Maranda D 0:00
Because the things you do day to day, impact the success of your team members, or the success of a product or whatever it may be, and that ultimately helps us all serve the customer.

Anne B 0:13
Welcome to Unexpected Journey, the show where each week top professionals share work wisdom and life lessons about their careers and what they have learned about human experience in the workplace. I’m your host, Anne Bibb. This week we have Miranda who is the SVP of CES at Datasembly. Miranda is a ground up builder with a passion for setting up the right teams, systems, processes, and overall infrastructure to take both the team and the company to the next level. Miranda has over 20 years of experience both working in and building world class operations with extensive experience building and scaling teams and early and mid stage startups. Miranda’s specialties are in customer success, customer support, tech support, contact centers, sales and various other teams and operations. She has been honored as a top 100 Customer Success strategist in both 2017 and 2018. Top 25 Customer Success influencer judge in 2020, top 50 Customer Success influencer 2021 and sits on numerous boards. Before we begin, don’t forget to subscribe and leave your comments below. Now let’s get started. Miranda, it is so good. We’ve been trying to play I think it’s like a year we’ve been trying to get together. And

Maranda D 1:50
we were you know, we just got on and caught up a little bit for those that, you know, don’t know how these things usually work. And I said to and I’m like, Oh my gosh, we did our prep call in December of last year. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be talking about. Like, we’re just gonna go with it. I can talk but that’s the one thing I do know how to do. So I thought you know what, we’ve been trying to do this for a year. And let’s just get this done. In

Anne B 2:20
our defense, even though we did our prep call in December of last year. We have chatted back and forth since then.

Maranda D 2:28
Yeah, it’s been really bananas. There’s a lot going on on both sides. Right. So I

Anne B 2:35
mean, we’ve both kind of slipped into different roles since then, and to doing other things you’ve been in? Yeah, I was gonna say you’ve been at like three different companies. And yeah, I

Maranda D 2:46
was at swiftly at the beginning of the year, joined our work, wound help wine things down there a little bit. They’re still operating. But I led them through a massive layoff two rounds. And then I joined data assembly, which is where I am now. So

Anne B 3:06
I was at I have Remote Evolution, and then launched Your Cohort, and then joined Ethos Support as a Co-Founder. So we’ve both just been super busy.

Maranda D 3:21
Right? Like it happens. Right? That happens. It

Anne B 3:24
Yeah, it just happens. So but that I think we’re kind of Kismat. And that way of just, you just keep going and you see new challenges and new opportunities. And yeah, keep going,

Maranda D 3:40
this conversation is probably going to be very different today than it would have been January of last year.

Anne B 3:46
I can’t even imagine.

Maranda D 3:47
I mean, last year, I probably would have come in and wanted to talk about, you know, landing 39 interviews with 39 different companies and how I picked the company I was going to and boy, life is so different now for so many people. I know, you know, last year, like the economy, definitely started taking a sharp dip towards the end of the year and people are struggling to you know, find employment. But like, you know, last year, very different than this year for everyone in tech. Right. And

Anne B 4:22
not just that. But I think that every we’re seeing that across the board. And I’m having this conversation frequently that business is very much a living, breathing thing. And when you are evaluating your career, when you’re evaluating what you’re doing for your team. You have to take that into consideration because not only what you’re doing in your personal life and in your career right now six months from now or it could be very, very different for the same for your business. And you have to be open minded and take into consideration what is happening in the world. And more more importantly, what is happening to your team, to your people to your clients, what’s happening behind the screen that you can’t see. Yeah,

Maranda D 5:24
yeah, absolutely. I mean, we felt this, I think, for the first time, in my professional career, and maybe, you know, if I go back into 2000, when we had y2k, everybody was stressed out thinking, Oh, my God, the world is ending, the world is gonna end, right. And then I was in the automotive industry in 2008. When that big crash happened, I lived in Michigan. foreclosures were everywhere you had to empty skyscrapers. In luck, it was another phase of what we went through. And we came out and we prevailed. And I think COVID, you know, that downturn right there that we had right at the beginning of COVID, where there were layoffs. I don’t know if people remember this. But in 2000, we had a bunch of layoffs, it’s nothing like we’ve had this little

Anne B 6:12
Manny, you’re not, to your point, it was a fraction of what we experienced in the pandemic, or after the pandemic, but

Maranda D 6:20
100% and 2021 We couldn’t get talent, you remember, it was like 2021 2022, we were tripping all over each other. In it, you know, salaries were through the roof. And we were hearing stories of people being over employed, like holding down two or three jobs.

Anne B 6:36
Now. Now we know now we know there was talent hoarding happening, but that’s an entirely different conversation. Right,

Maranda D 6:44
right. Yeah. Anyway, I digress. I just was thinking, what a different conversation we’re gonna have today versus a year

Anne B 6:53
ago, but you know what, at the same time, that’s why I love having guests back on, you know, next season or the season after, because what a different conversation we’re going to have next year. Right. Right. I agree. Oh, many things change. Yeah.

