Interview with Laura Krechting Customer Success Manager
Thinking about starting your career in Customer Success? Or maybe you want to move from Sales into Customer Success? Laura Krechting, Customer Success Manager at Smartlockr did exactly that! We invited her to explain how she did it and what she thinks about her role.
Can you tell what path led you to becoming a BDR at Foleon?
Of course. I studied public administration & organizational science, and later obtained a master’s degree in marketing. Like most people, I ended up not working in the same field, which is completely fine. After university, I was really trying to find what suited me, until I rolled into Foleon via Nobel Recruitment and a common friend. I started looking at the sales roles and the BDR position was open. I really liked Foleon’s product and I love to chat a lot. So, I thought about giving sales a try.
What were your thoughts on SaaS at the time?
At first, I found it exciting because there is a bit of a taboo surrounding the “sales tigers”. But somehow it appealed to me and someone I knew said the atmosphere was amazing and it’s not really “hard sales”. Sales is always hard in a way, but this is just a great company that wants to offer a lot of value. So I thought, why not give it a try. To be very honest, I had to look up what SaaS was, because I didn’t know the term – they don’t teach you that at university. It was still completely new to me, but I was open to something different and I thought: let’s go, let’s just try this.
To be very honest, I had to look up what SaaS was, because I didn’t know the term – they don’t teach you that at university
Now you’ve made the switch to the role of customer success manager. What aspects appealed to you the most?
I’ve worked at Foleon for two years as a BDR and I really liked it. The part that I liked the most was that you actually get some insights in different kinds of companies and are able to help people with a problem or a need. They ask questions like “How are we going to solve this?” I enjoyed that, but I eventually noticed that I did not want to continue in sales with the ‘persuading’ aspect of it, because I liked the warm side much better. Of course, sales is about offering value, but if they are at such a turning point, you have to throw in the tricks and you have to be willing and able to do that. I noticed that I found it difficult to really push hard there sometimes.
So, then I began to think that perhaps Customer Success would suit me better. Here you speak with all the same clients but you make sure that you help someone, that they can use the product perfectly, and that they are happy. That just really reminded me of the inbound part of sales which I always enjoyed the best, because I’ve done both inbound and outbound. Those people come knocking on your door and they already have something on their mind, which you can help them with.
I saw myself in the Customer Success role, actually building relationships with customers. Sales was a lot of fun, but it’s short, you pass your lead to the Account Executive, the Account Executive passes it on to the Customer Success Manager, and Customer Success hopefully stays tied to that customer forever. That appealed to me, to be able to build long-term relationships with customers. I think that especially for people who are in sales, it can be a really nice step to go into Customer Success, because both certainly have things in common and Customer Success is a commercial role as well.
What does a Customer Success Manager do on a day-to-day basis?
The role is very diverse. I also think that it really depends on which company you work for and how the role is structured there. You have companies where the CSM does everything, from onboarding to low engagement and renewals. At Smartlockr, we’ve divided the tasks amongst the two Customer Success Managers. So, we both have our own responsibilities in the process.
When the customer signs the contract, they are handed over to the CSM. Then it’s our responsibility to start the onboarding, making sure that the product is working properly, and that the software is in place according to the wishes of the customer and aligned with their IT infrastructure. Next to that, we’re making sure that they have the right tools and documentation to properly explain the product to their users. This way we increase the adoption of the product.
The renewals are also very important. We prefer to talk to everyone and see how they are doing, to have a moment of contact. Also, this is the perfect moment where you can try to upsell a customer. That’s where the Customer Success role is commercial as well.
What do you like about working in the SaaS industry?
It never stops, the market can go through changes, there are new technologies. That is why the product is constantly improving, and you really do that all together. Because ultimately, CSM and the support team are the voice of the customer. Together we gather the needs and translate that back to the product team who produces it. Then marketing promotes it, sales will sell it. I really like this circle where everyone plays a part and not a single team can be missed. You shouldn’t work in SaaS if you’re looking for a place where everything is set in stone, but if you like a dynamic environment, you’ll thrive in SaaS.
Once SaaS is in your blood, that transition is not very difficult.
What advice could you give someone who is SDR or just graduated and looking for a job in Customer Success?
Maybe this is a bit of a cliché but be curious, be open to every product and ask a lot of questions. Really don’t limit yourself. Ultimately, SaaS is just a lot of fun and always changing. As a little girl I never dreamed about working in the safe emailing business, but I think it’s super fun now. I can also really recommend moving from a SDR role to CSM. Having the background of a SaaS company is very useful because you know the structure of a company and how it works and that’s your big advantage. Once SaaS is in your blood, that transition is not very difficult.