Customer Success at HubSpot isn't about call centers. It's about taking a human approach to solving for our customers. We're on a mission to deliver best-in-class services and support to our global customers. From developing creative and personalized strategies for businesses to creating resources that help people become inbound experts, we help our customers grow better using our software.

We're focused on more than Customer Success, though. We're equally as dedicated to supporting our HubSpotters to grow better. We caught up with Customer Success Managers Himani Sharma, Rumana Shaikh, and Jennifer Gomes, who are making their mark while embracing challenges and growth. We got to understand their unique paths, the hurdles they've overcome, the triumphs they've celebrated along the way, and what they're looking forward to in the future. Keep reading!

Uncovering Impact and Growth in Customer Success (1)

Please share a bit about your journey to Customer Success. How did you first enter this field, and what motivated you to pursue a career in it?

Himani Sharma (HS): I’ve had an interesting route to where I am at HubSpot now. I started my professional career in IT tech as a Sales Professional and did this for around 5 years before starting my own business off the back of the knowledge I’d gained, launching an online vegan marketplace with my co-founder who works with me at HubSpot now! COVID unfortunately made it difficult to sustain the business so I returned back to IT in Sales but found I wasn’t being challenged.

My Co-founder joined HubSpot as a Customer Success Manager (CSM) and told me how great the company was, how appreciated she felt, and how it was a role I’d thrive in. I love working in a customer-facing role and helping customers to achieve their goals. I initially interviewed for a sales role and made it to the last stage where they mentioned a potential CSM role which I jumped at! I interviewed with 3 different managers and got the role!

Rumana Shaikh (RS): I arrived in Ireland 5 years ago, knowing I wanted to get a degree in Strategy and work at HubSpot because of its culture. During my master's, I connected with HubSpot alumni while actively looking for roles in HubSpot. It did not work out at the time so I decided to channel my energy to look for other roles. 

Customer Success (CS) seemed to be closest to my purpose and values. I got selected in the first batch of a mentorship program with 'Rise Up' and was working with a CS leader at LinkedIn to identify the best-fit roles for myself and ways to break in. On one such random chance CS Breakfast event, I met a former CS leader from HubSpot and she became that enabler of my journey into HubSpot. One leader saw my passion in one event, reached out to me and gave me a platform and changed my challenge to break into Customer Success into a journey of growing in Customer Success at HubSpot 🙂

Jennifer Gomes (JG): My route to HubSpot was a colorful one for sure.  I have a teaching background and taught formally for about 10 years.  Then I had kids and went on to run a daycare/preschool in my home to allow me to be with my kids while still helping to provide financially for my family.  Then crazy turn of events - I opened a food truck and was really pretty successful, but very burned out from the long hours it required.  So I made my way to the tech world via an online catering company.

I was only there 6 months as I started and when COVID hit, I was part of the layoffs. Then I saw the HubSpot logo - yes that was my first draw. I looked into what it was and discovered a company with the exact values I was looking for! I applied and was actually shocked to get the interview. I was hired in Support, had a successful run there, and won Presidents Club the first year here at HubSpot. I am now moving into a Customer Success Role at HubSpot right at about my three-year mark.  I look forward to growing with HubSpot and helping our customers grow as well.

How are you driving impact at HubSpot?

HS: Firstly, I’m driving value and usage of the HubSpot tools with my customer base by understanding the strategy, challenges, and goals and utilizing HubSpot to help them achieve those goals. I also show them the ROI they can achieve and how to make their lives easier by adding additional hubs.

Secondly, I lead culture in the London office with two of my colleagues here by organizing office events, collaborative lunches, and off-site events for a range of quarterly events, religious holidays, and celebratory events.

Thirdly, I have been driving impact with the Customer Success org by leading and building the SQL strategy within my team and moderating and working with other colleagues on the regional, UKI Customer Webinars that focus on increasing usage and growth.

Fourthly, I have massively increased collaboration and relationship building between Sales and Success by forming great relationships in the London office and feeding back how best to work with sales to Customer Success. This has led to better collaboration on deals, better relationships between segments, and a more seamless experience for the customer.