Maranda D 7:10
And I think that’s a good reminder for anyone listening to this, no matter what they’re going through, like, they’ll it’ll pass. Right. And I had a team member once say to me, and he was a very wise team member. It’s never as good as it seems. It’s never as bad as it seems. It’s always somewhere in the middle. And that stuck with me. He was probably 1520 years older than me. And I was a young manager. And he reported to me, and he had built a business and lost his business, his wife did fine. You know, she, you know, supported the household and pretty much worked for me for retirement money. So, you know, it was kind of a fun thing for him. But his wisdom that he would ooze was just amazing. And saying, it’s never as good as it seems. It’s never as bad as it seems. It’s always somewhere in the middle. It’s true. And time when you put time in between you and whatever’s going on, right now, it’s easier to see that right. That’s where that whole saying Hindsight is 2020. Because you have a clearer mind, the further you are away. So anyone listening to this right now, this is your reminder, it’s going to get better if you’re one of the folks out there that the many folks that I know that are struggling with either the happenings in the world or, you know, finding a job or figuring out what’s going on in your professional life. It’ll get better, it always it always does. Space will make it better, right?

Anne B 8:41
Somehow, someway, we survive and we get through and we get to the other side of that mountain. Yeah, speaking of mountains, one of the things that I know that you are very good at, is working with early and mid stage startups. This is kind of kind of your specialty. Yes. And what we have a very eclectic group of listeners vary. They range from managers to C suite across a lot of different industries. And I think it would be really interesting for them to hear from you on your approach to building and leading successful teams, especially in those early and mid stage startups. Yeah,

Maranda D 9:31
look, so a little bit of background about me. I know we just hopped into it, assuming people knew me, but Oh, who

Anne B 9:37
doesn’t know Miranda? Miranda constant. She’s like the customer success guru.

Maranda D 9:45
Well, thank you. So I spent the first 10 years of my career working at very large organizations. I spent nine years at one that was a 40 plus billion dollar a year company and There I, you know, learned how to manage accounts and manage portfolios pretty much do customer success before it was called customer success

Anne B 10:07
before? Yes, sir.

Maranda D 10:10
And then, you know, that was in Michigan and I left Michigan moved to Silicon Valley, and I’ve now been part of nine startups. I know, it’s crazy. I’m a glutton.

Anne B 10:24
That may be the most I’ve ever heard one person say, that they’ve been part of

Maranda D 10:28
Yeah, yeah, I, I also, I do advisory work for various other startups. And, you know, partner was some PE firms and stuff like that early seed series, a kind of space. So not only have I been part of nine startups, I see many different operating models. So I feel very fortunate to be able to get to see how folks slice and dice and think about business. And, you know, this experience has taught me one thing, there are no one size fits all models, period. And I see people often going online and Googling, how do I do this? And they tried to take it and plug it in and play with it in their org. And they’re like, why is this not working? Right? So that’s thing, one, how I approach building and leading is first recognizing there are no one size fits all models, in startups or in business, quite frankly, you can borrow and bring in certain components. But you have to make sure you understand your business what the goals are over the next three 612 months. And then once you get bigger, you need to be able to plan out one to three years, right early early. You’re just trying to live for tomorrow, right? And then as it gets bigger, you have to live for next year and then the following couple years. But that’s first is recognizing there are no one size fits all models now. My teams and how I manage and lead my teams, again, it’s it’s going to depend on what kind of teams I have, and what they need, and where we are in the organization. Biggest thing is making sure we’re all unified, and understand what our goals are. All right, we’re all on the same page. We know you know, what our goals are, what the levers are to move those goals. OKRs I’m a big fan of OKRs. Huge fan of OKRs. I think when done well. They can be you know, a growth multiplier. But one is making sure everybody understands what’s expected out of you. How do you deliver that? What does success look like? What does your career trajectory look like? What does growth look like for you? I’m a big believer, happy team members begets happy customers beget happy business in that order. So I usually start with the basic foundations of the happy team members and build from there. And I might even now change that happy team members to successful team members, right? Because I always say happy customers leave all the time. But successful ones stay. So why not change? I’m doing this right here live with you right

Anne B 13:14
here live. You all heard it happened right in front of you right in front of us. There are a few things that you that you said. So recently, I had a conversation. And we were talking about operating models. And he I love having these conversations where you and I might know what an operating model is. But our listeners might not. So we had this conversation about what is an operating model? How do you create one? His comment was start with what not to do. And because it might be overwhelming to somebody who’s never put together an operating model, to your point. I’ve seen people go out there and Google, how do I create an operating operating model? What is an operating model, so on and so forth? And a lot of people start with policies, they know what policies are. Almost everybody knows what a policy or a procedure or standard standard operating procedure procedure is, but an operating model, what is an operating model? So that kind of was, to me an aha moment of, well, what don’t you want? What do you not want to do? Make that list and then move on from there. So what is your advice to those startup organizations that are moving and growing on? What is an operating model? And how do you build one because it can seem overwhelming? Look,

Maranda D 14:54
I like the idea of starting with what not to do but that can be a I think even more overwhelming than just writing down what you should do. I love the idea, though. But I’m trying to think about how to practically practically apply that. And, you know, another little tidbit about me and why my brain goes here. Not only am I in CES, I’ve on finance, Biz Ops, human resources, sales, marketing, even as recent as this year, you know, acting CEO of a company, right? So I am a very, my brain is very operational, almost to an annoying level, where my husband and I go to a restaurant, and I’m observing, and I’m like, gosh, they could really optimize the flow,

Anne B 15:44
like not being efficient.

