Recently, I was joined by Yamini Rangan, chief customer officer of Hubspot for a LIVE version of my podcast, the Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show. Be sure to subscribe here or on your favorite podcast app to get this episode when it comes out later this week.
During our 45 minutes together, Yamini shared insights into her path as a perennial CCO and she answered audience questions about how she’s putting her experiences and her ability for pattern recognition to work.
Since we didn’t have time for her to respond to all of the questions during our broadcast, she kindly responded via email to the rest of the questions. Here are her responses to these questions that we didn’t have time to answer on-air.
1. In your experience, what’s been your biggest challenge regarding disruption to the company culture toward a more customer centric or customer enlightened one?
– Jeremy Uteza
“Siloes—and the effort required to break them down—are the biggest challenge. Customer centricity requires that your go-to-market functions work in sync. But a lot of companies optimize for a specific function rather than optimizing around the customer, creating bad handoffs and exposing your customer to your organization structure. Breaking down those walls requires you to fundamentally rethink your strategy in a way that creates alignment in your organization. It’s a long, complicated, hard transformation.”
2. One of the changes is to get a buy-in from stakeholders and supporting units. How did you manage to achieve getting everybody support?
– Waleed AlHamdan
“The great news is that HubSpot was already aligned in unifying all customer facing functions—creating a Flywheel team and hiring a CCO was part of the transition we’re undergoing, so our leadership is already aligned there. To operationalize this vision, we’ve created the ‘Flywheel Staff’ group. This is a group of senior leaders across marketing, sales and customer success and we meet regularly to stay tightly aligned on everything from strategic planning and short-term plays. The process is inherently very collaborative and ensures buy-in from all key stakeholders.”
3. B2B is interesting. One thing that happened with us is that we stepped up servicing during what was a difficult time. Mainly because we prioritized the client what we were doing. Less distractions. It’s set a new level and expectation which is interesting. What happened with your client base and how will it show up in the future with client expectations?
– Bob Buiaroski
“We implemented a number of customer relief programs, in response to a lot of feedback that cashflow was our customers’ biggest concern right now. There are also so many businesses moving online for the first time, so we’re emphasizing free education and resources to aid that transition, as well as making a lot of paid features free and discounting software for new customers. We’ll continue to assess what measures are appropriate to support our customer base over the next few months.”
4. How did you succeed to pass these customer initiatives (discounts for example) through Sales and Finance during pandemic period?
– Anas Orwani
“This was a decision we made carefully, but came together quickly, and I think a lot of that is due to our culture. ‘SFTC’ (‘Solve For The Customer’) is in our DNA as a company—we will always prioritize what’s right for the customer and within our power. As an executive team, we met daily to understand how we needed to pivot and what our response needed to be. We asked customers and partners about their challenges, and cashflow was the #1 response. That made it clear that financial relief was the best way for us to help. We’re also lucky to be in a stable financial position at HubSpot, which inherently makes these kinds of conversations easier.”
5. What are you learning from the disruption that you will incorporate into the next normal for your business?
– Jim Bass
“None of us can predict what will happen. However, we are all learning that making a human connection is important—whether this is with your employees, customers or partners. We see our team members and customers at their homes, managing work and life and this empathy helps us connect better today. I hope that we can carry this forward.”
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