A Journey From Sales Development to Client Success Manager

Hey there, I’m Justin, the new client success manager at ClosedWon. Well, I’m the first client success manager…not that we used to have zero customer service. Okay, I’m here to make your salespeople successful by teaching them to use our product and implementing their feedback to build the best sales enablement tool they’ll ever use. Speeding up the rate of real human connections and limiting the amount of contact information that bounces (to 3% bounce rate or less), is what we do.

That’s the short blurb about what I do, but…how did I get here. Dumb luck? A strenuous vetting process? A few clicks of some red, bedazzled, high heels? Would you believe the real answer is all of the above? Let me explain.

Part 1: The Setup

First off, I have to say, never stop looking for what you want. Chances are that there are difficult aspects that you have to get through in what you want to do. Don’t let the mountains in your way distract you from the view to be had at the top. Keep learning, keep searching for what it takes to make it.

In fair Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we lay our scene: The year is 2018, the month is December, and I had just begun a new professional career development program called Praxis. Praxis is a year-long program that combines six months of online job training and professional development projects with six months working as an apprentice at a startup company. I was progressing through the program quickly and encountered a lot of challenges like building my own website, blogging for 30 days straight, and attending webinars with my classmates. Before this, I never considered myself much of a “Techy” person, sure I knew my way around a smartphone but much more beyond that I didn’t really use in my daily life.

With the rapid rate at which everything is turning into a computer or code or programming/engineering, I found it increasingly more important to invest my time into the world of tech. After growing and learning through Praxis for only 4 months (of the originally intended 6-month stint) I began getting apprenticeship offers from several tech startups all over the U.S.
At first, I was a little frazzled because I thought my training was incomplete and I wasn’t quite ready to jump into a whole new career line just yet. Nonetheless, I went through the interview process for about two weeks until I made a final decision.

Part 2: The Move

I decided to work as a sales development representative for a startup company called Yoshi. What Yoshi does: service vehicles on a subscription platform, so the customer sets up what services they want and then they let the app run and pay the bill. Services like maintaining all the fluids of the vehicle, checking tire pressure, and replacing wiper blades. Basically, standard vehicle maintenance that you can subscribe to receive.

Working for Yoshi required me to move all the way from Grand Rapids, Michigan to San Francisco, California. This was the biggest challenge I had ever faced, without getting into the weeds too much, it was extremely difficult to be away from my friends and family for half of the year.

How to simplify a move of major magnitude:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Make sure you have a living situation established at least 1 week before you leave, don’t do anything last minute. Secure your peace of mind so you can relax on the flight there.
  2. Get connected, find events, meet other people who relate to you. This can be fun (depending on your personality), and it definitely helped me to feel instantly connected.
  3. Check out something new as often as you can, find things to love about your situation rather than sitting around. I saw almost every square foot of San Francisco with a skateboard I bought for $50 off of facebook marketplace.

My mission was to learn about the world of sales and I stayed committed to that throughout the whole six months. Making cold calls, managing leads, and near the end, I even managed several sales associates in the Philippines.

Performing this role taught me a lot about sales, startups, and what it takes to make it in one of the biggest tech cities in the world. After six months, I finished my apprenticeship and I was free to make the next step with all the knowledge I had collected.

After being so focused and dedicated for six months to help grow the sales team that I was a part of, I left San Francisco with only an inkling of what I wanted to do next. I did know one thing for sure, and it was that I wanted to see my family again and spend the holidays with them.

Since I finished the online schooling portion of Praxis early, I fished the Apprenticeship early too, I came home in October of 2018. I spent the next two months celebrating birthdays, holidays, and just catching up with my loved ones.

Part 3: What Now?

After all the end of the year festivities, I needed to pursue a full-time position that put all my new experience to use. I wanted to get a position where I could make a difference in the company and with my coworkers rather than just being another independent cog turning the wheel of a company whose CEO I will never even see. I wanted to work from home, I wanted team cohesion, and I wanted to make a positive impact on the history of the company.

I looked around my area only to find more entry-level positions and wondered if I would have to resign myself to doing an ordinary sales position with the chance to become a manager in 5 years, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t what I wanted. After 3 weeks of looking, it seemed as though that would be my reality. Until I got a message from Zen on LinkedIn.

When I worked for Yoshi, we used ClosedWon in our sales team for a few months before we had a shift in focus which lead our CEO to believe that ClosedWon wasn’t effective enough to keep using. In reality, ClosedWon helped us close a $10,000 deal with LKQ. Yes, the automotive parts provider/manufacturer/recycler LKQ, the LKQ that employs over 10,000 people nationwide. Shortly after, the account manager that closed that deal, left Yoshi. The only reason I know this now is because I found out after I left, it was a communication error and the CEO didn’t get to see all the value ClosedWon created.

The point is, I got to work with ClosedWon for about two months, and I was able to see its value very quickly. When we would order leads, we would get what we needed and were able to reach out with less than a 3% bounce rate.

After we switched to other sales enablement software: ZoomInfo for lead importing, Outreach for processing those leads, and connecting both of those programs with Salesforce. the whole process became very confusing.

ZoomInfo: This program made the lead collection and importing process very clunky. You had to buy a certain number of tickets and one ticket get you one lead. So, if you processed odd amounts of leads each quarter then it’s a process to purchase and then redistribute these tickets throughout your organization.

Salesforce: A glorified online filing cabinet, I could navigate it fine but it was archaic and clunky to me.

Outreach: This was a tool I was glad to have, but it was another complicated piece of the puzzle. To get leads to my colleagues I had to select them in sets of 25 on ZoomInfo, then take those sets (usually around 100 leads at a time) and upload them from salesforce into my outreach campaign. If we opened a new service area I had to remap salesforce filters to pick up the regional tag for only those leads. Once I finally got those leads into outreach I had to make sure they went to their proper geographically designated team member.

Yikes…

This is what motivates me now, I can help sales associates speed up the rate and quality of human connections in one package. Lead processing, and data-driven sales engagement all in one place. If Yoshi had continued to use ClosedWon, then that would’ve set me up to run my team much more effectively during my apprenticeship.

That’s what inspired me the most to join the team here at ClosedWon, to help those who were in similar positions as me and even those that work closely with their sales representatives. To be able to have defined processes, ability to test campaigns, and log all that data in an easy to view format is powerful.

justin
justin@closedwon.ai