Maranda D 15:48
That’s the way my brain just naturally kind of operates. So one, I like that premise of starting with what not to do, but I almost worried that would be very overwhelming. So what I would do when I’m creating my operating model, we’re gonna hold up a piece of paper here, I’m gonna put it down here. This is the goal, I’ll show you in a second. In this is the start. Okay, we start on X, who cameras backwards, start on x, and you want to get to your goal, right. So now you’re going to want to how much time you have to get to the goal, let’s just say 12 months, which means we have four quarters, 1234. Now you have four quarters, I would then break it out and figure out in each quarter, what do we need to do to get here to this goal? Okay, and what needs to be true? What are the functions that need to be present? What are the outcomes? What are the KPIs that we’re going to measure? Back into it from there, think about your different levers that you have to drive you to this goal. And then what are going to be the leading indicators that you know that you’re moving in the right direction, as you’re going through these four quarters? Right. And I do this all the time, I know this works. It’s not a fancy operational framework. It’s not, you know, any,

Anne B 17:25
doesn’t have to be No, it doesn’t have to be, it needs to be functional. Exactly.

Maranda D 17:29
It’s not super sophisticated. It is practical, easy, and anyone can do it, you get the different functions in the room that are going to be responsible for the different pieces. And like, as a CEO, or a leader of a department, you say, we need to add an additional 5 million in revenue by the end of 2024. Like 20% of that needs to come from upsell back to base, the other 80% needs to come from new logo, break it out what needs to be true, do we have enough green space? Do we have enough total addressable market? How? What’s the close? Right? What’s the funnel? We need to get to that, right? Like you back into it, and then you keep going and you back into that a little more and a little more. And then what you have is not so much an operational framework, but a plan for how you’re going to execute towards this goal.

Anne B 18:21
So you said what are the leading indicators? What is the difference between a leading and lagging? And how do you put those into your model? Yeah, when you’re when you’re figuring this out, leading

Maranda D 18:39
indicator are maybe measurements that let you know you’re going in the right direction. So there could also be lagging, just to be clear. So at the end of q1, I’m going to look at my gross my net, my pipeline, that is a leading indicator for the end of the year, a lagging indicator for the quarter you just closed. It is telling me I’m moving in the right direction, or I’m moving in the wrong direction. Right. And if you look at it early enough, it’s leading, you know, towards the direction you’re going but lagging for where you’ve already been. I mean, it’s just that simple. Right? There are many kinds

Anne B 19:16
of tells you in the name of what it is. Right? It’s leading you where you want to have

Maranda D 19:22
did we close enough new revenue to meet the entire annual goal? If yes, great. That is an indicator, a leading indicator, we’re moving in the right direction. If no whoop, pause, why? What do we need to change? What do we you know, what are the different levers that we have? What’s going on? Is there something wrong with the pipeline, the funnel, how we’re closing? Are we churning out too much revenue? Are we not upselling? Right? Like, that’s where you pause. That’s that lagging indicator from that quarter. That’s telling you, hey, you’re either going in the right way or the wrong way.

Anne B 20:01
When you’re putting this operating model together, you mentioned, you know, you’ve been over finance, HR, operations, marketing sales. I mean, you basically have been the entire company and one person when you’re putting touch

Maranda D 20:15
product and engineering.

Anne B 20:20
That is my line. That isn’t that’s my boundary.

Maranda D 20:23

Anne B 20:26
Respect the boundary people. So when you’re putting this operating model together, is everybody involved? I mean, you said, figure out which function handles What, is it an entire company? Item? Or are we you I hear the word operations operating model? Is it just operations? Is it inclusive of technology and finance or, you know, trying to make sure that everybody’s understanding? Look

Maranda D 20:56
you have if you have five people in your company, yes, for the entire company. If you have 100 people in the company, no, you’re going to bring the functional leaders and any stakeholders that are absolutely necessary for making the decisions needed for that department, because that’s the scope of their responsibility to gather in a room, you put it up on a whiteboard, if you can write ideally, you’re doing this in person. Otherwise, you could it’s totally doable over zoom, I think we’ve all learned that we can work from anywhere.

Anne B 21:30
Yes, we can. Well, most people can.

Maranda D 21:33
I was gonna say, most people, but I do. And

Anne B 21:37
I understand you can’t perform surgery from anywhere I get it. Not yet.

Maranda D 21:41
Not Yeah. But ideally, you bring in the stakeholders and the functional leaders who know their area. I mean, look, sometimes when I’m doing stuff like this, I’ll have a CSM that is very specialized in some area. And unlike they need to be involved, they know more of the nuances, they’re more in the weeds than I am, I usually go wide and not so deep. So if I know I have somebody that I need, that goes deep, that is going to call out anything that I may have in a blind spot on there, there, I make sure they have a seat at that table to be part of that conversation. And we probably don’t solve it all in one session altogether, we come up with the basic framework and understanding of what needs to be true. And then each of the functional leads can break out and let’s talk about the activities and the actions and the things we’re going to do in that quarter. To drive that progress forward, that we unite, and everybody comes together with what they’re committing to understanding like this is what’s needed to move the business forward.

