As SaaS gets more serious about Customer Success, their representation on the executive and C-suite level will follow (as envisioned in our 2020 Customer Success predictions; see #2). Based on LinkedIn research, Customer Success roles saw 34% annual growth—qualifying them as one of the top emerging jobs in 2020. For Customer Success teams to continue to expand, it’s crucial they have dedicated leadership to rally internal support and fortify their position within the broader organization.
Great teams start with great leaders, so we wanted to highlight some of the industry trailblazers who are shaping the future of this maturing field and staking a claim for Customer Success as an essential SaaS growth driver. While our 2020 Customer Success leaders watchlist below includes long-time Customer Success champions, we’re excited to see several prominent SaaS companies welcome their first-ever Chief Customer Officer to their C-suite roster—a promising sign for the unlimited potential of a career in Customer Success.
And if you’re considering the role yourself, check out our eBook: The Future CCO, for firsthand advice from industry leaders on what it takes to become a Chief Customer Officer.
1) Yamini Rangan, (First) Chief Customer Officer, HubSpot
Yamini joins HubSpot from Dropbox where she was their Chief Customer Officer. In her new role, she will unite HubSpot’s marketing, sales and services teams around the customer, creating a cohesive experience to help fulfill their mission of helping millions of companies grow better.
“This year, we’ve made some important functional changes to make sure we’re keeping the needs of our customers and partners at the center of everything we do,” said Brian Halligan co-founder and CEO of HubSpot. “Today’s most disruptive companies are finding ways to innovate on how they market, sell, and provide service to their buyers, and Yamini has a proven track record of doing just that. I’m confident that our team and community will benefit greatly from her experience.”
Prior to joining Dropbox, Yamini spent four years at Workday where she was the Vice President of Sales Strategy and Operations and helped quadruple revenue and scaled the sales organization. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering, a Master’s in Computer Engineering, and an MBA from Berkeley. In 2019, Yamini was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by San Francisco Business Times.
2) James Scott, Vice President of Customer Success, ShootProof
James brings more than a decade of Customer Success experience to ShootProof, where he leads the Customer Success and Customer Support teams. James is a seasoned executive with a track record of serving high-growth SaaS companies and joins ShootProof from SuccessHacker, where he served as General Partner. His expertise is helping organizations focus on the customer journey to deliver an extraordinary customer experience, underpinned by world-class customer success, on-boarding and support organizations.
“Investing in our customers’ success is one of ShootProof’s top priorities. James brings tremendous experience and data-driven acumen to ShootProof,” said ShootProof CEO Colin Breece. “He is passionate about customer advocacy and believes that there’s no more powerful growth engine than delighted customers.”
3) Lisa Schreiber, (First) Chief Customer Success Officer, Forcepoint
Lisa will be responsible for Forcepoint’s customer capabilities, overall customer experience from acquisition to retention, as well as sustainable growth of the global portfolio. As Chief Customer Success Officer, Lisa will represent the voice of the Forcepoint customer, working cross-functionally to reimagine how leading cybersecurity companies should engage with their customers. Her responsibilities will be to deliver an industry-leading customer engagement model that sets the standard in cybersecurity for customer satisfaction.
“Lisa has a proven track record in driving and scaling success, and I am confident she will do an outstanding job and take our customer capabilities to the next level,” said Matthew Moynahan, CEO, Forcepoint. “Our relationship with our customers is everything, and it is essential that we create a seamless, unified experience across all customer touchpoints and add value with each interaction. I am excited to have Lisa as part of my senior leadership team.”
Lisa was most recently Vice President of North America Customer Services at Oracle and has over 20 years of enterprise software and SaaS experience. While at Oracle, Lisa led the customer success of Oracle’s 200 largest enterprise customers. Lisa has also held executive positions at GoldenGate Software, Inc., Schwab and U.S. Trust Corporation, among others.
Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Follow and find Lisa on LinkedIn.
4) Chad Gaydos, (First) Chief Customer Officer, Talkdesk
Talkdesk CCO Chad Gaydos is the company’s first senior executive focused on creating and nurturing a corporate culture devoted to customer experience at every level. In this position, Chad is responsible for leading the strategy and execution for customer experience and engagement journey with Talkdesk.
“Customers’ expectations for exceptional service are changing faster than ever, so it was critical to add to the Talkdesk management team a strong CCO who can provide a thorough customer perspective in executive decisions,” said Tiago Paiva, CEO, Talkdesk. “Chad Gaydos has a remarkable track record in customer-facing roles across the globe and brings a comprehensive understanding of customer-centricity to the Talkdesk approach. His deep knowledge, vast experience and passion for customer excellence will be instrumental in deploying and aligning resources to increase the lifetime value and profitability of customers.”
Chad joins Talkdesk with more than two decades of executive leadership at Skillsoft, the world’s largest corporate learning software provider, and SAP, the largest global enterprise application software company.
He received his BBA in Finance from Kennesaw State University.
5) Celeste Martinell, Vice President of Customer Success, BenchPrep
Celeste is responsible for leading BenchPrep’s Customer Success team as they continue to expand their team, reach, and learning solutions. Celeste has served in senior client management and client partnership roles in the education and technology space for the last 20 years. Now at BenchPrep, she’ll be building and leading the Customer Success department to ensure clients are leveraging the full extent of the company’s learning platform and getting maximum value from it.
