PODCAST 49: KPIs to build World-class Customer SuccessOrganisation w/ Roger Scott

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we interview Roger Scott, Chief Customer Officer at New Relic. Roger is a world class technology executive who has spent the last 25 years in customer facing roles, first at Oracle and now at New Relic. Roger discusses the key philosophies driving effective customer engagement and how to build a global organization while preserving culture and alignment.  

If you missed episode 48, check it out here: PODCAST 48: The Secret to Amazing Sales Engagement w/ Max Altschuler

What You’ll Learn

  • The importance of the Ubuntu phrase “I am because you are”
  • Using culture to drive global team-wide engagement
  • Why net revenue expansion is the most important CS KPI
  • How to build both SMB and Enterprise-grade CS teams and what tools to use to empower them
  • Steps for managing your career within the context of global enterprise orgs like Oracle
  • The importance of the discomfort of customer feedback

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. About Roger Scott: An Introduction [03:21]
  3. Growing the Customer Base [10:16]
  4. Never Lose – Win or Learn [16:57]
  5. “I am because you are” [24:35]
  6. How to Succeed in Business with Really Trying [31:14]
  7. The Hands That Rock the C-Suite [42:38]
  8. Sam’s Corner [47:14]

Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Chorus and Outreach

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. We’ve got a fantastic show for you today. We have Roger Scott, the EVP and chief customer officer at New Relic. New Relic is a close to $500 million publicly traded cloud computing SaaS company started by Lew Cirne in Silicon Valley. Roger talks about the role of customer success, how do you build the customer voice into every interaction that you have with the customer, how do you scale and grow a big company, and what are the elements that are so important to picking your next company?

Now of course, we want to thank our sponsors. The first is Chorus.ai. Chorus records, transcribes, and analyzes business conversations in real time to coach reps on how to be become top performers.

Our second sponsor is Outreach.io. They are the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach supports sales reps by enabling them to humanize communication at scale and by automating the manual work.

About Roger Scott: An Introduction

Sam Jacobs: We’re incredibly excited today to have Roger Scott on the show. He’s the chief customer officer for New Relic, which is one of the more prominent publicly traded SaaS and cloud computing companies out there. He’s responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s customer facing technical resources across sales, engineering, technical account management, professional services, and support engineering.

Tell us a little bit about New Relic for those who don’t know about the company.

Roger Scott: New Relic has been around in the marketplace for a over 10 years, and was founded by Lew Cirne (New Relic is an anagram of his name). We focus on the real time performance insights into software.

Sam Jacobs: Tell us about what chief customer officer means. Walk us through your specific mandate and how your responsibilities are structured and organized.

Roger Scott: It has widely varying responsibilities. The resources that fall under my remit include presales, sales engineering, sales consultants, and solution architects through to the post sales functions like professional services, renewals, customer success management, support, and education.

Growing the Customer Base

Sam Jacobs: Is one of your KPIs that revenue metric of net dollar expansion, or is it an NPS (net promoter score), customer usage, or customer satisfaction score that is equal or even more important from your perspective?

Roger Scott: The one that I really focus on is net expansion rate. We’re approaching a $500 million company, and we have aspirations to get to $1 billion and beyond. A significant amount of that growth is going to be predicated on the expansion of our existing install base. Are our customers from a year ago buying more? And if so, how much more? It’s difficult to get a consistent measure across the industry on that. But it’s important to choose a way of measuring and then use that as a baseline. We’ve put a lot of emphasis and development into understanding our customer health. We’ve got some great early warning system technologies available now where we’re able to look at things like your license consumption and your usage base.

There comes a natural point in time where you’ve got to get a healthy balance between focusing on new business and looking at your expand motion. We look at the balance of those net new bookings, whether they are coming from new logos versus coming out of the existing install base and been driven off expansion from healthy accounts.

Never Lose – Win or Learn

Sam Jacobs: Our listeners are interested in the career journey. Walk us through yours.

Roger Scott: I’ve been incredibly lucky and fortunate in many ways. I’ve always taken advantage of every opportunity that presents itself – embrace change, embrace opportunity.

I was born in South Africa, grew up in Cape Town. Some of the early work that I did in my career was in expert systems and neural networks and artificial intelligence.

I spent a total of 17 years with Oracle. I moved back to headquarters here in North America, got introduced to New Relic and four years ago joined the company.

Sam Jacobs: What enabled and empowered your success?

Roger Scott: I take advantage of all and every opportunity that presents itself. At Oracle, people who took initiative, pushed change, and had ideas were celebrated. I encourage people at New Relic to think about working in a different part of the world or moving into a different function at the company to get a broader experience. That’s a healthy thing in an organization. For the individual, it’s an amazing career builder and experience builder that sets you up for life.

