Ep. 64 – Interview w/ Walter Zepeda

How to Build High-Value Client Relationships Using Customer Success

Building, fostering, and nurturing high-value client relationships and focusing on recurring revenue are approaches that will take your B2B organization to the next level. But how can organizations adapt and leverage customer success (CS) in a strategic way amidst a changing landscape? On this week’s episode, CS expert Walter Zepeda (Co-FounderScalefront) discusses the importance of creating high-value client relationships, the components of a successful CS approach, as well as trends that are shaping the future of CS.

Play Video about EP 64 - Walter Javier Zepeda

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Walter shares his view on how building high client value relationships instead of focusing on acquiring new clients is going to take your company to the next level. [2:05 | 4:04]
  • The importance of customer journey mapping in customer success [6:52], and how often marketers need to review the journey map. [11:07]
  • Walter elaborates on why he believes that communication is a key factor in a successful CS approach. [17:44 | 19:40]
  • Why Walter doesn’t believe you need experience to start in customer success. [33:48]
  • Walter’s advice to those who are starting out in customer success: Start contributing with the things from your area of expertise and translate that into customer success [37:51], and stop beating yourself up if you don’t land something fast. [39:29]

Companies & links mentioned in this episode:



Christian Klepp, Walter Zepeda

Christian Klepp  00:00

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discuss their thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK, Consulting, Christian Klepp. All right, welcome, everyone, to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host, Christian Klepp. And today I am joined by someone who is on a mission. And that mission is to build teams, high value client relationships, processes, structures, metrics, and VOC programs, all in the name of better customer success for B2B. So coming to us from Guatemala City, Señor Walter Javier Zepeda, buenas tardes y bienvenido, welcome to the show.

Walter Zepeda  00:59

Thank you, thank you, Christian, that’s a great Spanish there.

Christian Klepp  01:03

It’s a little bit rusty, but um, you know, hopefully with you, I can improve it a little bit. (laugh) But great, let’s, you know, I’m really happy to be connected with you, Walter. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation, because it is on a topic that you are not just experienced, but extremely passionate about.

Walter Zepeda  01:20

Yes, customer success is definitely one of my passions. And I found an amazing community around Customer Success around the world. So yes.

Christian Klepp  01:30

Fantastic. Fantastic. All right, so let’s just jump right in. So you’ve built a successful career around the different aspects of customer success. So building teams, as I mentioned, building high value client relationships, processes, structures, metrics, and so forth. So for the benefit of this conversation, and also in the interest of time, let’s zero in on the topic of building high value client relationships using customer success. So talk to us about why you feel that’s so important, and why getting it right will give B2B organizations a competitive advantage?

Walter Zepeda  02:05

Well, I think it’s a great topic. And I think we’ve all heard of high value client relationships. But I don’t know if we always put it in practice in our in, in our different businesses, because, you know, customer success is something that focuses on building these high client value relationships. So if you take an industry like Software as a Service, it’s something that’s very well known, everyone’s doing customer success, everyone knows the value of these high value client relationships. But when you go to other industries, other B2B businesses. You know, this is something that you say that you want to build high value client relationships, but I see a lot of other industries that are focusing more on acquiring new clients than focusing on growing your existing client base. And as we know, in the research shows, acquiring a customer is many times more expensive than it is retaining one. And not only retaining your existing client base, but actually growing and expanding it. So there’s a lot of business to be made with your current client base. But these businesses are just, you know, unfortunately, focusing on acquiring new ones. And then of course, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, acquiring new clients. I’m just saying that there’s a lot of opportunity with your existing client base.

Christian Klepp  03:33

That’s absolutely right. I believe you’re referring to like the cost of client acquisition. Right?

Walter Zepeda  03:38


Christian Klepp  03:39

Versus I mean, it has probably different terms, but like, I would say, not just upselling to the existing client base, but also nurturing those relationships. Because there, there could be, or there’s higher probability of repeat business, from customers that you’ve had that longer term relationship with, you understand their business, you know, all the all of these factors combined, right?

