busy, so I appreciate the time I've spent and I know that some 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 be the 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 for checking out that episode while you were cooking lunch or taking a walk or you 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 work over at gong Co host this podcast every monday. Let's also wrap this up with a quick shout out from our sponsor. Again, this episode was brought to you by drift, the new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get the 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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