Being South African, I’m a great Nelson Mandela fan. I espouse his quote, “I never lose, I only win or learn.” This concept is great. You can improve the organization’s capability, and your individual performance.

“I am because you are”

Sam Jacobs: One of the lessons that you’ve learned is the importance of moving from transactional to relationship-based customer engagements. Why is it so important and what is the impact that it has on a business as it’s growing?

Roger Scott: Growing up in South Africa, there was this term ubuntu. It is a Nguni Bantu term, and it means humanity or “I am because you are.” And so my happiness, my success is dependent on your happiness and success. I take that philosophy and apply it to the business world. If you think about customer success, we are because they are. And if your customers are hugely successful, we’re going to be successful.

Sam Jacobs: Are there things that you do within New Relic to maintain that focus on the customer?

Roger Scott: One of the things we’ve worked hard on at New Relic is to be comfortable in the discomfort of customer feedback sometimes, and to celebrate it. We have some very clear processes where we are able to capture feedback from customers. We capture that religiously; meet on a weekly basis to review; and assess what’s changed, what are we seeing, what trends are there, are there things we should start thinking about and get ahead of, are there things that are nagging customers?

We also have a very active customer advisory board. Embracing the feedback is really powerful for the company.

RELATED: What is Customer Success — A Smart & Actionable Guide

How to Succeed in Business with Really Trying

Sam Jacobs: What are the key strengths that you’ve had to develop to be effective in your current role? What are the key skills that you think are necessary to be effective as the chief customer officer?

Roger Scott: We’ve got to put our arms around people who want to move into management. It’s probably the hardest job in the organization. There’s a huge amount of pressure, a lot of responsibility. It requires a whole new series of skills. All too often people are put into that role because they’ve done an outstanding job as an individual contributor, but we haven’t put the necessary investment and training around them to make them a great manager.

Our talent acquisition team have put a lot of emphasis on making sure that we get the right blend of new talent with skill sets that others can learn from, as well as putting some great programs around those who want to move into it from individual contributor position.

Leadership is critical, understanding the vision and the ambition of the company and where they’re going. Lew set out to create a very specific culture at New Relic. It is being authentic, bold, passionate about what we believe in, and very collaborative. The culture is what’s going to stand you in good stead as you grow. When I’ve brought in new leaders, within two to three weeks of being here they will say, “I feel like I’ve been here 6 to 12 months already.” And that speaks volumes to me about the way that we’ve been able to assimilate people into the organization, and the degree to which the culture is a fundamental part of our success.

The Hands That Rock the C-Suite

Sam Jacobs: Who are the people that you look up to?

Roger Scott: My wife Michelle Kerr, the CMO at Lever. It’s clear that they’re thinking about talent acquisition in all the right ways. Your ambition needs to extend beyond your product and service, it needs to extend to talent acquisition. Hire people who are going to be instrumental in the growth the company, rather than hiring for the what you need today.

The other thing that’s been an overriding influence has been working with three exceptional women in the industry: Judy Sims who’s the CMO at Oracle and is a remarkable success story for anybody who wants to see what you can achieve in life; Hilarie Koplow-McAdams who did incredible things at Oracle and Salesforce before becoming president and CRO here at New Relic; and then today working for Erica Schultz as CRO, the partnership and collaboration that we have and the passion we’ve been able to instill in one another for the future and success of New Relic has been amazing.

Sam’s Corner

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it’s Sam’s corner. What a fantastic interview with Roger Scott, the chief customer officer of New Relic and a longtime executive focused on all of the different facets that are critical to delivering great customer success and customer experience.

Things We Learned:

  1. The importance of the Ubuntu phrase “I am because you are”
  2. Using culture to drive global team-wide engagement
  3. Why net revenue expansion is the most important CS KPI
  4. How to build both SMB and Enterprise-grade CS teams and what tools to use to empower them
  5. Steps for managing your career within the context of global enterprise orgs like Oracle
  6. The importance of the discomfort of customer feedback

Don’t Miss Episode 50

Now, if you wanna check out the show notes, see upcoming guests, or play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, visit gtmnow.com/podcast-subscribe. You can also find the Sales Hacker podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. If you enjoy this episode, please share with your peers on LinkedIn, Twitter, or elsewhere.

If you’ve got a great idea or a guest for the show, if you wanna get in touch with me, find me on Twitter or on LinkedIn. Finally, thanks again to our sponsors: Chorus the leading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams, and Outreach the leading sales engagement platform.

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