Tell us about your journey into the Customer Success industry.
I started my career in Sales focused on new business and then eventually moved into managing and growing existing Customer Revenue. A consistent thread throughout my career is the managing of relationships with data, technology, and insights. Given this background, transitioning into customer success is the natural evolution of managing relationships at scale via robust data, technology and a deep understanding of customer’s needs.
How did you arrive at AdRoll Group?
I was looking for an opportunity to join a San Francisco-based, mid-size, private company with ambitious growth plans. My desires were quite specific and with AdRoll Group, the market opportunity and product fit were there. I was super impressed with the leadership team, culture and people at the company.
If not a Customer Success leader, in which other industry would you have most likely built your career?
If not customer success, I would have likely pursued a consulting and strategy path. I have always had a passion for understanding a customer’s needs and designing solutions to meet those needs. That role has been a big part of my client-facing positions throughout my career, and I believe it is something that is integral in consulting as well.
How do Customer Success results impact sales pipelines?
Customer success results truly inform sales pipelines when outcomes are clearly defined and measurement is executed correctly. These customer success results inform how to position your company’s overall strategy more effectively to prospective customers. They also help to drive product roadmaps, which in turn can help sales close more deals. Finally, customer success results help to inform Sales Enablement programs that drive sales productivity and efficacy for an organization.
What is the true definition of ‘Customer Success Mastery’ in 2018?
A company has “mastered” customer success when they have demonstrated the ability to affect customer satisfaction, product adoption, revenue growth and ultimately customer retention. This should include customer journey mapping, customer feedback on a regular cadence, and robust reporting dashboards that help the success team drive the aforementioned mentioned focus areas.
How much has this definition changed with the maturity of customer data platforms, sales intelligence, and communications?
In my opinion, the definition of “customer success mastery” has not changed with the maturity of data platforms, sales intelligence, and communications. Our ability to define and measure success has accelerated at a more granular level due to the rapidly evolving tech landscape.
How should young customer success professionals leverage sales technologies to improve their client relationships?
Knowing who your customer is, their likes and dislikes, has always been the key to a strong relationship.
Today, so many tools at our disposal enable professionals to learn more about their customers. My advice to young customer success professionals is to do your research! Review social media sites, read financial reports, dig into a client’s website, read analyst reports and crowdsourced reviews. It is also important to look at your own website data to understand your customer’s interactions with your brand. Look at your CRM system to understand your clients and their companies.
Which Sales and Marketing technologies do you keenly follow to stay on top of your game? How do they help you drive better performance?
At AdRoll Group, I try my best to understand the full capabilities of the vendors that we are currently working with.
We partner with our vendors to ensure we are using their technology effectively as well as to consider our specific needs for future customizations or releases. We also talk to peers at other companies to get a sense of what technologies they are using for inspiration for our own tech stack.
I am impressed with companies that are simplifying data inputs and analysis by automatically ingesting data to tell us more about our sales teams. For example, we are seeing strong results from AI-powered analysis tools like call recording.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, we drink our own “champagne” at AdRoll Group. Our marketing and sales teams are using our own RollWorks ABM solution to drive revenue as part of our double funnel strategy.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a sales tech champion?
There are several must-haves in order to get the most out of new AI-centric technology. The first is robust and accurate data – it is important to do build and maintain clean data across your key CRM and product systems. The second is having a deep understanding of your customer journey, from prospect to customer.
The third must-have to get the most out of AI technology is having a clear set of company goals and outcomes for using that technology. Without fully thinking through and implementing these three pillars, AI just won’t be as effective at helping you quickly solve your most pressing business objectives.
What are the major pain points for businesses in putting a 360-degree focus on Customer Success tracking?
One major pain point in putting a 360-degree focus on customer success tracking is connecting data across disparate systems. This includes a company’s product and CRM data, in addition to third-party platforms and data. Finally, a company typically interacts with customers across multiple functions that touch the customer. These functions often have varying and perhaps competing goals. These factors are among several that can create pain points to achieving a true 360-degree focus.
Thank you, John, for taking us close to your Sales and Customer Success strategy!
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RollWorks is the Newest Division of AdRoll Group.
In 2007 AdRoll, now AdRoll Group, was founded with the objective of helping big and small businesses turn their customer data into high-performance marketing. From this inspiration, we grew to become the most widely used prospecting and retargeting platform. Today we’re a technology innovator trusted by companies around the world to help them grow.
From the beginning, we’ve invested in our technology and collaborated closely with customers to learn what worked for them and what didn’t. This customer-centricity has led us to create two divisions, RollWorks and AdRoll.
John Dent is VP of Customer Operations for RollWorks. Customer, Sales & Operations executive with 20 years experience in results-oriented digital media marketing and general management positions in SaaS technology companies. Proven track record of generating results across multiple P&L’s in managing a variety of global world-class brands.