Walter Zepeda  04:04

Yes, exactly. And when you see the growth of companies and the B2B ecosystem, the growth is really coming from that recurring revenue. That recurring revenues is going to take your company to the next level, because that compounding effect really, really has a very positive impact on your bottom line. And if you’re not paying attention to that if you’re experiencing high churn, even if you don’t know it, because maybe you’re not even tracking the existing clients that you’re losing. You know, it’s so amazing what focusing on net revenue retention can do to your business. I mean, I know a new business is always is always great. But really retaining that recurring revenue is what’s going to take your company to the next level.

Christian Klepp  04:50

Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, you raised an interesting point in the past couple of minutes and I wanted to jam about a little bit more, if you will. There’s probably like not one factor as probably several factors that are involved in this. But why do you think B2B organizations are so obsessed with new customer acquisition, as opposed to like focusing or leveraging those existing client relationships?

Walter Zepeda  05:16

Well, I’m not sure. But I mean, maybe it has to do with sales has been around for longer than then customer success. Customer Success is really kind of a department or idea that is fairly new. And by fairly new, I mean, maybe 15 years since it started to pick up. But sales has been around for longer. And we have a lot of metrics and KPIs around sales. And for example, for companies that aren’t familiar with customer success. If you compare sales to customer success, it’s very easy to calculate the ROI, the return on investment of your sales team, you know, you compare what they’re bringing in versus what they cost. And that gives you a pretty straightforward idea on whether or not you’re making money with your current sales team. And customer success, while it, you can measure the return on an investment, it’s a little harder, right? Because you have a team, you know, they’re focusing on retaining business, maybe you’re not going to save all of your customers, and maybe probably it’d be the fault of your customer success team that you can save some of the customers. So it’s harder to measure. And sales is pretty straightforward. So I think that’s one of the reasons why companies are still focusing on putting that much energy into acquiring new customers than on retaining your existing customers.

Christian Klepp  06:37

Right, right. Exactly, exactly. Talk to us about some of the common mistakes and misconceptions that you’ve seen out there based on your experience. And when it comes to building high value client relationships, and how to best address these.

Walter Zepeda  06:52

Yeah, I think one of the main ones is…I don’t know. But in customer success, we talked about building these customer journey maps, customer journey mapping, it’s like playing. So this is basically having a visual representation of what the customer goes through, the interaction it has with your brand, or your or your product since the beginning, all the way towards the end. And typically a customer journey map could have maybe four phases or maybe more, you know, there’s a discovery phase. And then there’s this consideration phase that the customer goes through, the purchase phase, and then the retention phase. So it could have more phases. But these four are kind of like the main ones that you see in customer journey maps. So I think one of the common misconceptions that you see is that companies have one single customer journey map. And I think this is a mistake, I went through this mistake myself. This is why I really recognize this as a mistake. And this because not all of your customers are going to go through the same customer journey. For example, if that customer saw you, on your website, learned about you on your website and then clicked open an account or start a free trial, it’s going to be very different from the customer that you’re reaching out to, in an outbound fashion. So because the other customer, the first one maybe is more sophisticated, they’re looking for a solution, like the one you’re offering, that’s why they went on your website, that’s why they kind of informed themselves on on different options on your competition. So they’re a lot more sophisticated. And if you’re treating that customer the same way you are an outbound customer, then you’re wasting a lot of time because that customer maybe needs less education than an outbound reach out, because they’ve gone through a different process. So if you only have one customer journey map, you know that that sophisticated buyer might be frustrated by how long the process is taking, or, you know, the all the process that you’re making them go through, because they’ve already been through this and they just feel frustrated they do they just want to make a purchase, maybe. But no, you want to take them through this kind of discovery and consideration phase just because your customer journey map tells you so and I think this is a big mistake. And it might be the reason why you’re losing some of your prospects or leads in that funnel. And it’s because you only have one customer journey. So I think you really have to be intentional in how you design your customer journey map and go through it yourself and see if there’s anything wrong with it. What areas are right, what we need to optimize, but it’s always a work in progress. Your customer journey map is always going to be changing but it’s very important that you’re intentional about this and you design as many customer journey maps as you think you need based on how your customers are interacting with your brand or product.