Anne B 22:46
So we talked a little bit about customer success. And that being one of your specialties, how do you define customer success?

Maranda D 23:00
Well, it’s funny, you asked me this, I’ve been saying this a lot lately, I just presented at our company, on site last week, where I stood up in front of everybody and defined customer success. And look, there are two and eight ways to define customer success. We have customer success, the department, right in that department is the function that has the responsibility for orchestrating the success of the customer internally and externally. Like it is their responsibility. You can visualize this as a hub, so to speak. They are the ones that if you think about a hub and spoke, think about Laura Ingalls. Oh, here we go. The wagon wheel. They had the wagons the wheel,

Anne B 23:44
I knew you were up my tribe.

Maranda D 23:49
This is just how my brain works. Okay.

Anne B 23:52
I’m following you. I’m riding with you.

Maranda D 23:55
Nobody else probably is. But we’re here. It’s our world, everybody. Everybody dropped. Anyway, so think about, you know, one of those old wheels and you have your head, your hub in the center, and then you have the spokes that are coming out of it. That’s how you can think about customer success is the function, right? They own the success and they advocacy internally and externally for the customer. But they also have to balance out what’s going on in the business and understand all of that. So that is the function. Now customer success just to define it, quite frankly, everyone in the organization knows customer success. So or the success of the customer, everyone, I don’t care what department they’re in. I don’t care if you’re the person that you know, make sure that the refrigerator stocked or you’re orchestrating fun events in Slack. Like I don’t care. You own the success of the customer if you were employed at a technology startup, because the things you do day to day impact the success of your team members, or the success of a product or whatever it may be in that ultimately helps us all serve the customer. So I know that’s kind of speaking in circles, but we have the customer success management and customer success. One plays with the other. But ultimately Customer Success itself is when a customer is able to achieve value within your product again, and again and again, and grow and expand and stay. I

Anne B 25:29
think that it tell me if I’m hearing this correctly. You’ve got an action, a customer success, action function, and you’ve got a customer success outcome. So just trying to put those into little bubbles, you’ve got your your team, your function action, their job is to ensure the outcome of customer success, they just happened to be called the same thing. Exactly their success function is named the same thing because their action, their outcome is to determine the outcome of customer success. Bingo.

Maranda D 26:06
Interestingly enough, I don’t know it was probably five years ago or so I posted on LinkedIn, I think we should change the name of customer success.

Anne B 26:16
I’m going to challenge this and hear me out because we have a sales team. Okay, think about this, we have a sales team. Their outcome is to drive sales. Nobody is confused by this. A sales team is called sales. And they are selling their driving sales. Why are we so confused that the customer success team is driving customer success?

Maranda D 26:54
I think because, you know, honestly, I’ll give you an answer. I think our name is so close to customer support. And don’t get me wrong, customer support tends to live under the umbrella of customer success. I almost always own. I’ve always own tech support and customer support in my under my umbrella. The names are so close, I think it creates confusion, especially in industries that are maybe a little bit more old school. They don’t know what customer success is what it means. So we have to take the time to educate and explain like we’re here to be your value partner, and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your investment. We have so many industry insights that, you know, we talked to many individuals like you, we’re here to help guide you to success, right. But the title, it’s so close to customer support. And I thought that I swear to God, I thought I was gonna, you know, get crazy hate mail, when I suggested like just loosely kind of, you know, joking around like, I think we should just change the name of customer success, because I was so frustrated by having to continuously explain again and again and again. And again, what the difference is, because they’re like, yeah, we’ll email you when we need something. I’m like, no, no, no, hey, my friend, Danny.

Anne B 28:11
I’m with you. I actually did that. And my organization. My team is now called Client Services instead of customer success because of the confusion. I get it. Yeah. So I’m ready yet again, hello, red here with you. But it is just that nuance of the change and how it’s perceived. They are still driving customer success, their relationship. And what they are supposed to be doing is building the relationships making sure they’re successful. And to your point, customer support or operations is rolling up to the client services team. They report up to them, because it doesn’t. I’ve done it other ways. But I have found its most successful that way. Yeah. And because that relationship is best suited to making sure that they are connecting here. And if they are not responsible for these actions and how this is being delivered, then they can’t ensure this relationship is being handled properly. Yeah, so very, very much. So. You’ve mentioned several times about KPIs and metrics and indicators. What do you think from your standpoint of years of being in this role driving customer success? What are crucial for measuring the success of a Customer Success Program?

Maranda D 29:48
Yeah, funny you asked me that because yesterday on LinkedIn, and I’m just gonna bring it up on another screen. I shared and this is the second time I shared this post. I shared it before probably six months to A year ago. Yes, I reuse content. Like curl. So do I. I don’t have that many original thoughts. I have to reuse stuff. I’m just tired. Okay, I’m

Anne B 30:17
menopause. Brain fog is real.

