In this session of Preflight UK’s Office Hours, James Stuart, CSM at hackajob spoke to Billy McDiarmid, Customer Onboarding Executive at Hardenize, and Nabeeda Bakali, CSM at Multiverse, about getting into and navigating a role in Customer Success.
With nearly 20 years of work experience in recruitment technology and information security, Billy has spent the last seven years in CS roles. As Customer Success Lead at Hardenize, he currently manages a portfolio of Public Sector and Enterprise customers in the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, India, and Australia.
Nabeeda has worked in CS for the last three years after starting her career in recruitment. In her current role at Multiverse (formerly Whitehat), she works as a Commercial CSM, building the next generation of leaders by developing alternative pathways via apprenticeships.
The discussion revolved around:
Here are our top takeaways from the session.
CS requires a combination of different skills, but what a future CS professional needs to focus on are the ones they can demonstrate to a potential employer.
Since CS, at its core, is a project management role that focuses on taking a customer from start to value, project management and problem-solving are key skills to focus on.
Pick and talk about situations that showcased your problem-solving abilities. Highlight instances where you worked with different levels and types of teams and handled challenging people and situations to achieve a goal.
Another aspect to focus on is the ability to build relationships – within the business and with external stakeholders. Show how you worked with different teams (like product or marketing) towards a common goal.
Talk about scenarios where you displayed resilience and how you can translate that to a customer-facing role. It may even be a good idea to talk about unsuccessful projects that helped you build resilience and showcased your ability to bounce back and try again.
Recruiters don’t always look for experience in CS roles. Instead, they look for skills like
project management, problem-solving, and tenacity.
Recruiters need to see just enough on a CV to be curious. Use your CV to highlight what you have achieved, so the recruiter can ask you how you did it. Quantify your achievements in a dedicated section at the top (with top-level stats in, say, three bullet points). These achievements need to link to project management, relationship building, problem-solving, and stakeholder management.
Be prepared to tell a good story to back up these achievements–by focusing on who was involved, which teams you worked with, and the challenges you overcame. Always have a collection of scenarios and examples that you can use in an interview. Make sure all the successes you talk about are SMART (Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).
Billie recommends picking an industry you're passionate about that will complement your skills, but more importantly, one that you have a view on. Be prepared to demonstrate your passion or interest in the field.
The CS community is an open, welcoming community with plenty of areas to work in, including CS, CS Ops, and Customer Onboarding.
Create a spreadsheet when you start your role – with expectations on one side. Document any evidence of achievement (customer feedback, data from Executive Business Reviews, etc.) so you always have a talk track for your achievements.
If you want to learn more about Customer Onboarding, Implementation, and Professional Services in-depth, join the Preflight Community.