Christian Klepp  10:09

It’s a very dangerous assumption isn’t that, um, you know, this misconception that all customers are created equal. And as such, you’ve only got one journey map. And, you know, to your point and especially in B2B, right, because the buyers journey, the decision making process is anything but linear, right? Yeah, for lack of a better description, it’s a little bit haphazard, at best, right? So, exactly. And there’s like to your point, there’s different customer types, there’s different behaviors, there’s different motivations for going on platforms, like, like the company website, for instance. But you raised something in the past couple of minutes. And I’d like to get your thoughts on that, like, you know, speaking of updating your, your buyers journey regularly, like, how often do you think companies or marketers need to review the buyers journey map that they’ve created for that specific persona? Or that that ideal customer?

Walter Zepeda  11:07

Yes, great question, Christian. But I don’t know if there’s a straightforward answer, I think it kind of depends on how your product or brand is evolving, the different, you know, sites or platforms where your customer can interact with your brand. So if you’re doing something new on social media, you’re now on a different platform. Your product changed a bit, your storytelling kind of changed. Your website had kind of had an overhaul. So I think all of those stuff, all of those things do you need to take into consideration when you you’re thinking about your customer journey map. So I just think, with any changes that you make in the way that your customer can interact with your brand or product, you at least have to revise it, see if it still makes sense. If you’re not changing anything, which might not be a good thing, anyway, then maybe it’s not that necessary to check it so often. But I would say every time you do something that, you know affects the way your prospects or your leads, or your customers will will interact with your brand or product. And that includes platforms, social media, your website, blogs, newsletters, etc.

Christian Klepp  12:23

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. This next question is, I would say, highly relevant to your area of expertise. And it’s about, you know, as the B2B space continues to rapidly digitize, you know, servicing customers and building relationships with them digitally, and by online platforms, I would say as almost a given, it’s paramount to success. So talk to us about how B2B firms can build strong teams while working with clients remotely. And that’s probably something that you’ve been doing for a while, right?

Walter Zepeda  12:55

It has yes, yes. Since the pandemic started, and it’s, it’s, it has a lot of challenges, because, of course, technology has given us a lot of tools that we can use, some of them that we discovered up until the pandemic, and they were around for… they’ve been around for years, but we just started using them during the pandemic. So technology can only take us so far, I think. And of course, it’s, it’s proven to make us more productive, and to reach our clients faster, and reach more clients with the time that we had before. But the thing is, when with your teams, you know, of course, they’re there, they’re reaching their goals and everything, but just if you only do it, and technology, if you want to build a strong team, I think, you know, there’s a risk that your team’s kind of, detached from the purpose. And because when you’re reaching so many clients, through technology platforms, you’re doing that at scale, you’re doing it with automations, you as a customer success manager, for example, you’re used to interacting in a more personal manner with customers, I think that there’s a risk there of losing that purpose. So with our teams, you know, now that we’re coming back slowly, to having face to face meetings, and just coffees and different face to face interactions, we’ve seen that in our case with our teams, they really get a sense of their purpose on why they’re doing the things that they’re doing day to day, why we’re pushing that product, why we’re you know, telling everyone about it. And it’s something that you just get with face to face interactions, or maybe if you can’t do it face to face, at least on a phone call. But if you’re just using emails and you have different automated outreaches, you, you risk really being detached on why you were doing what you’re doing with your clients. So, you know, as much as you can, I think it’s great for you to allow your teams to have these face to face interactions with with your clients, to really get them back to the purpose, get them back to their mission. And it’s, I think it’s a great way to to connect again with your companies, or your brand’s mission and vision, and really transmit that to your customers. So again, no, I’m not saying anything bad about the technologies that we’re using, I think they’re amazing. And we wouldn’t be where we are without them. But, you know, again, going back to those basic face to face interactions, or phone calls, or just interacting with your clients, is going to build a very, very strong team, even if they’re working remotely.

