Catalyze Your Career

Top CCOs and VPs share their absolute best advice for elevating your Customer Success career

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“To this above all else to thine own self be true when choosing your career path (bonus points if you get the reference). Don't get enamored with shiny aspects of career options. Chasing prestige and early high pay can lead to a lot of day-to-day dissatisfaction if the job isn't for you. That's going to severely blunt your rate of progress and work out much worse in the long run.”

Alex Shaefer
Chief Customer Officer
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“Study the habits and practices behind being a good consultant. Crafting powerful questions, active listening, being curious, understanding industry/vertical benchmarks (of your customers) ... these are all great skills that set CSMs apart from the pack.”

Ben Carey
Chief Customer Officer
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“Take the time to become proficient with financial metrics and the business' P&L. A former board member of mine once told me the single greatest reason people fail to successfully transition from VP to C-Suite is because they can't walk their way through an income statement. And sadly, this is especially true for women.”

Cassie Young
Partner
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“Be a connector. Effective CS is all about connecting your customers - with your product teams, with your C suite, with other successful customers.”

David Clark
VP of Client Experience
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“Understand that most people are already doing a job before they receive the title or pay for that job. Don't focus on the title or pay, or demand it before exhibiting the skills. Acquire those skills and you'll acquire the role (and its title and pay).”

David Ellin
Senior Consultant - Customer Success
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“Surround yourself with people who will push you out of your comfort zone, and challenge you to be your best. These are the people who are both unconditionally in your corner cheering you on but also the first people who will call you out when you need to rethink your approach or mindset.”

Debra Squyres
Chief Customer Officer
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“Take calculated career risks. Career growth comes from pushing your own boundaries and getting outside of your comfort zone. Do new things but build a safety net of mentors and peers to seek advice and counsel.”

Ejieme Eromosele
VP of Customer Success
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“Make a list of what you are passionate about and what you are good at or want to be good at. Then go after it and practice the skill over and over again. Don't give up.”

Emilia D’Anzica
Founder, Author
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“Keep a 'brag folder' of your results, customer or peer celebratory comments, and projects to be able to reference during a structured review.”

Emily Garza
VP of Customer Success
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“In seeking a mentor, be specific about your needs. Make it easy for them to understand what you're struggling with so they can provide actionable advice.”

Gemma Cipriani-Espineira
Chief Customer Officer
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"Don't be afraid to point out things that aren't working. It's best to also have a solution ready, but even if you don't, just bringing attention is the first step to improvement. If you can then own that improvement, that's career advancement."

Jason Pitzen
VP of Customer Success
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"Be someone that people want to work with. If you bring energy, be solution-focused, and drive outcomes, then you will get opportunities."

Jeff Breunsbach
Director of Brand
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“Don’t let progress get in the way of perfection. Getting it wrong is generally the fastest way to get it right. Bonus: when your team/ boss/ peers watch you embrace this mentality, they’re encouraged to take risks, own mistakes, and cultivate a culture of egoless ownership.”

Jordan Cain
VP of CX
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“Hire people better than you, people that have skills you don't, or perspectives that differ from your own. Then give them the room to work, don't smother them.”

Kev Willers
Chief Customer Officer
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“Focus on the "why" behind your desire to progress. Fully understanding this can open doors to paths you wouldn't have considered otherwise.”

Leanne Pozzi
VP of Customer Success
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“Praise publicly, criticize privately. Never "gripe down" and complain to those in your charge. Be truthful and direct with everyone, but understand the decorum and integrity are paramount.”

Manuel Harnisch
VP of Customer Success
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“Build out a strong network before you need it. Getting opportunities is 1/3 what you know and 2/3 who you know.”

Maranda Dziekonski
Chief Customer Officer
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“Scan LinkedIn, Gain Grow Retain, and other social media to see who is posting content you find interesting and reach out to them to connect. Also like and comment on their posts to increase your own visibility and thought leadership recognition.”

Mary Poppen
Chief Customer Officer
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“People are paramount. Cultivate lasting relationships. Practice learning from those who frustrate you. And always look for opportunities to hold the door open for the next person.”

Melinda Gonzalez
VP of Customer Success
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“Help others before you help yourself. Helping others pursue their goals directly correlates with your ability to attain your own.”

Michael Arntz
CS Strategy & Analytics Manager
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“Raise your hand. There is always a problem to tackle, an opportunity to improve the team, or a process that needs refining. In the fast paced world of Customer Success, a team member willing to raise their hand to help or to jump into an internal project as a resource is valuable. Leaders worth their salt will see that hunger as positive.”

Mike Egan
VP of Customer Success
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“Even if you’re not sure about your long term career goals, pick something to aim for. You can always change your mind down the road.”

Nick Chandra
Head of Customer Success
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“Pay attention to (1) what you're curious about and (2) what aspect(s) of "work" don't feel like "work". Use that awareness to experiment with ways of diving deeper into those areas.”

Phil Weiss
VP of Customer Success
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“Be mindful of soft skills. Early in our career we tend to focus on the "technical" or hard skills of the role. It's equally important build skills to effectively communicate, collaborate and adapt to improve one's ability to build good relationships with customers and colleagues.”

Rachael McBrearty
Chief Customer Officer
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“Take time to reflect on your goals, strengths, development areas, and ultimate career destination. With that knowledge look to leverage a mentor that can help you understand the path to get there, ideas and opportunities to develop skills/close gaps, and challenge your way of thinking.”

Rob Birring
Head of Customer Success
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“If you're new or transitioning into the field, "talking the talk" can be a gamechanger on interviews - blogs and communities like GGR are filled with valuable real-life scenarios that can help you start to develop the language of a CSM and SaaS terminology. The best part is that they're free and accessible to everyone!”

Sana Farooq
Director of Customer Education & Operations
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“Build a network of leaders in similar roles at other companies to bounce off ideas. It will help you get different perspectives.”

Simona Barcau
VP of Customer Success
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“Ask yourself, "what do you want to be remembered for?" and strive to live up to that vision each and every day.”

Sydney Strader
VP of Customer Success
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“Stay curious. The world is ever-changing, so are customers' needs, and so are your products & technology. If you stay curious, listen actively, share your learnings and connect the dots, you will be adding value just by being curious.”

Theresia Hermes
VP of Customer Success
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“You learn more from failures than successes. It is ok to take a risk and not be successful at it. Learn from it and get better.”

Troy Meyers
SVP of Customer Success
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“Recognize that imposter syndrome is real for everyone, and leverage that knowledge - don't let it hold you back. If you want something, go for it even before you are fully confident you can do it.”

Vanessa Brangwyn
Chief Customer & Revenue Officer
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