Maranda D 30:22
I’m not going down that path. I will say I do have a 22 year old so y’all do the math on

Anne B 30:28
your own 2025 2627 Yeah, yeah.

Maranda D 30:32
It’s crazy, right? Crazy. went by fast.

Anne B 30:39
My listeners have heard at all. I don’t hold back. They know I’m in menopause. They know I’m gluten free. And they know I have old kids.

Maranda D 30:50
I should be gluten free. Celiac? Better? Well, I have one of the genes for that. And I have it. My doctor told me to cut out gluten. Do you mean I just Yeah, I would rather get sick and suffer Think

Anne B 31:05
hard. But see, the thing is, is that the further the more that I do it, the worse it gets. Yeah. So the last time that I was like, oh, it’s worth it. It was not worth it. It was not worth it.

Maranda D 31:17
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And it was it was okay

Anne B 31:21
at the beginning. But the more you do it, the worse it gets. So enjoy it while you can. Enjoy it. Why can’t anyway,

Maranda D 31:28
I digress. Let’s talk about what I measure.

Anne B 31:34
The slides tablespoons of cream cheese. Yeah, exactly.

Maranda D 31:39
So look, yesterday, I reshard. A post that I shared probably six, six to 12 months ago. I do have people all the time that reached out and asked me, What do you measure? What do you measure in your customer success? Or here’s the thing, first advice to CS leaders stop thinking like that. Stop thinking like, how do I know if my customer success or is being successful? You are a business leader? How do you know if the business has been successful? What you’re doing and customer success is just a small piece of the picture, you should be looking at business measurements, you should be looking at the overall health of the business to understand if the area, the function that you’re responsible for moving across the finish line is doing what it should be doing. If you’re just looking at the metrics in your organization, you could be missing other pieces of the picture and not move your levers quick enough, right. So that’s thing one, like you want to you know, people you want to move from VP to C level. That’s where you start. You stop thinking like, I do customer success that I own customer success, because this is what I do. And this is what I own. No, you start thinking like, Okay, what’s the overall health of the business, you care about? Pipeline, you care about sales, you care about product, you care about bugs, you care about uptime, right? Like you care about the full, holistic picture that moves you from VP to C level. So that being said, what I’m looking at, I’m always looking at Net Revenue retention. Now, what’s a big component of net revenue retention, retention? Your gross renewal, right, your gross dollar renewal, right? So I’m looking if I have $100, up for renewal this month, and I renewed $100, Yay, I got 100%. Right? And then how much more did we expand and so the lower that gross goes, the harder it gets to get the higher net, because you have to make up for that deficit. So if you had $100, up for renewal, and you renewed $80, and your goal is to be at 110%. That means you have to sell 30 more dollars, right? Who wants to do that you’re chasing a leaky bucket. Right? So plug the hole in, then it makes the top line growth easier. Net Promoter Score. I know a lot of people were like NPS, garbage, blah, blah, blah. I hear about it all the time. I’m still a fan of NPS. However, it is not the end all be all. Okay. It is a data point, only a data point. I’m a big believer, and it’s not about sending the survey out and celebrating and high fiving each other when you get a nine or a 10. It’s about reading the comments, seeing who’s who’s a detractor who’s passive, but more importantly, who’s not responding. If you have an executive sponsor, somebody who holds the budget, that opens up that survey and then closes it and doesn’t reply, or they don’t even open it. That’s a data point. CSMs should be reaching out saying, Hey, we sent this survey we noticed that you didn’t reply. We’d love to talk because there’s something going on or something act upon it. Time to first value again. You usually have a ticking time clock and customer success. So we signed mostly I work with one and three year contracts it swiftly I was in one three and five Have your contracts at HelloSign, I had monthly contracts. So, you know, value is important time to first value. That is the time it takes from the time they sign the contract, to get to their first moment of value, the longer that takes, the harder it is for you to secure that renewal, where to even talk about anything else, but their onboarding and value, right, you want to get them beyond that, and get them into relationship mode. And out of like, let’s seek that first value moment to prove yourself. So that’s something that folks should be focused on. I will call out just a couple more. And then I’ll shut up because I’m spitting out an awful lot here.

Anne B 35:42
This is all great information, call out all you want. This is phenomenal. Good, because there’s a bunch of this entire show is about knowledge sharing and helping people grow their career. So this is this is phenomenal. Awesome.

Maranda D 35:56
Well, I also look at CSAT. That’s a no brainer. You know, I want to know transactionally. How are we doing? That’s what he said is just so you know, when I hear people talk about CSAT. Like, it’s, you know, NPs or it’s a big, you know, barometer, if somebody’s going to renew, it’s not generally, it’s just a snapshot in a moment of time. It is customer satisfaction, like I submitted a ticket, the team solved the ticket, I’m either happy or I’m not with that resolution. That’s all it is. But it’s important to check it. And it’s important to know where you are getting into some of the business metrics, I look at day sales outstanding. Yes, you want to look at the aging report, your AR Aging report, take a look. See what you have in your one to 3031 to 6061 to 90 and 91 plus eight buckets, the one to 60, I usually am not super concerned about, you know, look, we want our customers to pay their bills on time. But like customers, like trust me, as somebody who pays bills, has paid bills for organizations, it is a strategy to pay slow to reduce the cash burn. Like if you’re towards a quarter end, and you need to report out where you are, you’ll pay slow or you’ll drag it out a little bit to make your cash balance look a little higher. Like that’s a strategy

Anne B 37:20
never happens. I don’t know. Nobody’s ever seen anything like that?