Christian Klepp  15:59

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Would you say that systems and processes that you have internally are also like, you know, a key factor in that, to facilitate that?

Walter Zepeda  16:11

Yeah, definitely. I mean, as leaders, we have to really promote and encourage and just really give our customer success managers or any teams, marketing and sales teams, just the tools to do that. And, of course, our processes, we have to be very intentional about them. And if we only have automated things, because we want to do everything at scale, I think it’s going to hinder that, that the results that we can get when we’re scaling, because when we’re scaling, we’re always focused about being, you know, the most productive we can, with the least cost. And that’s, that’s good and good and well. But if we as leaders don’t, we’re not intentional about, you know, giving those giving our teams, the tools and platforms and processes and structures, to really interact with clients in a way that they feel connected and with the purpose. You know, we’re not going to be able to really help our teams be strong in these remote times.

Christian Klepp  17:21

Yeah, absolutely, man, absolutely.

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You brought up some of these elements in the past couple of minutes. But if you can, like explain what you consider are the key components of a successful CS approach, specifically designed to help build a high value client relationships, and where you can please cite an example?

Walter Zepeda  18:05

Well, um, you know, I think just the main one, and maybe the one that we’ve heard is communication. So communication is always at the core of any relationship, like, you know, think of your spouse. Communication is basic, and you wouldn’t have a successful marriage if you didn’t have communication and the same is true for client relationships. So I think it’s essential. It’s maybe the the main one that I would cite and lesson so for example, when you say communication, so how often should we communicate with our clients? Again, we have to be very intentional in setting that rhythm. So in customer success, we talk about having executive business reviews, EBRs, or quarterly business reviews, QBRs, some companies really don’t have a schedule for these, but they are intentional in how and how they do it, and how often they do it. So I think scheduling these check ins, sharing company news on social media channels, just connecting with your clients in different ways, communicating, you can’t over communicate, I think. Unless, of course, you’re spamming your clients, which is never good. But it’s never a problem to over communicate what your company is doing, especially if it’s in the interest of your clients. So I would say communication is, is a key factor. And really, really, really having a structure and process around how you do it. But you can never grow, I think or create a high value client relationship without communication. I think it’s really, really basic that you do that.

Christian Klepp  19:43

Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. And to your point, it’s communication is crucial, not just in customer success, but in any, any relationship per se. Right. So.

Walter Zepeda  19:53

Exactly. And not just a one way communication, right? Because you might think like, Oh, yeah, this is I’m just telling my customers about my product, but it’s getting their feedback also. Yeah, the same way you would do in your marriage, like you would ask your spouse like, Am I doing this well, or how well are we re communicating with each other? How can we improve our relationship and same is something you can do with your clients and really take that feedback to heart because this is what’s going to teach you things about your brand or your product that you never knew. Because you’re not in your customers shoes. And as often as you can, you have to do that exercise. Really try to be not just say it, really try to be in your customers shoes and walk their journey with your brand. And I think the more that you can incorporate this feedback in your workflows, in your processes, the infrastructures, you’re going to be netting even more clients and helping your business grow into a successful company.

Christian Klepp  20:53

Yeah, that’s absolutely right. Um, you know, empathy, right? And talk the talk, walk the walk.

