This week, we shine the Spotlight on Daphne Costa Lopes, the Head of CS at Hubspot. We asked Daphne a few questions about her experience in the Customer Success field and a few questions about her as a person.
How long have you been in the Customer Success field?
Can you tell me a bit about your journey to Customer Success? Did your education/life experience play a part in that?
I am a Principal Manager at the EMEA Business, leading our UKI geography (largest region in MRR and HC outside of NAM) and up until last year I also headed up France. Before Hubspot, I spent 10+ years building a CS Start-Up, and helping Scale-Ups and Fortune 500 businesses build and scale global customer success teams to service 100K+ customers. I have a ton of experience driving large and complex initiatives from inception, to experimentation and BAU and managing complex cross-functional global programs. I continue to do board advisory and consultancy for exciting companies and love working with the investor community. Last year I was voted top 50 Female CS leaders, top 25 Customer Success Strategist and Top 20 most Creative CS Leaders by leading industry awards. My roots are in science, product and strategy. I am a chemistry major, with a business degree and a masters in Product Management. I started my career in business analytics. My approach to scaling CS is heavily influenced by this, I’d say it’s my superpower. I have the real on-the-ground customer know-how with a very strategic and analytical mindset and a fine-tuned execution muscle.
What is one important lesson you've learned from your time in Customer Success?
The secret it's in the name. It's all about the customer. If you lose sight of what your customers need and want, to solve for internal processes, you are doing it wrong. Customers come first, processes, systems, pricing etc comes second.
What advice/tips would you give someone trying to break into Customer Success?
Focus on building the core skills that will get you into Customer Success. I have hired over 200 CSMs and interviewed thousands. I have managed CSMs in start-ups, scale-ups and enterprises. I have worked with high-touch models and low-touch models. I believe the skills I listed here are applicable to every CSM. What are the skills? -> Product Knowledge Consulting Stakeholder Management Business Insight Situational Adaptability Book of Business Management Communication Forecasting. You can find these skills and drills here: https://www.daphnelopes.com/csm-skill-practice-plan-2/
Is there anything about the Customer Success industry that you'd like to see change?
As an industry, we are very focused on internal success metrics. Very few companies are measuring customer outcomes. But this is the most important thing here to remember that no matter how shiny and efficient your processes are, if it's not yielding outcomes for your customers, it's useless. Specially in this climate, CSMs need that outcomes information to have effective conversations with customers too.
In this section we want to learn about you the person, not the CSM.
What are passionate about aside from Customer Success?
I love the outdoors, I am mad about board sports and there is nothing in the world I like more than getting to see the corners of our beautiful planet! I am just back from a snowboard holidays in France, am heading surfing in Lanzarote and will be at the top of Mount kilimanjaro for the sunrise of my birthday. I also have a love for reading, especially classic novels. Since I wrapped up my masters, I have read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, The Count of Monte Cristo and tons of other classic books!
What is your favorite quote/saying?
I am not a quotes kind of person. I always mess the words or get the author wrong. What I internalise is the sentiment of amazing lessons. And for me, the biggest lesson is that you are the writer of your story. You need to dream big, hold yourself accountable and take responsibility!
How do you stay motivated when things get hard?
I think about the big goal down the line.
Thank you to Daphne for giving us some of her time.
You can connect with Daphne on LinkedIn here
If you're in the Customer Success field and would like to be in the spotlight, feel free to fill out this form