Q&A: Hyland’s customer success managers talk vision, hiring needs, industry insight and more
If you’re interested in starting a career in customer success, these folks have the insight and experience to launch you.
In this piece:
- What is customer success?
- How do people get into customer success management?
- Growing your customer success career
- Success: Stories from Hyland’s Customer Success team
Hyland is looking for customer success managers (CSMs) to grow its team, and I had the opportunity to get insight from three of our team leaders:
- Mark Mortimer, VP and Head of Global Renewals
- Garrett Hentschel, Assistant VP of Customer Success
- Daniel Jimenez, Manager, Renewal Management
- Katie Duffy, Manager, Customer Success
If you’re a customer success manager already and looking into Hyland as a potential next step for your career, learn more about our Customer Success team’s vision and personality.
Q&A with Customer Success Team Leaders
What is Customer Success?
Question: How do you describe customer success? What is it not?
Garrett Hentschel: Getting Customer Success right is about establishing and sustaining a loyal partnership.
Loyalty does not magically occur when the deal closes. It is fostered and supported by everyone who is committed to realizing the value of the investment in a vendor’s offerings, so customers can achieve desired business outcomes, year over year.
Customer success does not equal customer service or customer support.
Mark Mortimer: Customer success management is having an ongoing relationship that focuses on the customer’s people, processes, workflows, data and systems involved in achieving an outcome that delivers the results they seek—and doing so in a way that positively resonates with the customer.
Customer success is not an extension of support, nor is it something that can be bound by time as it needs to evolve with customers as their needs evolve.
Q: What does customer success look like at Hyland? What’s our philosophy, and how do we know when we’re getting it right?
Mortimer: Customer success at Hyland is a continuously evolving practice that is maturing over time. We know the customer, have relationships with the customer, and we are proactive in helping the customer achieve their desired outcomes.
Hentschel: At Hyland, we’re a team working daily with our customers and partners. We’re biased towards action and putting the customer first. Beyond loyalty (retainment), we want to create fans out of customers and partners, move them to be referenceable, and make sure they would recommend us to others.
Customer success does not equal customer service or customer support.
— Garrett Hentschel
How do People Get Into Customer Success Management?
Q: How did you become a customer success leader? What’s your background – what was your path?
Mortimer: I started at a small software startup doing a bit of everything. That led to a role with a large software company as a CSR/renewals representative. I learned quickly that relationships, listening and being present make all the difference. It went from there.
Daniel Jimenez: I have been a part of a customer success organization for nearly a decade. I have a sales background, and I was invited to manage a renewals team at my previous job. I now manage a renewals team here at Hyland.
Hentschel: I have a history in both technical and functional skills, as a former technician and developer, as well as a manager and consultant. Customer Success management has been a great opportunity to bring my varied skills together and make an impact on the success of the customer.
It has been fulfilling beyond what I imagined to lead my talented team, who always put the customer first.
Katie Duffy: I started with Hyland as an intern working on trade shows. After I got my fashion degree, Hyland offered me my first job out of college in the marketing department, where after a few years, I realized wanted more customer interaction. I entered sales, and then as our customer success team evolved, I became a customer success manager. Now, I manage a team of CSMs.
Q: What’s your Favorite Part of the Day-in-the-Life of a Customer Success Pro?
Mortimer: The role allows me to work with great teams and customers as well as having defined objectives. It is very rewarding to help customers achieve their goals. Likewise, I get to work with great people in our organization to achieve their goals as we work to have customers renew and expand their use of Hyland solutions.
Jimenez: My favorite part is working with my direct reports, my colleagues and the successful renewal and expansion of customers.
Hentschel: I love being part of a team of wonderful humans that places the success of other humans before their own.
Duffy: I love continuing to learn and seeing what I’m capable of. I’m confident in my knowledge, I know what I’m talking about, and I’m working every day to be a great leader and coach. There’s always something new to learn; there’s always more and more opportunities.
Growing your Customer Success Career
Q: When you’re hiring, what’s your favorite interview question? What helps you get a feel for candidates?
Hentschel: I always want to confirm that the candidate has read and understands the job description.
In seeking confirmation, I look for the candidate to tie their background and experience to the opportunity, but most importantly, discover if there is expression that is oriented towards “customer first.”
Mortimer: My team focuses on renewals and I’ve found Renewals oriented people “speak renewals”, and there is a passion about it. It’s a rarer trait. I like to ask, ‘What do you like about renewals?’ From there I see how they talk about doing renewals.
Q: How does Hyland build up its Customer Success team? What should potential candidates know about building their career here?
Hentschel: If you view current market conditions and demand for customer success talent as a measure, our area is off the charts. Opportunity outstrips supply.
Although the customer success practice is decades old now, it still has many parts and pieces of the market to touch, giving it a long road ahead. I see opportunity for customer success to evolve in providing more moments that matter, that create intimacy in the partnership, but at scale — feeling human without always having a human involved.
Is customer success a good career?
Mortimer: I think it’s a great career and something that will continue to grow.
There will be further coverage models and redefining over time as more accounts receive some level of customer success coverage.
Jimenez: The market has changed. As organizations have gone more to subscription and cloud offerings, churn prevention has become one of the most critical aspects to having a successful business. Customer success specializes in helping to prevent churn, so good customers success managers and reps are in high demand. Customer success is experiencing dynamic growth, and in today’s market, it is as important as a successful sales team.
Duffy: For me, yes. Every year I feel like we’re starting something new. I might not always know what’s behind the next door, but I can’t wait to see what those opportunities are for our Customer Success team. Being a part of building this department from the ground up has been motivating and exciting.
Success: Stories from Hyland’s Customer Success Team
Is there a customer success story that stays with you? An example of how it all “should” work — or that makes your work feel needed/appreciated?
Hentschel: We had a long-standing partnership with the customer and more specifically, it involved a Technical Account Manager (TAM).
There was a critical, business-impacting event to the deployment we support, and millions of dollars were at stake for the customer. We engaged within minutes of being notified by the customer, brought skilled technicians (in addition to their TAM) to the situation and stayed with them until production was restored.
I will never forget what the VP told me after we came through on the other side: None of their other, “household” name enterprise vendors have provided the timeliness and level of care that Hyland provided in this type of situation.
Mortimer: The first time I spoke to this one customer and asked to meet with them, their reply was “Why would I want to do that?”
I explained further and offered the opportunity for them to vent about their experiences and why they felt the way they did. There were valid reasons and we worked to address these. The result came about 18 months later with the completion of an agreement that consolidated three business units and retained 100% of their solutions for 5 years.
Why Customer Success Matters
Nothing matters more to us at Hyland than the success of our customers.
It’s one of our core values — customers are our partners — and we know that we can’t be successful unless our customers are.
Our Customer Success managers are on the front lines, working directly with customers. And like our former President and CEO A.J. Hyland used to say, this team would “break through a brick wall for our customers.”
If you’re passionate about changing business trajectories and building real, satisfying relationships — and winning, always winning! — take a look at our customer success management roles. Join us!