🍵 Top 50 Most Influential People To Follow In Customer Success
Customer Success starts with your own success, first.
You must keep learning and be on constant alert.
But how best can you keep track of what’s going on in the industry?
Reading books or blogs on the topic, listening to podcasts, or tuning in to Youtube channels are great.
There are also practitioners who share their experiences on social platforms like Linkedin.
And it’s an opportunity for you to contribute to helping yourself and others succeed.
So here’s my list of the top 50 Customer Success pros (more to come in another edition) you should follow to skyrocket your career:
1/ Rav Dhaliwal, Investor and former CS Executive at Slack
2/ Chris Hicken, Co-Founder & CEO ‘nuffsaid
3/ Markus Rentsch, CEO, Remark-able
4/ Jay Nathan, Chief Customer Officer, Higher Logic
5/ Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight
6/ Christian Jakenfelds, Field Researcher in CS, Planhat
7/ Kevin Chiu & Edward Chiu, Co-Founders, Catalyst Software
8/ Rod Cherkas, CEO & Founder, HelloCCO
9/ Subha Shrinivasan, VP of Customer Success, Rakuten Symphony
10/ Philipp Wolf, Founder, Custify
11/ Daphne Costa Lopes, Sr Manager, CS at HubSpot
12/ Maranda Dziekonski, Chief Customer Officer, Switftly
13/ Donna Weber, The Customer Onboarding Expert, Spring Board Solutions
14/ Wayne McCulloch, Chief Customer Officer, WalkMe
15/ Jason Noble, VP Global CS, Vinli inc
16/ Prithwi Dasgupta, CEO, SmartKarrot
17/ Matt Myszkowski, VP of Customer Experience, EMEIA at Cision
18/ Melanie Jones, Head of CS & Growth at Hire Runner
19/ Josh Schachter, CEO, UpdateAI
20/ April Dunford, Author, Obviously Awesome
21/ Jan Young, Principal Consultant, The Success League
22/ Carly Agar, Founder, Customer Success Coach
23/ Guy Galon, VP Customer Success at Hysolate
24/ Peter Armaly, Vice President of Customer Success, ESG
25/ Sue Nabeth Moore, Co-Founder, Success Chain
26/ Jeff Heckler, Director of CS, Marketsource
27/ Anika Zubair, VP Customer Success, Karbon
28/ Dickey Singh, CEO Cast.app
29/ Marco Carrubba, Director of Customer Success, Microsoft
30/ Mohammed Alqaq, Founder of CS Middle East
31/ Irit Eizips, CEO, CSM Practice
32/ Rachel Provan, Founder & Leadership Coach
33/ Ronni Gaun, CS Team Lead, Zoom
34/ Ankit Aggarwal, Lead CS Enablement, MoEngage
35/ Kristi Faltorusso, VP ClientSuccess
36/ Nils Vinje, Founder, 30-Day Leadership
37/ Jeff Breunsbach, Co-Founder Gain Grow Retain
38/ Ziv Peled, Chief Customer Officer, AppsFlyer
39/ Mikael Blaisdell, Founder, The Customer Success Association
40/ Andrew Marks, Founder of SuccessHACKER
41/ Firaas Rashid, CEO Hook
42/ Niclas Ramon Staberg, Operating Advisor, Verdane
43/ Monica Trivedi, Global CS Executive, JLL Technologies
44/ Aaron Thompson, Founder, Portland Customer Success
45/ Bill Cushard, Global Head of the Future of Work, Service Rocket
46/ Guy Nirpaz, CEO Totango
47/ Megan Bowen, CCO Refine Labs
48/ Ashna Patel, Co-Founder, CS Insider
49/ Jason Lemkin, Founder, SaaStr
50/ Ming Zhang, VP Customer Success at LineSlip Solutions
And that’s it!
I know you’re following me 😎 but these are the people I’d recommend you to follow as well to learn all things Customer Success.
There are more I’ll share in an upcoming edition.
When Ming Zhang, VP Customer Success at LineSlip Solutions reached out to me to be featured in my newsletter, I immediately accepted.
