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Leading Customer Success Teams Through A merger

Leading Customer Success Teams Through A Merger

Gina Patel, VP of Customer Success at SensorTower, reflects on her decade-long journey from a senior CS manager to Vice President. Sharing lessons from her first 100 days in leadership, Gina discusses her current CS strategy post-acquisition by Sensor Tower, emphasizing the introduction of formal business reviews and success stories. She highlights key metrics for measuring success, including Gross and Net Revenue Retention, alongside the challenges of leading a CS team. Gina offers strategies for gaining C-suite buy-in, using tangible results and success stories, and discusses the future of CS with a predicted industry shift toward heightened customer retention.

What advice do you have for someone's first 100 days as head of CS?

The first 100 days in any leadership role are critical. Upon assuming my role as VP, I focused on understanding the existing challenges and opportunities. Listening and observing were key during this initial period. Identifying gaps in people management and accountability, I took the time to assess before implementing organizational changes. Patience, observation, and strategic planning set the tone for a successful start.

What does your CS strategy focus on currently and in the future?

In my current role, post-acquisition by Sensor Tower, my primary focus has been on establishing a robust CS framework. From introducing formal business reviews to emphasizing value stories, the goal is to drive customer success and satisfaction. Success stories, health scores, and revenue metrics play pivotal roles in shaping our current strategy. Looking ahead, I foresee an industry shift towards an increased emphasis on customer retention, especially in challenging economic times.

How Do You Measure Success With CS?

Success in the CS realm is multifaceted. While individual success stories and customer feedback contribute to the narrative, key performance indicators such as Gross Revenue Retention (GRR) and Net Revenue Retention (NRR) are crucial metrics. Business reviews, upsells, and overall customer satisfaction collectively define success. The proof of a successful strategy lies in tangible results, and these metrics serve as benchmarks for our ongoing efforts.

What pain points do you have leading a CS team?

Leading a CS team comes with its challenges. Training and mentoring the team to ask effective discovery questions, set clear objectives, and cultivate a consultative approach are ongoing efforts. Being a trusted partner involves not just saying yes but also challenging customers when needed. Coaching and mentorship are integral components of overcoming these pain points and fostering a high-performing team.

How do you establish partnerships and gain buy-in with the C-suite?

Gaining buy-in from the C-suite involves showcasing tangible results. Impressive GRR numbers, upsell opportunities, and positive health scores contribute to building credibility. Success stories, especially those shared by customers willing to evangelize our product, become powerful tools for winning support and investment from the C-suite.

Do you have an example of utilizing customer feedback to improve your company?

Customer feedback is a goldmine for improvement. Introducing the concept of success stories, documented in Salesforce and shared through various channels, has proven instrumental. These stories not only highlight our achievements but also serve as valuable marketing assets and aids for sales teams during prospecting.

What is the future of CS?

As we navigate an uncertain economic landscape, the future of customer success lies in a heightened focus on retention. CS teams are gaining more recognition for their role in ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. The subscription-based model underscores the importance of maintaining positive customer experiences for business sustainability.

About Gina Patel

gina-patel-headshotI am Gina Patel, a seasoned professional in the CS space since 2011. Having started as a senior customer success manager at a tech company, my journey has been one of continuous learning and growth. With a background in consulting, I embraced the opportunity to bridge gaps for customers using innovative software solutions. Over the years, I've honed my skills, adopting best practices and leveraging various tools to enhance the customer experience. Currently serving as the VP of Customer Success, I've had the privilege of leading and shaping successful CS teams.

My journey began in Washington, DC, and eventually led me to Los Angeles, where I managed a team of CS professionals. The transition from manager to VP was a significant milestone, and my readiness for this role was a culmination of a decade of dedicated work and continuous learning.

If you're curious to learn more about my journey or want to connect, LinkedIn is the best platform to reach out. As I approach my third year at Sensor Tower, I'm open to new opportunities and collaborations. Remember, never overstay your welcome – it's a mantra that has served me well in the dynamic world of software and customer success.

About CX Chats

CX chats is an interview series with Ben Holland, where we talk to industry leaders in the field of customer experience and customer success. Each interview dives deep into the insights from each leader and highlights how they became successful, tips for aspiring CX professionals, and their thoughts on the future of CX.

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