Maranda D 37:26
Yeah, yeah, never. Where I get worried is when I start looking in the 61 Plus bucket, that you should look and see, you know, which one of your customers are in there? That is a risk factor, if they’re not paying your bills, right. So you should know that CSMs you should know that CS leaders that your customers that you’re working with aren’t paying their bills, it could be an indicator of many things. It could be an indicator of nothing. But you should know. A pipeline I talked about this already. So pipeline new sales closed, new sales forecasts, like you need to know what’s going on, are we meeting our goals? Here’s the thing. The minute sales is having problems with top line revenue growth, guess where the pressure goes? To see us? Okay. So you need to know that there’s generally more pressure about getting the back to base revenue increased, making sure we’re not losing revenue, right, like being Guardians of the bottom line. In this economic environment, the pressure is it’s pretty big. So you should know, how are we doing with our marketing pipeline? Or our top of line pipeline? How much pipeline? Do we need to close a deal? What’s the ratio? What’s the average time to close? You know, all of that stuff? Usage adoption runway, is somebody who just let a company through a couple rounds of layoffs, know how much money you have in the bank. Because again, that’s not to create fear. It’s just to help show you like where what should I be doing, right? Maybe runways running a little low. So we need to really uptick on our upsells to you know, bring in a little bit of additional revenue or spend less, alright, maybe we shouldn’t travel right now. Or maybe we don’t need that, you know, $100,000 tech tool, right? So that is good for you as a owner in the business or a leader in the business to know all of this stuff. Rule of 40 is something new that a lot of people are monitoring. I started monitoring it last year, I shared an article about it in my LinkedIn posts for folks that want to read on it. And then of course, CAC to LTV ratio, so my cost of acquisition to LTV, those are all things. Lastly, on top of what I’m monitoring I’m also want churn forecasted one year rolling. I want to know what’s at risk as soon as possible. No one is ever in trouble. If a customer churns unless I’m 100% surprised about it. They’re not Trouble, so to speak, but I’m gonna definitely raise my right eyebrow as much as I can. There’s so much Botox in there. I’m gonna raise my right eyebrow at you and say, Why did you not know this was going to turn right? But give me that one year rolling forecast. My monthly red yellow green means like, keep me in touch with what’s going on? I will shut up. No.

Anne B 40:28
I think that was absolutely fantastic. I think this is actually a great time for us to let everybody get to know you a little bit more and play a little game of this or that. And I know you’ve seen the seen the show. So I give you two words or phrases. And you have to pick you can’t say neither or both.

Maranda D 40:53
I know that’s the anxiety. All right, yes,

Anne B 40:57
that I do the same thing because sometimes I’m like, I don’t like either of them. And then you know, we just talk about why. So are you ready? Yeah, let’s do it. Okay, so let’s see, what is the first one that’s going to come up and the first one is? I don’t like it. The first one. The first one.

Maranda D 41:16
You’re gonna give it to me anyway. I

Anne B 41:19
have to answer it now. It’s bungee jumping. Or skydiving?

Maranda D 41:29
skydiving, I guess? Yeah, I think I would pick skydiving. Do I tell you why or no? Yeah,

Anne B 41:34
my, um,

Maranda D 41:36
I mean, I don’t know like bungee jumping. I don’t like the idea of like being flung and then bouncing back and forth. The idea of soaring over the Earth seems very peaceful and wonderful. Bungee jumping. Who seems more? I don’t know. Like, harsh. I don’t know the word. I’m gonna

Anne B 41:59
go with skydiving too because my NB did have me go bungee jumping with them. One. It wasn’t really like bungee jumping. It was at the fair and it was one of those we’re gonna pull up. No, we’re gonna drop you down. And I did not like the bouncy, bouncy part. It felt like Yeah, yeah, it felt I didn’t like the head, stamping kind of bit piece. A

Maranda D 42:25
bit. I am a bit of a thrill seeker to like, I did roller derby. And I’ve done like, all kinds of crazy stuff. Right? We ride motorcycles and so

Anne B 42:35
I don’t mind it. Yeah, as long as there’s not like a jerky, like, I can’t do roller coasters anymore. I used to love them when I was younger. I don’t like them anymore now because I don’t like the like this is not making like that was pretty that was great. We should do that again. And that is one of many reasons. We don’t do roller coaster.

Maranda D 43:00
Here Yeah.

Anne B 43:02
Um, so yeah, I think I would go with the skydiving mainly because the thought of being weightless. Soothing, and dairy. Yeah. Yeah. I’m like

Maranda D 43:18
where my home is it?

