I started on the Salesforce Customer Success Group (CSG) team as a junior employee, and today I'm a Senior Director with a team of my own. It's been quite a journey, during which I had successes and failures, but I always learned. Why? Because I had great leaders and mentors who never stopped teaching me.
I mentor our newer architects and I pass along what I've learned over the years. Here are three lessons I learned from three different mentors that I share with my mentees:
Rob Pickeral, CTO, Customer Success Group, hired me almost ten years ago. I had no CRM experience, so one day I asked him: “Why did you hire me? This is a CRM company and I'm only just now learning about CRM.” He didn't answer my question. He just said, “Ask me again in 6 months.” I never had to ask. After a few months of hard work and lessons learned, I didn't wonder why anymore. I had gotten my legs under me and I was confident that I could do this job. Rob had seen something in me during my interviews that made him believe I could do this job, even though it might not have looked that way on paper.
That's what mentors do — they identify talent, even when the candidate isn't the obvious choice. So, you need to trust your mentor that they tapped you for a reason even if you don't necessarily see the path. Building that trust is essential to succeeding.
Srin Tangirala, VP, Business Operations, has been a big influencer throughout my entire career. When Srin was my manager, he would throw a new project at me, and I wouldn't always immediately know how to take it on. Sometimes, the project was way out of my comfort zone. But, that's how you learn: being put in uncomfortable, but safe, positions. There were times where I was successful and times where I wasn't. When I wasn't successful, Srin always had a safety net for me. If I hadn't made those leaps, though, I wouldn't be where I am today.
In 2011, I was ready for a change. I told Srin that I wanted to try out a product manager within Salesforce to get closer to our products. I also spoke with another mentor, Mary Rowe (Senior Vice President, CSG Regional Lead), about wanting to make a change. Mary told me that it sounded like a good opportunity and wouldn't try to hold me back. It meant a lot to me that two people who were going to be directly affected by my leaving CSG told me it was okay to explore other options. They knew that a mentor doesn't look out for their own personal interests when speaking to their mentees.
Want to learn more about Customer Success at Salesforce? Read more about the team and search current openings here.