Walter Zepeda  21:00


Christian Klepp  21:01

Alright. Yeah, I’d like to get your thoughts on these Walter. So, according to an article on the platform futureofsaas.io. Right there, there are many key trends that are shaping the future of customer success. Now, the article highlights several points. But again, in the interest of time, I’ve picked four that could make for an interesting discussion. So here it goes. Point number one. CSM are now business continuity advisors, right? Number two, digital engagements are transforming the virtual world of work. And I think that’s almost a given. But point number three, greater focus on scaling customer service efforts. And the final one is success is expanding into strategy. So thoughts on the above anything that you disagree with anything you’d like to add?

Walter Zepeda  21:53

Yeah, so those really good ones. The first one you mentioned is CSM ‘s or business continuity advisors. Definitely. And we’ve seen it, I think even more right now with a pandemic, because business continuity was in the minds of every company in the world, right? Like how are you to survive this, how are you gonna make this… make through, you know, this pandemic. It has new rules, new structures, everything was shifted. So CSM, I think the great CSM, it’s not a must have for a lot of CSM, but it should be for… to be a business continuity advisor in the different industries of your clients. Of course, you have to be a product expert in your product, right? You have to know your product from A to Z, and you have to really know how your product will impact your client’s business. However, that’ll only take you so far. Because if you only know your product, but you don’t know your client’s industry, what challenges they’re facing, how the competition has changed, you know, their whole environment, you’re not going to be able to really advise your client on business continuity, because you’ll only know your product if you’re only your product expert, but if you’re also an industry expert, you know, that’ll take you to the next level, and it’ll give you the credibility with your clients to really advise them on what they should do. Because if you’re someone who you know, just knows your product, then for any questions that the client has, you’re only citing what your product that we’ll do about the you know, this new feature on you try it, just try it, maybe upsell it something you know, they’re gonna notice that because they’re very, they’re experts in their industry, and you’re not going to have the credibility or the impact that you would if you were an industry expert. So I think you have to be both to be a continuity advisor.

Walter Zepeda  23:54

But then you mentioned that digital engagements are transforming the virtual world of work. And right this as he said this, this is a given. Of course, we have these great tools now to do all the all the stuff that we were used to doing face to face. But I would go back to what we were discussing earlier, it’ll only take you so far. And it’s never bad to go back to basics. I mean, this of course is true, but I don’t think it addresses or give justice to really what the basics can do for your team and your clients. So pick up the phone instead of texting if you can. Have a face to face meeting, have a coffee if you can. It’s always good in building these high value client relationships.

Walter Zepeda  24:44

Scaling customer success, It’s a tough one because you can scale with digital platforms. You have all these Customer Success platforms that help you scale to reach new clients and reach more clients. But maybe this isn’t always enough. When you’re scaling customers, you know in marketing departments and sales departments. They’re used to or, you know, they’ve heard of ideas like outsourcing some of the sales or outsourcing your marketing. Not your entire marketing department, but positions in your marketing department. And when it comes to customer success, companies are a little more reluctant, because they feel like they’re giving away those high value client relationships to another company somewhere that is now going to manage them. But I think when you have very strong structures and processes and customer success, very strong platforms, you’ve built your customer journey maps, you have really detailed playbooks, all of that when you when you have that, you are able to look at options like, okay, maybe, you know, we’re based in Europe. It’s a company, we’re based in Europe, and now we want to expand to the American market. You know, how can we do this at scale with the team we have, maybe it’s going to be a little, you know, it’s going to be a lot more expensive than it would be hiring someone in Latin America, which is kind of the basics of we focus on. So we’ve seen the financial gains that companies perceive while doing this. But it’s not something that’s very intuitive. So I would encourage people to know how you can scale customer success with remote teams. And the last one is that success is expanding into strategy, I think that this kind of has to do with the first one with the business continuity, because this is actually what you’re doing, right, you’re moving from customer success, to really customer strategy, because you’re such an expert in your product and the customers industry, that you’re really able to talk about strategy. So it kind of refers to, to, to the first point, I think that you’re not going to be able to talk about strategy, if you’re not an industry expert, and a product expert, and you’re able to match the two to really give your customer the tools that they need to succeed in their business.

