Career growth is a journey that requires intentional effort, planning and a passion for lifelong learning. Whether just starting out or looking to advance, career growth is essential for personal and professional fulfillment and development. Here at HubSpot, we are committed to supporting the career growth of HubSpotters, developing programs designed to do just that. An example is the Customer Success Team Lead Program, a six-month in-role experience designed to expose high-performing reps to key aspects of Customer Success and Project Management in preparation for the next step in their careers.
Introducing Jessica Garcia, Senior Customer Success Manager (CSM) for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), who got to try her hand at being Team Lead for the Asia Customer Success Team through this program. She was able to build and practice leadership skills while supporting her team through skill coaching, operational management, and driving business initiatives. Read on to learn more.
Can you tell us about your background and journey to HubSpot?
When I left university, I began my career at an innovative graphic design & printing agency where I was their Client Services Manager. I was fortunate to work on a number of key innovative projects. However, after 8 years at that company, I wanted to challenge myself by learning something new and better align my career with my creative side. I re-skilled as a textile designer and secured a position at a commercial fabric printing company. I enjoyed working on graphic design projects and I was promoted to a Studio Coordinator position where I could collaborate with my colleagues to identify ways we could boost efficiency & provide a better customer experience.
Based on that experience, I was excited to work in a startup environment where I could hit the ground running, make a meaningful impact & grow with the organization. I joined a leading e-commerce development agency where I continued to sharpen my account management and leadership skills. I was honored to become the agency’s first Studio Manager where I was responsible for leading a team of software developers and account managers. When I decided to move from that role, a number of key clients took the time to provide feedback to me & I realized that a common thread was that I had helped their business to grow & succeed. This feedback gave me the motivation to pursue a Customer Success Manager position at HubSpot.
How did you take the driver’s seat in enabling your career growth?
When I started at HubSpot, I set a goal to become a Senior CSM. This was important to me because I wanted to become an expert in my role. HubSpot is very transparent regarding opportunities for growth: the criteria are clearly defined and made readily available to all HubSpotters via our internal Wiki. This has been very beneficial to accelerating my career growth as I have been able to easily understand what I needed to do in order to reach my goal.
After my first performance review at HubSpot, I understood that I needed to adjust my approach to managing customers in order to boost my target attainment. This was critical to ensuring I was able to become a Senior CSM. As a result, I changed the frequency of engagement, the topics discussed with my customers and how I prioritize my daily workload. The outcome was that I was able to establish strong relationships with my customers, identify and mitigate churn risks ahead of time and drive upsells through having 'value-based' conversations with my customers.
I have actively pursued opportunities that would allow me to contribute to the organization beyond my role, such as conducting customer workshops, facilitating internal training sessions, presenting in cross-functional team meetings & participating in projects to improve HubSpot processes. Additionally, I mentored two team members and supported my manager by acting as a backup for team forecasting.
I have met with a number of senior colleagues to discuss their career paths with HubSpot so that I could learn from their experience & adapt my approach to my career growth. I was also honored to participate in a program where I was mentored by a senior leader in our Japan office. This was an incredibly valuable experience where we met monthly to discuss how I could explore & plan for potential internal mobility opportunities within HubSpot.
How did HubSpot support your growth?
The culture at HubSpot is very supportive of career growth and employees are encouraged to discuss their goals with fellow colleagues and managers. After discussing my career goals with my manager, we identified the core competencies I needed to improve and discussed strategies to hit my performance targets. Then, in weekly 1:1's, we focused on coaching and feedback concerning the competencies identified. This ensured my career development was always a key focus and that I was actively working toward my goals. I have always been able to speak openly and honestly with my manager, which has been a refreshing experience and my manager has been very supportive in providing me with guidance and access to opportunities to support my development.
Additionally, I have been able to participate in new internal initiatives, such as acting as the point person for educating fellow team members on upsell strategies. This opportunity included presenting the team’s performance to sales team leaders each week, allowing me to expand my internal network and boost my public speaking skills.
How have your colleagues supported your career growth?
My colleagues have also been very generous with their time and I have been able to reach out to several colleagues to discuss their career growth. One key takeaway from my discussions was that by proactively pursuing opportunities aligned with their interests, my colleagues could build new connections which organically uncovered new career opportunities. An example is a colleague who was passionate about public speaking and coaching, which led to customer training.
This is a valuable experience because I have learned to re-frame my approach to planning my career path to focus on my interests rather than purely expanding my skill set to suit an aspirational position within the company.
What challenges have you faced during the transition to Team Lead?
One of the challenges I faced as a new Team Lead was to build relationships with a new team based in a different geographic region. Initially, I focused my efforts on creating a safe space where each member felt valued & comfortable to share their challenges with me. I achieved this by leading with empathy, honesty and vulnerability during my 1:1 coaching sessions with each team member.
Another challenge was understanding and appreciating the unique challenges the team was facing in their region. Through my experience as Team Lead, I was able to learn more about how cultural values & economic climate can significantly impact how a Success Manager helps their customers to grow with HubSpot. Although I lacked in-region experience, I collaborated with my team to ensure the strategies & advice that I was providing was in alignment with what their customers needed.
What do you hope to achieve in the future with HubSpot?
I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given throughout my tenure at HubSpot. I have accelerated my career growth through the support and guidance of my manager and colleagues. I look forward to taking the next step in my career journey at HubSpot and in turn, leveraging my experience to guide and advise fellow team members toward success.
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Originally published Jul 12, 2023 3:47:34 AM, updated September 12 2023