Anne B 43:19
Yes. That that we just got to embrace it. Right? Yeah. Okay, what’s next? We’re gonna go to do and the outcome is paperback or hardcover books. hardcover.

Maranda D 43:37
I have a bookshelf full of business books, and I like hardcover as much as I can get them because I know it’s probably worse for the environment. I get it. But maybe it’s not because they last longer. There we go. Kindle for my personal books.

Anne B 43:53
This is one of the ones I would say neither because I am a Kindle person. But I can’t pick neither.

Maranda D 44:01
Yeah, right now I’m reading a memoir by Osama bin Laden sister in law, about her time being married to his brother and living in Saudi Arabia. It’s so good. I procrastinated. Yeah, anyway, keep going. Sorry.

Anne B 44:18
I think I’m gonna have to go with paperback. Mainly because I have interviewed so many amazing authors on the show. And generally they’ll send me a copy of the book and they’re almost always paperback. So I have all of these paperback books and I just love getting them. So I think I’m gonna have to go with paper book just because of that.

Maranda D 44:43
I love a free book too. And I won’t discriminate you want to say just paperback books. I’ll take pages I have the little notes they put in them when I buy though I buy hardcover. I try to.

Anne B 44:54
I am so funny story when I got married. My husband and I had I didn’t get married until I was 35 and my husband and I paid for our own wedding and I had a collection of Danielle Steel books and I some first editions too and I sold my collection and they were all hard hardcopy all hardcover. got actually a pretty good chunk for him. I thought they were all hardcover. I

Maranda D 45:25
went to Daniel Steel’s steps on or have son or my stepsons house in San Francisco and billionaires row for dinner with Trevor trainer has his name. Very fascinating guy. Very fascinating guy. So yeah.

Anne B 45:44
I’m not at all jealous. Not at all. Okay, last question. Are you ready? Sure. Classic Rock or alternative music?

Maranda D 45:55
Oh. I mean, the alternative music I like is considered classic rock now.

Anne B 46:01
I know that’s kind of difficult.

Maranda D 46:04
I’m like a 90s grunge girl so yes, Stone Temple Pilots Allison chains Nirvana smashing or you know, Soundgarden? Like that’s my jam. I do like some 80s hair bands but I literally on Jovi

Anne B 46:18
poison all of it

Maranda D 46:20
all of it.

Anne B 46:21
Are we the same person?

Maranda D 46:23
Maybe I don’t know. Like, I I am huge into like the 90s grunge. But I think it’s considered classic now not alternative. But back in the day, it was considered alternative, right? Like,

Anne B 46:34
I think so. What exactly would be considered classic rock though?

Maranda D 46:39
I mean, if you ask me, it’s anything made in the 50s and 60s?

Anne B 46:44
I’m gonna go with alternative music then.

Maranda D 46:47
70s as well, maybe, but yeah,

Anne B 46:50
I think I think I’m with you. Because I think that if it’s saying classic rock or alternative music. I’m with you. It’s probably the 90s Yeah, Nirvana.

Maranda D 47:02

Anne B 47:03
it’s definitely not the hairbands. No,

Maranda D 47:05
no, no.

Anne B 47:06
totally on board. Like I love me some Bon Jovi,

Maranda D 47:10
I totally would rock the 80s. If I were back there now that I know how to deal with my really curly hair. Because I have big hair would have been amazing. And I grew up in the 80s. I just didn’t know how to deal with my hair then. Now I do

Anne B 47:25
exactly. Same. Yeah. I looked back at some pictures the other day. And I was like, Who was this girl? And why didn’t she embrace all of that? All of it. Like she was going on? She just wasn’t confident in herself. Exactly.

Maranda D 47:41

Anne B 47:43
Thank you for playing course.

I love that game. I get to know my guests so much more. And it’s just, it’s just fun. That was

Maranda D 47:51
a lot of fun. And thank you for having me.

Anne B 47:53
So let’s just talk about customer onboarding really quick.

Maranda D 47:58

Anne B 47:59
we can do that. What? What is most important to you about customer onboarding and putting those processes? How do you do it? So many people do it differently? And you’ve done it in nine different startups?

Maranda D 48:16
Yeah, it depends on what you’re who you’re onboarding and what they need, right. If it’s b2c, it’s going to be different than if it’s b2b, if it’s as simple as getting them signed up and trained and working through change management, that’s one thing. At swiftly our onboarding, could take anywhere from three months to nine months. And like we had one customer that went, you know, well over a year, because we had so many different proponents. Yeah, it just depends. First and foremost, I will say, regardless of what is needed to get the customer on boarded, and help them through change management, which is huge, huge, huge, huge, I can’t reiterate that enough. Make sure you have it documented, you understand what is needed to be done, and the customer understands what is needed to be done. What are the milestones, what do they own? What do you own, have a regular cadence of check ins to make sure that you’re getting the part from them, and you’re giving him the part from you, right? Just communicate and be very clear about what to expect and what’s going to be done. We used to do a kickoff call, you know, after we would sign and say welcome, you know, and now let’s talk about what onboarding is going to look like we would do a presentation, show them, introduce them to who the different folks were. We’re going to ingest multiple data feeds. So we’re going to need access to this system, this system, this system that we’re going to set up these trainings, right. So just make sure you communicate it. The fun thing that we did at swiftly that I loved is we did a graduation from onboarding. That way it was like an official like you did it. You made it your onboarding, you are now formally going to transition to your CSM, who has been there all along. So they now know the CSM. And I onboarding leader, I’m going to move to my next project to onboard the next, you know, you. And we when you know when it went virtual when everything went virtual, we used to have fun with it and put like party hats on and graduation hats on on Zoom and show up and be like, congratulations, it’s been a long, six months, but you did it, you know. So yeah, those are that’s my two cents about onboarding.