RS: In the last 16 months that I have been at HubSpot, I've worked on four main goals that have actioned change and growth:

1. Improving CSM engagement rates across the team by driving weekly engagement reports, power-hour to drive accountability to connect with customers on the hitlist, and have recently launched engagement enablement automation resources in the team to enable efficient engagement with the customers.

2. I have represented my team in roundtable conferences to share insights about CS-Sales collaboration, engagement improvement ideas, and CS improvement processes.

3. I completed a successful business trip with our biggest platinum partner in Greece which is a growing region in the CEE market and forged a successful relationship with 4 customers based in Athens, one of which is a $10k+ MRR customer.

4. I have recently graduated from the EMEA Customer Success Emerging Leaders program, delivering an Action Learning Plan project with an AI-powered solution to reduce the manual process, the time spent in current processes for assigning additional resources, drive collaboration across CS org and drive accountability for early stage customer product adoption across all teams in Success. 

JG: I feel I hit the ground running at HubSpot. I ramped my metrics within 4 months and had a lot of success being a leader in taking a volume of tickets most do not do in their first six months.

I also won the Presidents Club award in my first year and continue to be a leader in the SQL area. In the last year, I have been a top performer across the board Support wide. I also help with mentoring on my team as well as being a DRI for out-of-office.

Customer Success is known for its dynamic nature. Could you highlight a key moment in your career that challenged you to grow and evolve in your role?

HS: A key learning moment was from my mentor; he told me how important it was to have a very structured calendar and how this will shape my day. This massively impacted my role because I didn’t have a massive focus on keeping my diary clean before joining HubSpot, but this has helped me to prioritize tasks and have time in place to prepare and follow up, as well as work on additional projects.

RS: The Emerging Leaders program has been an immense contributor to my growth and confidence as a leader, and for me to hone in and become comfortable with my leadership style. The program challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and helped me understand the process of dealing with business challenges and understanding how to take a step-by-step approach to solving a problem. I understood how to come to a solution with design thinking by truly going into the heart of the problem, looking at the bigger picture, and then diving deeper into actionable and attainable solutions with metric-driven results.

JG: My manager has been an incredible motivator and supporter.  She helped me learn organization is key, how to prioritize tasks, and the importance of the order to do things to keep myself organized and solve for our customers.  She continued to push me to be fierce and go after the Customer Success role, having confidence that I would have success in this new journey.

As relationships are a cornerstone of customer success, how are you building and maintaining connections with clients?

HS: I have regular calls with my clients and always start off building rapport. I’ve found out a customer lives in Southall, somewhere I used to visit a lot as a kid with my family as it has a big Indian community and all the best Indian shops! I’ve found out a customer lives down the road from my flat. I’ve found out a customer really likes watching Black Mirror (as do I). I always make a note of these connections and will bring them up on our next call so that the customer is put at ease and comfortable in the familiarity of our working relationship. I always ask the customer a week before our meeting if there’s anything they want to discuss in the meeting so that we can focus on their priorities when we meet.

RS: I always make it a point to start my customer calls by checking in on how they are, having a personal chat, like the weather or plans for summer or Christmas, and especially if they have a life update. I also make sure that I am open and sharing about my life. This is key to building trust with customers, that they look at me as Rumana, a person at HubSpot whom they know and can rely on. 

JG: Well the Customer Success role is brand new to me but I know that listening is key.  Really know what your customer wants, show them you really care, and follow through with them so they have a positive and successful experience within HubSpot. Make sure to be available and help them learn how to use all the tools available to them.

I  make sure I know them and their needs personally and work with them to help them through the roadblocks they encounter. This way they will learn the HubSpot tools, understand the true value of our product, and continue to use and grow with HubSpot.

And with collaboration being essential, how are you collaborating with colleagues to drive better outcomes for your clients in a hybrid world?

HS: I come into the London office every day and sit with the sales team, we share ideas and we all have lunch together with colleagues from sales, marketing, project management, and engineering and this has massively helped not just my growth but their growth as well. I frequently have calls with my top sales rep (top shared customers, top MRR shared) so that we are aligned on customers. Every time I find a new opportunity with a customer, I will either have a call with the sales rep or give them a thorough overview of the opportunity and will ensure they are looped in with the customer so that we can work together on a good outcome for both the business and the customer.