Christian Klepp  27:26

This is some really great points you raised. And you know, going back to what you said about point number one, about the business continuity. It kind of reminds me what you said earlier on on the conversation, whereas like, you know, companies were or are rather present tense, still focused on new customer acquisition, instead of focusing on the existing clients, right, because I would assume that a lot of companies at the beginning of the pandemic, last year, when the world was going into lockdown, they weren’t, they weren’t just worried about getting new customers, they were worried about keeping the ones they already have, right. And so clearly, customer success plays an instrumental role in that process as well.

Walter Zepeda  28:09

Yes, and I mean, customers were really hustling just to see what they had to do to just, you know, keep their head above the water. And if we in customer success can help them at least, you know, surviving in a part of their business, then, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s a lot. And not all of the companies see the impact that they can have being strategy advisors to the customers. And, of course, you’re only, you only have one product that that company is using. But if you can help them in other ways, that maybe it’s a little cost to you, but it’s a big benefit to your customer, I mean, you’re really going to solidify that relationship that that you have with them. And then when we’ve seen examples, and in our case, we’ve helped customers in areas that have nothing to do with the product that we’re selling, or the service that we’re giving. But you know, making one connection with another person that we know it with another company that we know, just you know, connecting people is something that is very low cost, but have high benefits to your customers probably, so if there’s anything that you can do for your customers that you know it’s cost effective to you. But even outside the scope of what you’re doing, I would encourage you to do it just in in to solidify that relationship.

Christian Klepp  29:37

Yeah, you’re definitely like touching on something that I think is really important because as you’re referring to, I guess the more intangible aspect of it right? So that’s probably a combination of the experience that the customer has coupled with consultation or services, right? So they’re benefiting not just from using the product but also the expertise and everything else that comes with that experience.

Walter Zepeda  30:06

Exactly. And the more the customer perceives you perceives you like this, the longer they’re gonna stick around with you. And then It’s not even going to be based on, on your product, it’s going to be based on you know, it’s at higher levels, that connection is, it’s going to be at a higher level, where the customer really, really needs you, and you need the customer. So it’s kind of like a win situation that’s mutually beneficial.

Christian Klepp  30:28

Yeah, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Um, talk to us about what you believe is one of the biggest, biggest challenges rather, the customer successes facing now and especially when it comes to like high value client relationships.

Walter Zepeda  30:42

Yeah, and this is maybe touching back on one of the previous points that we discussed, I think one of the biggest challenges is building these high client value relationships at scale. So I would… I mean this is our business. So this is why I know that this is a challenge, that when companies are scaling, especially to other markets, it’s very hard to scale those high, high value client relationships, especially because maybe you’re not that well versed in a different culture and a different country, a different region, or, you know, a different continent. So building those relationships at scale can be difficult if you’re trying to do that, from your headquarters, from your home base, and not really taking advantage of a talent that you have in other regions. So we’ve seen a lot of companies now entering new markets, and really looking for talent in those areas, because they know that, you know, it’s very different how you interact with the customer in different regions, I can talk about, I’ve seen, you know, I’ve worked with Nordic SaaS companies. And it’s very different, how they engage their customers, and the way we do it in Latin America. It’s just very different. And it’s very different what clients expect of you. So to cite a very concrete example, in Latin America, when you do customer success. And we’ve seen this in our customer success in Spanish community that we have, which is called customer success in espanol. We’ve discussed how, in Latin America, there’s a lot more hand holding with the clients, your clients expect you to do more than clients in other regions would expect. So if you don’t know that coming in, and you’re just trying to get your model, your customer success model, or your sales model, or your marketing model that you brought from Europe or from Asia or from you know, wherever your company is, and you think it’s going to be just copy and pasting something in different regions, then you know, you’re setting yourself up for failure, you have to be very, very knowledgeable about the region that you’re reaching now. And I think just taking advantage of the talent that you have in that region will make a huge difference, because then you’ll have that advantage, where you can talk to the customers the way they want to be talked to. So I think that building, building those relationships at scale is is a challenge, but not one that does not have a solution. I think there is a clear solution to it.