“I am thrilled to have Celeste join the BenchPrep team as our Vice President of Customer Success,” said Ashish Rangnekar, CEO of BenchPrep. “The Customer Success function at BenchPrep has become very critical because our rapidly-growing client-base depends on us to be their strategic partners, with many of them having unique needs and desired outcomes. With Celeste now leading this department, I’m confident we’ll be able to empower all of our customers with the requisite knowledge and resources to offer the best learning programs in their respective markets.”
Celeste holds a BBA from Ohio University.
Find and follow Celeste on LinkedIn.
6) Madan Gadde, (First) Chief Customer Officer, Collibra
Madan will be charged with building out the organization and vision for the post-sales function. Drawing on his demonstrated track record, he will lead strategy for Collibra’s best-in-class customer advisory management programs and collaborate with the executive leadership team to streamline the customer journey.
“Collibra’s customer success initiatives are a critical component to our long-term business success,” said Philip Carty, Chief Revenue Officer for Collibra. “As we continue to scale our business globally, formalizing a high-performing customer strategy becomes imperative. With Madan’s extensive background in leading global post-sales efforts, he will be instrumental in helping customers realize the full potential of Data Intelligence by turning data into a strategic and competitive asset.”
With more than 20 years of experience driving customer-centric technology solutions globally, Madan most recently served as Senior Vice President Customer Success at DataStax, a leading provider of database software for hybrid and multi-cloud distributed applications. Prior to that, Gadde led customer service offerings at FIS as Senior Vice President of worldwide professional services. Gadde also held various leadership positions at HP, Genesys and Mercury Interactive.
Find and follow Madan on LinkedIn.
7) Brian LaReau, Vice President of Customer Success, Sureify
Brian’s primary focus will be developing metrics and initiatives that will influence several areas of the company to ensure Customer Success. Brian brings with him extensive experience in driving Customer Success. As a professional services leader on Guidewire’s international team, Brian was a key driver in increasing Guidewire’s European customer base by 500% and revenue by 840% in five years by leading InsuranceSuite implementations at Aviva UK and PZU Poland. LaReau’s proven success with customers and partners created advocates for Guidewire in the region leading to explosive sales and revenue growth.
“We are so fortunate to have Brian agree to lead our Customer Success team. His deep experience with Guidewire in leading strategic implementations and assuring Customer Success during times of rapid growth will help us to continue to delight our customers as we grow in the coming months and years,” commented Brian Mulconrey, SVP of Customer Implementations and Services.
Find and follow Brian on LinkedIn.
8) Heather Bentley, Senior Vice President of Customer Success, Mimecast
Heather will be responsible for leading the global customer success and services strategy to ensure alignment with corporate goals and initiatives. This will require her to drive cross functional initiatives and develop a roadmap to strategically engage, retain, and scale positive customer experiences. With the huge cyber security skills gap, there is an opportunity for Mimecast Legendary Customer Success to serve as a trusted security advisor to our valued customers. Heather’s experience building global services programs will help Mimecast expand its efforts in this area to deliver amazing customer engagements.
“I love Mimecast’s customer-first approach to doing business. There’s really a sense of wanting for each customer to have the best experience possible that resonated with me when talking to both executives and team members across the globe. I’m excited to take my passion for building customer success to Mimecast and help continue driving the Legendary Customer Success they’re known for,” said Heather Bentley.
Previously, Heather was the Head of Customer Success in Europe for Automation Anywhere. For more than a decade, Heather held leadership positions at Symantec and recently was their Vice President of Premium Support and Customer Success.
Follow and find Heather on LinkedIn.
9) Chris Frasier, Chief Customer Officer, Mapp Digital
Chris will be responsible for Mapp’s post-sales customer management, including global account management, revenue delivery, and customer success. In his new role, Chris will continue to lead Mapp’s Customer Support and Professional Services groups. Having worked in the marketing industry for over 15 years, both on the brand and technology provider side, Chris is a recognized account management veteran with extensive business experience and a proven reputation of delivering for Mapp’s customers.
Steve Warren, CEO of Mapp, congratulated Chris and said “With Chris, we are filling the position of Chief Customer Officer with a true account management professional. The demands for providing superior all-round customer service are changing in line with Mapp’s continued global growth. Chris understands how to drive and execute internal transformation like virtually no one else to maximize the success of the entire organization into the future.”
Find and follow Chris on LinkedIn.
10) Tom Krackeler, Chief Customer Officer, Zuora
Tom joined the Zuora executive team as Senior Vice President of Products in May of 2015 through the acquisition of Frontleaf, a subscriber analytics company where he was a founder and CEO. Tom has over 15 years of experience in product leadership at software-as-a-service companies at various stages from startup through IPO.
Prior to Zuora, Tom was Vice President and GM at Convio, playing a key role in the company’s 2010 IPO. Tom led Product Development and created the Convio Common Ground product line, where he was also responsible for go-to-market and services. Before Convio, Tom spent seven years as Co-Founder and SVP Products at GetActive Software, which pioneered online fundraising and constituent engagement for charities and nonprofits.
Who else would you add to the list?
Customer Success Around the Web
- Top 20 Customer Success Predictions for 2020 – It’s your future; discover how Customer Success and your career may change in 2020.
- 10 Customer Retention Metrics and How to Measure Them– Read on for an explanation of key customer retention metrics.
- Meaningful Engagements: How to Achieve Your Customers Outcomes– Learn how to create a coordinated engagement approach with your customers that is truly meaningful.