It goes without saying that a professional network is valuable, however, putting the pieces together in the early stages of your career can be difficult. Especially in a relatively new role like customer success, there isn’t a handbook on how to navigate the field. Luckily, we have a few tips and tricks for getting involved and building up your network.
Join the conversation
We’re all still learning the tricks of the trade in customer success, which means there is never a shortage of questions. Joining online communities is a great way to seek advice, share resources, and build relationships with others in the space. When it comes to online communities, there are two areas of focus:
Social Media Groups
LinkedIn and Facebook are two great hubs for conversation. When you join a group, we recommend posting a short snippet about yourself and what you’re looking to get out of the group. This will open up the conversation and show you’re proactive about getting to know others in the group. And don’t be afraid to branch out! There are tons of customer success specific groups, however you can also find customer success resources in groups that are more SaaS, product, or CX focused.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Pro Tip: Searching hashtags will give you some insight into who is generating conversation in the space and what topics are resonating. Like, retweet, and comment on posts to start a conversation and get the leaders involved!
If you’d rather keep your social media separate from your professional development, you can also involve yourself in forums. Quora, Reddit, SaaS Invaders, and SuccessHackers’ Outcomes Community are a few of our favorites. Type in search terms like customer onboarding, churn, customer journey, etc. and you’ll find tons of helpful resources.
Pro Tip: Give a shout out to your favorite customer success leaders. Whether it’s posting a piece of their content and tagging them for a response to your own question, we found they’re always happy to help and will appreciate your willingness to get involved (more info on customer success leaders in the next section).
Like any other industry, there is nothing quite as valuable as facetime. Making those personal connections can open a ton of doors, and there are always new people to meet. We suggest searching for local customer success events on Meetup, or searching ‘customer success’ in Facebook, and filtering by events. If you have the finances to do so, we also recommend checking out these national and international customer success and experience events.
Pro Tip: Come prepared with questions. Just like a job interview, due diligence prior to the event can make or break how others perceive you. Your willingness to ask questions will show that you’re confident and genuinely interested in speaking about the topic.
Learn from the best
Reading tips and best practices from the experts is a necessary step in learning about customer success. Influencers in the space are consistent about sharing their best new ideas on customer success concepts, strategies, and tactics, and breaking it down in a way that is easy to understand. Not sure who these leaders are? These articles will get you started.
- Top Customer Success Blogs to Follow
- Top Customer Success Books to Read
- Top Customer Success Podcasts to Follow
Pro Tip: Check out this webinar, Climbing the Ranks in Customer Success, for a great discussion on career advancement in customer success. In the webinar, panelists cover traits and skills needed to be successful in a leadership role and steps you can take to establish yourself as a thought leader in the space.
Customer success is always evolving. Whether you’re starting out or a veteran in the space, there’s always room to improve your skill set. Certifications and courses will give you an edge in an increasingly competitive market and help you build up your professional credibility. Check out this list of customer success trainings and certifications to get you started.
Pro Tip: Start small. There is a lot to learn about in customer success, and diving into all of its aspects headfirst can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re in the beginning phases of your career, look for classes that include keywords like “basics of customer success” or “customer success 101.”
Find a mentor
Having a mentor can be incredibly valuable in your career development (because quite frankly, it’s nice to have someone tell it to you straight). Learning through online resources is helpful to an extent, but speaking with someone who has first hand, real-world experience will help cut out some of the ‘fluff’.
Pro Tip: If you don’t know anyone in customer success yet, don’t be afraid to do some cold outreach. Try looking for someone who is in a role that you’d like to be in one day, and who has experience in an industry you’re interested in. If you’re unsure where to start, we recommend finding someone local to you first. That way you can communicate by phone and email, but you also have the option to meet up for coffee to create a more personal relationship. But if you’d like to go the easier route, this is a great customer success mentorship program we found to get you started.
What tips do you have for building a network in customer success?