I have been working with other CSMs, Marketing, and Product Management on building and moderating UKI-centric webinars that focus on helping customers increase their usage of the HubSpot tools but also giving them an insight into how they can unlock even more potential by upgrading to an Enterprise hub.

RS: I love working remotely! And I have chosen remote work both years! Our team is one of the remote first teams, as we are across 5 countries in Europe, so all our weekly team engagements are on Zoom. I have regular coffee catch-ups with my team members and with teams in Success and outside Success. I am collaborating and working with different team members on two projects that are focused on engagement enablement and product adoption enablement. I am also regularly connecting with an Engineering lead to understand what they are working on and how we can collaborate.

I am a huge Psychological Safety advocate, and I conducted a workshop last quarter for my team. In August, I also delivered a practical Silent Fast quick workshop as a part of the Mindful Mornings initiative built on the pillars of resilience. I regularly connect with the Sales team to ensure that we work together to identify growth opportunities and implement customer-first strategies for growing accounts.

JG: Remote work is what motivates me.  I love being at home and the comfort of home motivates me to show up every day and work hard.  That being said, I work hard every day to connect with colleagues for both work-related and non-work-related issues. This helps us get to know each other and helps us understand how to collaborate with each other. We are just a zoom, huddle, or Slack away when we need another set of eyes on an issue or we just want to share a win.  

How are you driving your professional and personal growth?

HS: I’m driving this via the collaboration and people I speak with on a daily basis, this gives me a better insight into the business and opportunities available here. I have created a good work/life balance for myself which has helped me achieve goals outside of work such as buying a house and investing in additional hobbies and interests (Bollywood dancing, saxophone, flute).

RS: I am a deep thinker, and I like to reflect on my life as a whole. So I spend time writing, reflecting in my journal, and sharing my learnings on my LinkedIn profile. I am always looking for the gaps I can improve and work on, whether at work or in my personal life. I have been working with a success coach for the past year and we have seen tremendous results, by honing in and aligning with my inner self and higher power. I have recently started working out regularly and that has been very fulfilling and drives me to keep consistency in my results. I am an avid reader, I love to paint, and I am learning to play the guitar 🙂

JG: My Professional growth is important to me. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my interactions with customers and the HubSpot platform in general.  I use professional development time to test things in my own portal to get a better understanding and I utilize our Academy to take and retake classes to be able to better understand our tools so I can better assist our customers.  

As for personal development, I have a great work/life balance and a strong family dynamic which helps ground me.  My husband and I love animals and have 4 dogs and a cat that we love to camp with, train, and just hang out with. My husband and I love to travel and also spend time with our Adult children. We also spend a great deal of time with my extended family and are very close and supportive of each other.  I believe the support I get at home and from family is the MOST dominant in my life and has driven me to be the person I am today.

And how is HubSpot supporting you to do so?

HS: I’m given the autonomy to work on projects alongside my day-to-day which is massively beneficial to my growth.

RS: I manage my time based on my availability and priorities. I am always encouraged to work on projects outside my role which helps me drive more value to my professional growth. I am a part of a very psychologically safe team and have now fostered relationships within HubSpot that I can lean on when I need support.

JG: Having the autonomy to work on projects and committees without being micromanaged has helped me set my own expectations and kept me accountable for myself, pushing me to grow.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future?

HS: I enjoy working in a customer-facing role and I’d like to be a leader in the industry, whether that’s in Customer Success or a different segment. I’d like to showcase to others the best practice I have learned across my years within tech. Potentially, I will start my own business again - the opportunities are endless!

RS: I would like to steer my career in a space that combines strategy, learning, upskilling, and enablement. My ambition is to pursue an industry Ph.D. (hopefully with HubSpot) where I can apply my learnings, my eye for gap identification, and my drive for process improvement, to bring forward solutions and designs backed by research and publications.

JG: I would love to continue with Customers as I feel I have a knack for working with them, however, I also am interested in the Learning and Development side of things, so down the road, I would not be opposed to exploring options there as well.


Come join us and help in building a global company where we're all proud to belong.

Click here to learn more about Customer Success @ HubSpot, view, and apply to our open roles.

Originally published Oct 2, 2023 6:25:29 AM, updated December 04 2023