Anne B 50:37
I always ask my guests to speak directly to a specific individual before we leave. And I would love it if you could talk directly to a professional who is wanting advice. They’re aspiring to build a career and Customer Success and Support. And they just want to know, what is your advice to them on how to pursue that career and grow their career? Yeah,

Maranda D 51:07
so first, don’t get frustrated with the current environment that we’re in. It given the nature of where we are with the economy, the market is very infiltrated with amazing candidates and talent. So that does make it harder. I’m just being real for folks to break in. But don’t get frustrated. Think two to five years out not six to 12 months. What do you need to invest in right now to build up the skills. So when your time comes, and you are ready to put your name in the hat or you get that chance to interview, you have real tangible examples of how you built up the experience to be a viable candidate. But the biggest advice is, don’t get hung up on the six to 12 really think like two to five years out. So the second thing I will say is be open and willing to get in getting a start in an organization in another department. And then getting your experience by shadowing or partnering with a customer success organization. Example of this is start in sales, start in support, talk to your manager and say I’m really interested in being in customer success. What would need to be true for me to get a chance to do this? What are the skill sets I need to build? Can I mentor What can I do in my spare time, right? That will speak to your manager. You know, some managers may be afraid that you doing this will take away from your core job, like immediately squash that by offering to do these things in your additional time and your personal time. Because that’ll show them you’re very serious about it and you want to move to that area.

Anne B 52:50
Miranda, why would someone reach out to you and how would they reach out to you?

Maranda D 52:57
Well, how is on LinkedIn, I’ll start with a how I have a Twitter, I’m not a tweeter. So

Anne B 53:06
I think it’s I think I’m not an expert, but you are actually an expert.

Maranda D 53:10
On the next term agenda. I’m sorry, it is Twitter. It is Twitter. Twitter will

Anne B 53:16
always be Twitter.

Maranda D 53:20
I’m just saying they could have done better on the change management with the name change. That is all this is a lesson in customer success. Live right here.

Anne B 53:27
That is right here.

Maranda D 53:29
So So LinkedIn is the best place. And you know why somebody would reach out to me, I talk a lot about, you know, building customer success, operations, leadership. You know, how to interview how to get hired, I do little things to try to help the community get their names in front of hiring managers. So all those types of things. And look, I get boatloads of messages. I will just caveat this by saying please be patient with me. If you reach out to me and I don’t respond right away. It takes me sometimes a good week to get back to everything that’s in my inbox. So but I do get back.

Anne B 54:07
You are I have to say one of the biggest advocates of individuals, not just the customer success community, because you are that as well. But one of the things that absolutely drew me to you, as an individual yourself was the fact that you promote those individuals and you’re like, This is a person, this is a human. Take a look at this person who is looking. You’re not just talking about your company, you’re not just talking about you, you’re not just talking about the industry. You actively share individual humans and that is inspirational, motivational, and just all around a positive thing that I am so massively impressed by. Thank

Maranda D 54:59
you Oh, look, I am so fortunate to be sitting in this seat. You know, I’ve been very open about me growing up in extreme poverty, like, you know, I was emancipated at 16. I’ve been on my own for a long time and didn’t have like that family unit. So I’ve been propped up by folks, over the years that have given me chances have opened doors for me. And now I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be able to do that for others. And if everybody would do that, at least, like once a week, like, I’m not saying you have to do to dedicate your whole life, you know, just once a week, like, make an intro for somebody or, you know, share us with somebody that you know, is hiring, somebody would no be a good fit, like, just a little bit goes a long way. What is it many pebbles make a big splash, many little pebbles make a big splash, like we’re all a bunch of little pebbles, right? And if we all do a little things, like what a difference we could make, right?

Anne B 56:03
Absolutely. Brandy has been my great honor. Always love talking to you. But this has just been amazing. And I can’t wait for our next one.

Maranda D 56:13
It was fun. So I guess we’ll see each other in 2025. long it took us to do this.

Anne B 56:22
Do not jinx us. And for everybody else. Thank you so much for joining. We hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did, and we will see you again next week. As we wrap up the episode, we would like to take this time to thank you for joining us this week on unexpected journey. Our guest information will be linked in the episode description along with a link to our host website, and our sponsors websites,,, and Please don’t forget to like, subscribe and share on your favorite podcast app and on our YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode and we can continue to bring them to you. Let us know your thoughts on what we discussed in the comment section. And once again, thanks for joining us. We hope to see you again next time on Unexpected Journey.


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