He is an industry expert reading my weekly notes every week since when I started almost 11 months ago.
In this exclusive interview with me, he provides wisdom, guidance, and learnings that will help you in Customer Success.
So here we go. The stage is yours, Ming!
Where are you from?
I’m a first-generation Chinese immigrant. I currently live in the Boston area with my family and three kids.
I recall the day when I landed in Hawaii two decades ago. I only had some pocket money to go around. I cherished a hope to build my version of the American dream in this promised land of freedom.
Your career path
I progressed my career from enablement to consulting, culminating in customer success. It’s an evolving pathway as enablement feeds into consulting as a critical component. And consulting in turn operates at an account level in customer success.
All this sums up the customer-facing leadership experience I built and enjoy.
How do you see yourself in 1 year? 3 or 5 years?
I’m privileged to build and drive Customer Success at an early-stage SaaS startup.
My goal is to create the best work environment to involve, engage, and set the CS flywheel. This includes a CS framework with playbooks in motion.
It’s bearing fruit right now, and I’m looking forward to reaching new highs in the next couple of years.
How do you see CS evolving in the upcoming years?
Customer Success was new as a function 10 years ago and it’s been the fastest-evolving since then.
There are times with moments of firefighting we can attribute to the growing pains.
Today, we see an enriched CS community as a trend-setter rather than a follower in business. And we’re raising the bar at all times.
In the upcoming years, I expect to see an AI-driven version of the CS motions.
It means what sits on the tech stack is a unified platform we can leverage to automate the CS journey. But also to personalize customer engagement through predictive analytics.
Here, automation and personalization are not paradoxical.
But rather a duality acting together to ensure time-to-value and time-to-revenue.
What’s your top challenge at the moment?
Top of mind is achieving the maturity level of operational efficiency.
This is a common challenge in CS, especially during the current economic uncertainties. A well-architected CS platform will be a key part of the solution, in my view.
If there was one thing you could remove immediately, what would it be?
The clock, because it’s what I fight every day to get more things done in an ever-shorter life.
What are you most passionate about?
I enjoy giving back, adding diversity to our CS community, and aspiring CS professionals at different episodes of their careers.
What are your top 3 priorities at the moment?
Reflect and give a strategic look at where I am today from a professional perspective. And see where I could make more impact as part of the career progression.
Help standardize and exemplify the CS motions in the ever-growing CS communities. Leveraging today’s AI-driven tools to help operationalize those motions.
And on a personal note, find other voluntary opportunities. Contribute more to local communities with a shared sense of purpose for the greater good.
Why did you join my newsletter?
I’m an early joiner of your CS Café.
I did it because I knew you on the LinkedIn network and enjoyed your insightful posts.
Also because your newsletter could serve as a more structured approach to the CS community and keep track of CS trends.
It turned out that I enjoyed all the 42 editions published thus far!
They each appeared precise and concise with a common interest to the general CS audience.
The latest edition, issue #42 on the 7 reasons for joining a startup, appears to be a boost for any job seeker.
An avid reader of newsletters, I see your CS Café hitting my inbox every Sunday, at 9 a.m. ET sharp. This is when my quality time of the day starts.
The weekly 4-min read will go a long way because I can distill wisdom from every edition.
With a plethora of platforms under DrivingCS.com:
CS Café Newsletter that makes CS easy to digest,
CS Job Board connecting CS talents with hiring companies,
CS Café Podcast with top CS industry experts,
The Success Pod with the best and brightest minds who have ever lived,
it becomes a goldmine that will continue to impact our CS community and will help us reach new highs for many years to come.
Any interesting facts about you? Talent, hobbies, etc.
I’m a Mandarin speaker besides English.
I also have extensive travel experience, domestic and international.
Besides, I love creative writing. It stimulates my creativity which reflects my cross-cultural experience.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stay true to yourself, and embrace empathy in all social interactions.
Where can people find you? Social media profiles, etc.
Happy to connect on LinkedIn.
p.s. if you are enjoying my weekly newsletter, the best favor you could do for me is to reply to this email with your feedback or say a few nice words online.
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