Christian Klepp  33:26

That’s a really good point. And, you know, back to something you said a couple of minutes ago. Certainly there are challenges, you know, when you’re working across different geographies, because some things don’t translate well either, right? Like, you know, to us that saying, like things get lost in translation.

Walter Zepeda  33:44

Exactly. Exactly.

Christian Klepp  33:47

All right. Um, what is the status quo, would you say, a commonly held belief in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with? And why?

Walter Zepeda  34:01

Hmm, well, um, I would say that, what I like, for example, when I scroll through my LinkedIn feed, and I see all these people, because I’m connected to a lot of customer success leaders around the world, when they’re looking for people to join their teams, I would say 85 to 90% of the time, so they’re always looking for experience in customer success. I disagree, that you need experience to start in customer success. I’m not saying that my first experience is extremely valuable. And I might be a little biased because I myself started in customer success with no experience. In customer success, I had experience and other client facing roles. And maybe I did some Customer Success before without knowing or calling it customer success. But I really didn’t have that experience in my in my resume that I could say, you know, I’ve done Customer Success before. So I might be a little biased, but I have never hired anyone with customer success experience. And they’ve turned out to be amazing at customer success. I think that when you can teach people, I think it’s more about the having the right attitude to be in customer success. attitude is way more important than experience. I’ve interviewed people with customer success experience. And you know, they don’t have the right attitude. And I’m always going to go for attitude. So I think having that experiences is a commonly held belief that I very much disagree with. And I’m not saying it’s not important, some roles, you know, maybe a leadership role will require that. But to go into customer success, I think we should, we should really open the door to people who are passionate about customer success, who have had a client facing roles and have been successful in them. I have a great example of a person I know who is right now transitioning from special education, in and for kids. She’s transitioning to customer success. And I can already tell that she’s amazing, and she’s gonna be amazing at it. And right now she’s working and landing that first role. And I know that the company that hires her will, will never not regret it. And I can just see it because of her energy and your attitude and everything. So I think that that’s way more important customer success and just experience.

Christian Klepp  36:34

Well, that’s a really great observation that actually reminds me of a conversation I had with another guest on the show. And it was the same story, I would say same story, different characters. Let’s put it that way. Right? Because he said that there’s a lot of misconceptions, especially in B2B organizations, about people in customer success roles. And more often than not, he’s seen it in his experience that people who are in customer support get pushed into a customer success function. And that more often than not, doesn’t work out. Right? Different role. It’s an attitude. Right?

Walter Zepeda  37:08

Exactly. Because customer support is reactive. Versus customer success, which is proactive, and proactivity is something pretty scarce. Like you’re not gonna find that in anyone. So yeah, I think it’s a mistake, what you said, about just putting someone from  support in a customer success role.

Christian Klepp  37:28

Yeah, no, that’s it. That’s it. So just to wrap it up, right, like, you know, advice that you would give people like your friend, for example, that’s, you know, you’re starting her first role in customer success. What is the one thing that you think people should start? And one thing that people should stop? When it comes to customer success in high value client relationships?

Walter Zepeda  37:51

Well, are we talking about, from a company perspective, or from someone who is starting off in customer success?

Christian Klepp  37:59

Let’s, let’s say, the latter, so somebody who’s starting out in customer success.

