This past year has, just like for many, motivated me to reflect on my career, where I am on my professional journey, and consider what truly inspires me and makes me happy. Over the past 15+ years my career has centered around Customer Success, but recently my roles have been focused more “internally” and I realized I miss engaging directly with customers and helping to drive their business outcomes.
So, on a sunny day in March, I began to activate my network of friends and colleagues, and set a plan in motion to land my next professional adventure. My intention was to seek a role that put me back in a customer facing, leadership position.
And boy did my network deliver - thanks to an introduction from my good friend Rachel Murray I was introduced to Gemma Cipriani-Espineira who is a happy Planhat customer. Gemma introduced me to Erik Holm at Planhat and the rest is history...in the making!
I would never in a million years have envisioned a role so well suited for both my experiences and passions, as the role I just accepted at Planhat. I will be building and leading the Global Customer Success team for a Modern Customer Platform! Talk about a dream job! Having said that, as someone who has mostly worked for larger, “steady eddie” companies, this was a big decision and one I didn’t enter into lightly.
For those contemplating a career change, or making the move from “enterprise” to “start up” here are some of the reasons I made the move and why Planhat is the place for me!
1. Passion, People, and Product
These 3 P’s are all tied for first place. Of course, you should always choose a job that aligns with your Passion and for me this opportunity was passion on steroids. Not only will I be leading and building a Customer Success team, but I will also be doing it for a company that builds technology for customer centric organizations. This means I get to focus on Customer Success all day, every day!
Which leads to the People part - every single person I spoke with at Planhat during my “courting” phase was equally passionate about Customer Success and I just felt a true connection because of that. We all could have talked for hours and I felt a real fit with the people and the culture.
And finally, Product. What excites me the most about the product is the focus on innovation. Planhat is not trying to be like anyone else in this space. It's a company with true passion for technology and a deep understanding of the pain points of the customers they're serving. Planhat is meeting the needs of customer success practitioners today, but also building a customer platform for the entire enterprise. That spoke to me because I am not someone who does something because “that’s how we’ve always done it”. I look for new and different ways to do things and I felt this philosophy was very much core to the Planhat product, team, and culture.
I firmly believe that when looking for a new job there has to be a 2-way fit, especially at a startup, when you really need to be in a “fox hole” with your team members. We are typically spending more time with our work family than our nuclear family on a daily basis; therefore, we better make sure there is a connection!
So often companies feel they need to interview you, find out everything about you, and ensure you can do a good job for them. But I believe it should be a 2-way interview process. The company needs to know that I can bring value and deliver on what they need, of course, but as a candidate I also need to know that there is strong alignment with my experience and growth opportunity. This is especially true when transitioning from a large, stable employer to a start-up that has both risk and significant upside. Planhat understood both sides of this equation very well. All of my meetings were conversational. They were less “tell me about a time when you did X or Y” and more “what do you think about this...what is your philosophy about that…”. How refreshing!
The comfort and transparency continued and I was even more impressed when they offered to connect me with their customers. I met with two customers and a prospect, which confirmed my already positive impressions - that not only does Planhat have a great product but the people are extremely strong and customer-focused. I received positive feedback on everything from the sales process to the CSM team and the support experience. I could clearly see that the company managed customer relationships with tremendous care and that the technology is world-class.
3. The right amount of scared
I believe whenever you take on a new role or challenge there should always be at least 25% of the increased scope that you have never done before and feel a bit anxious about. This is where the real growth happens! For me, after spending much of my career at larger companies, joining a startup is both scary and exciting. Scary like the first (and only) time I went bungee jumping. Making the decision to climb and walk to the edge before jumping was so pit-in-my-stomach scary, but once I jumped the joy, freedom, and exhilaration was incredible. I feel that all of my experience in my 20+ year career has led me to this opportunity. I am confident that my time in consulting, customer success, enablement, change management, and transformation roles at both Salesforce and SAP will be leveraged in this new role. Am I scared to join Planhat? Sure. But my excitement to play a leadership role in building something truly amazing and transformational is exhilarating!
4. Be a Builder, and a Connector
A lot of great things already exist at Planhat but, being a young company, there is also a lot that still needs to be built. I am excited to shape our Customer Success team and build upon what is already in place today. I also love being a connector, and I’m truly excited for the opportunity to connect our customers with each other so we can learn and innovate together. I can’t wait to get started. I will begin by listening and learning from our amazing employees and customers, and perhaps I’ll even write another blog about what I find out in my first 100 days! I look forward to hopping on this rocket ship and taking it to amazing heights together with our employees and customers! To infinity and beyond!
Our host Anika Zubair chats with Wayne McCulloch, Global Head of CS (SaaS) at Google Cloud, about the taboos of Customer Success.
For those contemplating a career change, or making the move from “enterprise” to “start up” - here are some of the reasons I made the move and why Planhat is the place for me!
Our host Anika Zubair chats with Emmanuel Malanda, Global Head of Customer Success at Calypso, about data driven workflows and scaling CS Operations.
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