February Woman to Watch

Rose Cullen-McKeon

Considering your past in recruitment, how do you think that set you up for success in SaaS sales? When I joined recruitment, I was new to the corporate world in Australia and at the time it was a huge learning curve – but it was all so valuable to me now in my role in customer success. Recruitment gave me a number of really transferable skills that I could really utilise in my customer success position, and then to SaaS specifically.

These include multi-tasking and dealing with numerous roles at once, as well as the experience of supporting and working with all different types of businesses across a number of sectors.

Prior to recruitment I was working in sales and digital marketing. This also gave me a lot of key transferrable skills, specifically in relation to the creative industry and employee generated content area that I work with now.

In both of these roles it was important to sit down with stakeholders and get an inside look into their business. For example, from a recruitment perspective, finding out what areas they needed support with for hiring, and the different things that were working or not working for them. I was able to bring this forward into my current role in customer success. I know how to have conversations with business leaders and stakeholders and get insight into the challenges they are facing and how we can best support that through customer success.

Is there any advice you would give to someone looking to make a change to a role in customer success?

That’s another great question. It’s a relatively new industry and it’s also an exciting one. I know the market already had a lot of account managers and customer support, but customer success is a relatively new concept coming through in the last four to five years, particularly in the SaaS space. There was a requirement for it. It not just about selling, it’s really about getting to know your clients, their businesses and challenges, and what you can do to make their life easier.

So, I would say it’s a really exciting industry and no two days are the same. There is a great sense of achievement in seeing the results and my customers’ successes and how you supported them to get there. You will never feel static.

For me also, my role is global, so I get the chance to talk to people all over the world – that’s really exciting especially with everything going on at the moment and not knowing what will happen day to day. I can visit five continents in a day, just like I’m travelling all around the world, but it’s from my home and office. That has been particularly great recently when travel has been off the cards.

What are some of the key strength’s women can bring to customer success?

In customer success in particular, I think the two important strengths we bring are empathy and relationship building. It’s all about understanding your clients and their needs, and I think that women can be quite empathetic. We can delve below the surface to see what would help people best.

In most situations, I feel like we are not afraid to ask what’s happening under the surface, which is so important for truly understanding clients, especially considering the crazy last two years we’ve been through.

In your nomination, Raaj mentioned your innovative success approach, can you tell me a bit more about that?

I am always looking at new ways I can support my customers and make them successful.

Successful for me means client renewal and expansion of course, but more importantly, for them it involves always looking at objectives and strategies, and how we can build on this using employee-generated content. It’s about having the conversations, reviewing everything and putting plans in place to grow on what is working.

In my role, I have the opportunity to work with leaders across the globe, with some amazing brands who are doing some really cool things using EGC. We see what works well for customers and then make suggestions based on these different experiences. A lot of my clients really think outside of the box and supporting this innovation gives you great insight that I can share with other customers. Obviously not everything applies to all, but there are certainly things that I know could work really well for other customers too.

A lot of my clients have the same objectives – predominantly to support hiring within highly competitive markets like tech – and they also have the same challenges, the biggest one being time and capacity. That is where our SaaS platform comes into play and makes their lives way easier.

This leads into the next question, what feedback have you received from buyers recently that has influenced how you connect with them? I assume the importance of time efficiency would be included?

100%, and that is one of the biggest challenges my clients face at the moment. Examples of this are building a brand ambassador program from scratch or undertaking a new project such as developing a career site using EGC. I’m aware of how much work goes into these things and I always consider this and think about how we can support customers to use their time most efficiently while meeting their objectives.

Our platform is really pivotal to this as takes away a lot of the heavy lifting. It allows clients to work efficiently, and it is very user-friendly.

If you were a leader, how would you lead?

I would lead from the front, because this is such an important aspect of good leadership to me. I’ve been very lucky with the leaders and mentors I have worked with to date, who have followed this philosophy. I’ve always had massive respect for a leader who is not afraid to roll up their sleeves and I’ve always been more receptive to leaders who really incorporate me in all the processes – in my junior days, it was inviting me along to meetings and providing me with tools I still use today.

I find interactive leadership works so much better so that’s the way I’ve always tried to work with my own teams. I invite them to meetings, encourage them to get involved and ask them to make suggestions or come back with ideas.

I think again, it’s about knowing who you’re working with and supporting, and educating the team, rather than handing them lots of tasks and leaving them to do it.

What skill are you working on developing further at the moment? How has this changed over the course of the pandemic?

One of the biggest skills I’ve been working on during the pandemic is helping clients to measure their success. I’ve been diving into this because our customers are doing amazing things with their employee generated content, but if they don’t have the tools to measure this, it’s hard for them to understand which strategies are working best for them and how to improve those that are not.

This has been a high priority for me over the last 6-12 months – supporting them in getting that data and utilising it properly.

What have you been reading or watching lately?

I’ve been watching a lot of escapism TV in the last 12 months for obvious reasons! I used to do a lot of reading but have switched to listing to podcasts, which I can do while exercising and also to help me sleep.

Some of my favourites are about true crime, which I have a morbid fascination with. I have also gone back to some of my favourite books during the pandemic, one being to ‘Kill a Mockingbird’, a classic from childhood.