Walter Zepeda  38:04

Well, I think, if I look at what my friend is doing, like, for example, she’s being extremely active on LinkedIn, and the different customer success networks, she’s contributing with things that she’s seen in her area of expertise, and seeing how, you know what tools we can use in customer success. And I think she’s been very successful. I mean, the traction that he that she has is enviable, like, she has more traction than other Customer Success leaders that I see. And, and when you see these recognitions that come out, like the success hacker, top 100 Customer Success Leaders List, I would, I would love to see you’re in this list. Because you know, she’s so good, and she has such a good grasp on the concepts. So I would, I would suggest you know, start networking starts joining these different communities, and contributing with the things that you know, from your area of expertise, and how you think that could translate into customer success. Because there’s a lot of stuff in different industries, that, you know, the customer success community would benefit from learning. I myself have benefited quite a bit from her posts, and all the stuff that she’s put out. So I think she’s on the right path. And this is what I would suggest to anyone who’s joining the community, start contributing to the community with all of the stuff that you know, which could translate well into customer success.

Christian Klepp  39:40

Fantastic. And Stop?

Walter Zepeda  39:44

Stop. I don’t know if there’s something that I would, I would tell, you know, people coming into the community to stop doing because maybe the ones that aren’t doing, you know, good things in the community. They’re not even visible, so I don’t even see what they’re doing. I just say give it your best and maybe stop beating yourself up if you don’t land something fast. I think being intentional and being, you know, sticking with what you’re doing for, even if it takes months to land your dream role. So stop beating yourself about it stop. If you reach out to customers success leaders for one on ones, maybe you need some advice on something and they don’t respond. You know, don’t take it personal. Don’t think it’s you. A lot of a lot of these people are busy, I myself, I try to be in every call that anyone, if anyone asks, I will, you know, give my advice, whatever, wherever I can give. If I can’t, then I’ll be just straightforward that which, you know, saying, This is not something that I’m really good at. But I might point you towards someone who is. So this is what I would suggest, just stop beating yourself up and, and, and just be persistent. And for the customer success leaders that are receiving these requests, I would say, you know, take 15 minutes of your time, maybe, if you can, every week, it’s 15 minutes. We know we’re all extremely busy. But we can all take 15 minutes to help someone else. Because it would have been, it would have meant the world to us when we were starting out. So you know, I always say try to give back to the community.

Christian Klepp  41:36

Those are some pretty solid advice. So thanks for sharing that with us. And, Walter, thank you so much for coming on the show, sharing your expertise and experience with with the audience. So please do us the honor of introducing yourself and let us know how folks out there, especially in the CS world can get in touch with you.

Walter Zepeda  41:54

Thank you, Christian for the great opportunity. I really, really love your podcast. I really, really love what you’re doing and your contributions to the community. I’m so happy that we were able to to connect.

Christian Klepp  42:05

Likewise. Thank you LinkedIn. (laugh)

Walter Zepeda  42:07

Of course. Thank you LinkedIn. Yeah, the power of networking, right. But yeah, so I might, as you mentioned in the beginning, my name is Walter Zepeda. I’m based in Guatemala City. And right now we, you know, I started out in customer success, but we built a company called Scalefront, which recruits and hires top talent in Latin America. And our focus is global SaaS companies, we focus on customer success, customer support, sales, you know, business development, and content marketing. And this is what we’re doing. We’re, we’re hiring people here in the region, because there’s a lot of great talent in Latin America, for these companies that are scaling. So you know, this is something that they can use to test out a new market, which would be either Latin America or the US market. So that’s what we’re doing these days. And as far as where we can connect, I’m on LinkedIn, I try to be pretty active, although I don’t always accomplish it. But yeah, you can you can look me up on LinkedIn, it’s Walters Zepeda. In Guatemala, from Scalefront, and I’m on other social networks. But I think LinkedIn would be the best to start a conversation.

Christian Klepp  43:29

Fantastic. Once again, Walter, thank you so much. I mean, the session was informative. It was incredibly insightful, and I really hope the listeners get value out of this. So take care, be safe, and keep in touch.

Walter Zepeda  43:42

I will. Thank you, Christian. Thank you for having me.

Christian Klepp  43:43

Talk to you soon. Bye.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.


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