Always Hire Customer Success Leadership Before Sales - - Relationship Intelligence for Sales

Always Hire Customer Success Leadership Before Sales

By Paul Teshima in Nudge News

Today we are excited to announce that Amy Franklin has joined us as Director Customer Success at  Amy was previously a CS leader at Vision Critical, running a team of seasoned CSMs in Enterprise software, and in her new role will ensure we deliver an exceptional customer experience every step of the way.

Always Hire #CustomerSuccess Leadership Before #Sales w/ @pteshima @franklinamylee
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We asked Amy about her Customer Success philosophy and why she joined

“After a fruitful career at Vision Critical, I decided to bring things back to basics, tap into my learnings, and seize an opportunity to set up a Customer Success team from the ground up here at  I had incredible relationships with my customers while at VC, but I wanted to truly understand the building blocks that went into relationship strength.  

Ultimately, I found that helping customers solve their business needs quickly, by driving product adoption, is a great way to gain trust.  Measuring the business needs, tied to customer value, is what will help secure customer retention overall.  

When your customers know that you understand their business and that your first priority for them is to deliver on the product value, trust and partnership ensue.  Conversations with your customers become richer in nature and more meaningful.  

My personal view is that Customer Success isn’t about keeping the customer happy, it’s about delivering on value.  Strong relationships can withstand points of conflict and challenges.   When both sides have a mutual understanding of value and what’s in it for them,  each fundamentally benefits and prospers.

The great thing about joining is that the product aligns with my core beliefs in Customer Success. I look forward to this new venture.”

We are super happy to have Amy on board.  A lot of people have asked me – why did we hire Customer Success ahead of Sales?  Here’s my answer.

Customer Success Gets You to Product Market Fit Faster

When you’re just beginning your startup journey, nothing is more important than having your first few customers find repeatable value and become advocates.  Not only does this help with your next wave of customers, they also provide valuable feedback to your product team to make the experience even better.

Often, it’s too early to have a dedicated Product Manager, but your first few CSMs quickly acquire a wealth of domain and customer knowledge, which is invaluable in the product development process.  

Also, with new tools like,, and FullStory, CSMs now have a detailed understanding of how customers are using your product every step of the way, and what job they are trying to accomplish. This is perfect to frame feedback for the development team.  

They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

We are pursuing a product-lead go-to-market strategy at, and in any emerging market, you need to provide some hand-holding, even with early adopters.  One of the biggest mistakes made early on is assuming the customer knows where “true north” is, something that is critical as you always will have some bumps in the road.

Customers want and need the path to success outlined for them.  A customer success leader can put together your best guess at what that customer journey map needs to look like, knowing that it will change over time.

Provide a prescriptive path to success, and customers will follow.

They Come for your Product, But Stay for the People

One of the reasons SaaS has been so successful is that there is now pervasive accountability for success with the software.  As a solution provider, you need to prove yourself every month, every week, every day.  Switching costs are low and competition is fierce.

In the world of Enterprise software, two things are very clear to me:

  1. Customers are looking for solutions that solve real business challenges.
  2. Customers are looking for relationships that help them be successful.

I learned early on that customers may come for your product, but ultimately it is the relationships they build that solidify them as a lifetime customer.  People work with people.  Make sure your best are building relationships with customers.

Paul Teshima
CEO and Co-founder
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