PODCAST 65: The Framework to Deliver Exceptional Customer Success w/ Kim Rose

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Kim Rose, VP of Customer Success at Buildium.

Kim is a successful executive who spent 8 years out of the workforce. How’d she do it? She’s walking us through how to render long-term success in the workforce and add customer value in your career.

If you missed episode 64, check it out here: PODCAST 64: How to Analyze a SaaS Business Effectively w/ David Skok

What You’ll Learn

  • How Buildium got its start
  • How to deliver the right experiences to the customer
  • How to not lose sight of what you’re building
  • The top 3 teams you need for success
  • Initiating presale conversations

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. About Kim Rose and Buildium [02:38]
  3. Finding Opportunity Through Humility and Curiosity [07:50]
  4. The Framework for Exceptional Customer Success [17:31]
  5. How the Customer Experience Can Start Presale [34:49]
  6. Sam’s Corner [45:18]

Show Introduction

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. We’ve got Kim Rose on the show. She’s the VP of Customer Success and Support at Buildium. Buildium’s an incredible story. It’s a company that’s 15 years old, but didn’t raise venture funding until just three years ago.

Kim herself is an incredible executive, and she walks through both professional lessons about how to scale a customer success organization, but also life lessons about how to reenter the workforce. It’s a fantastic show.

We’d like to thank our sponsors. Conga is the leading end-to-end digital document transformation suite. With Conga, you can simplify documents, automate contracts, and execute e-signatures so you can focus on accelerating sales cycles and closing business faster.

Our second sponsor is Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform that enables sales reps to humanize their communications at scale, from automating the soul-sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providing action-oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back.

About Kim Rose and Buildium

Sam Jacobs: We’ve got a great show for you today–Kim Rose who is the VP of Customer Success and Support at Buildium, one of the fastest growing companies in the Boston area.

Kim is an established customer success executive. She has more than 15 years experience building and scaling customer focused organizations at SaaS companies. Her human-first approach has transformed a traditional service component of an organization to a clear and distinctive market differentiator. As a pioneer in this quickly growing space, Kim has proven that a relationship driven model, driven by a focus on the success of the customer leads to rapid and efficient scale. Kim, welcome to the show.

Kim Rose: Thank you so much for having me.

Sam Jacobs: So what does Buildium do? Tell us about the company.

Kim Rose: Buildium is a build-a-product for a third party property manager. It’s a property management platform on which our customers can run the entirety of their business.

It was founded by Michael Monteiro and Dimitris Georgakopoulos out of their own need to have something to manage properties that they were managing. They were engineers who invested in properties and over time built what is the foundation of the platform, and then over the years it has grown and scaled to what it is today.

Finding Opportunity Through Humility and Curiosity

Sam Jacobs: Tell us a little bit about your story because it’s really, really interesting, and increasingly relevant given the diversity of the workforce.

Kim Rose: I got married, had some kids, and decided to stay home and spend some time raising my two boys. I sort of panicked when my youngest was getting ready to go to kindergarten. I was itching to do something, but I didn’t quite know what I was going to do.

I didn’t know anything about technology and how it had changed from 1998 to 2006. I remember talking with the VP of Engineering (at Carbonite) and basically saying, “Look, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I have almost nothing to show you that suggests that, but if it doesn’t work out, then you can fire me.”

And he gave me a shot. I came in as a QA engineer. I spent a couple years doing that, and then as the company grew, I just took on different roles really based on finding problems and solving problems. I moved through the organization.

Sam Jacobs: What advice would you give to people that have been out of the workforce, mothers or fathers that have been at home taking care of the kids?

Kim Rose:

  1. You’ll need humility.

I actually had a negative reaction to being a QA engineer because I had made my way into a fairly high position before I went out of the workforce. Ultimately, that role ended up being the key to my success at Carbonite. Take any role knowing that you will probably be given an opportunity (if you seek it out) to move throughout the organization.

  1. Be curious.

I moved in different roles because I was curious about why things weren’t working or if I perceived something to be inefficient, I just went and fixed it. That’s really key for anybody in a startup, as well. It’s sort of what I like about the startup–it allows you to find a problem and go fix it, don’t wait for somebody to give you an opportunity, go get it.

The Framework For Exceptional Customer Success

Sam Jacobs: You’ve got a lot of really interesting and useful insights about what it means to deliver exceptional customer success. Tell us a little bit about your framework and how you think about building this organization such that it can deliver the right experiences for the customer.

Kim Rose: The one thing that attracted me to Buildium was the fact that the founders were so customer centric and customer focused, and it wasn’t just words on a value wall. It was abundantly clear that it was a mission to do right by not only the customers, but the employees, and the community around us.

So building the success org when I got here, I started looking at the data that suggested our customers were having a problem that we called failure to launch, which basically meant they couldn’t get up and running. They weren’t getting to value fast enough.

That’s when we started the first investment in the team in onboarding, and oriented to make sure that our newest customers could not only get up and running, but that we understood what they intended to get out of the software and we could build customized training plans to make sure they got that value.

That was the first key to making sure that we stayed aligned organizationally on what’s most important for our customers and the success of making sure that they will continue to be successful and be top of mind.

When we first rolled out onboarding, their mission was just make the customer successful. We didn’t really know what that meant. We just said, “Whatever you do, talk to them, and make sure that they are going to be successful.” And then over time, we developed playbooks. We developed a strategy for how we were going to execute on that across different types of customers who want different types of things out of the platform.

How the Customer Experience Can Start Presale

Sam Jacobs: Do you find yourself getting or the team getting pulled into the pre-sales process? Or is it still a clean handoff that you find most dominant?

Kim Rose: We definitely are involved in the presale conversations, particularly in our larger segments. But we would do with it for anybody who wants to really make something out of that conversation.

We actually introduce the customer to the onboarder who is going to be working with them, and that does two things. One, it’s really leans into the message that we are here for them post-sale. But it also gives the onboarder and the CSM who are in the conversation a glimpse into what the customer is looking to get out of the software before we even get started, so it doesn’t feel like a handoff.

It just feels like the next conversation is with another person who already has the context for what has been going on, what the customer is looking to do, and can just say, “Okay. So we heard this, and let’s get you started to get you there in a short period of time.”

Sam’s Corner

Sam Jacobs: What a fantastic interview with Kim Rose who has built an incredible career as a customer success leader, and is currently at Buildium where she’s running a team of over 65. Some great tactical lessons and then some great life lessons.

What We Learned

  • How Buildium got its start
  • How to deliver the right experiences to the customer
  • How to not lose sight of what you’re building
  • The top 3 teams you need for success
  • Initiating presale conversations

Don’t miss episode 66

Before we go, let’s thank our sponsors. Conga is the leading end-to-end digital document transformation suite. With Conga you can simplify documents, automate contracts, and execute esignatures. Our second sponsor is Outreach. Outreach is the leading sales engagement platform.

If you want to reach out to me with feedback, you can reach me on LinkedIn.

Thanks so much for listening, I’ll talk to you next time.

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