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ChurnZero’s 10 Customer Success Leaders to Watch in 2022
As the demand for Customer Success surges within SaaS, so too does the need for effective leaders to spearhead this expanding function and steer its strategy and success. Over the course of the pandemic, Customer Success has cemented itself as a central business driver of growth and profit. As a result, Customer Success leaders continue to increase their prominence and power within the organization.
Our recent Customer Success Leadership Study showed that 61% of respondents reported a Vice President and above as being the highest leader in their Customer Success organization in 2021 – an increase of 7% from the previous year. This is in part due to a rise in the standing of the Chief Customer Officer role. Both of these findings indicate growth in Customer Success leaders’ authority, value, and visibility within the larger organization. Following the trends from the last few years, we fully expect to see an acceleration in the number of Customer Success leaders who join the ranks of the C-suite over the course of 2022.
For Customer Success to continue to mature as a function and discipline, it needs the support and passion of strong leaders who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and advocate for the value of putting Customer Success at the heart of the business. We wanted to recognize those leaders who are helping Customer Success make a name for itself in SaaS by proving its purpose and potential. Here’s our watchlist of Customer Success leaders to follow in 2022.
10 Customer Success Leaders to Watch in 2022
- Adi Janowitz, Chief Customer Officer, Hibob
Elevated from VP of Customer Success, in her new position, Adi will focus on boosting HiBob’s already strong customer net retention rate by investing further in a differentiating customer experience and scaling a KPI-driven customer success organization that represents the voice of the customer and partners with Product & Engineering to provide the solutions for tomorrow’s problems.
“Our customers are our inspiration, and we grow as they grow. We love hearing them, learning from them and implementing their feedback directly into the Bob platform. Elevating Adi to the Chief Customer Officer position and part of our C-level executive team is a natural next step for us as we dedicate even more resources and support to our customers,” says Ronni Zehavi, CEO of HiBob.
Adi began her career in tech as a programmer at Amdocs, where she rapidly grew into managerial roles implementing client-specific solutions, where she later shifted into client success roles. Adi also led WalkMe’s EMEA customer success team.
Follow Adi on LinkedIn.
- Amir Siddiqi, Chief Customer Officer, CentralSquare Technologies
Amir will lead all post-sales functions, helping customers use the full scope of their products and services to unleash the power of CentralSquare in their communities. Amir will work closely with CentralSquare CEO Dave Zolet and serve as a core member of CentralSquare’s executive leadership team.
“As we continue to build momentum in the marketplace and bring the power of CentralSquare to new communities, it is vital we also ensure the long-term success of our customers and the communities we serve,” Zolet said. “Amir’s customer-first experience will be a game-changer for our customers and communities, and we’re thrilled to have his expertise on our team.”
Amir brings over thirty years of experience in customer success and engagement to CentralSquare. Previously, he served as the Senior Vice President of Vertical Solutions at Alteryx, a data science and analytics software company, as well as led customer success and professional service teams at companies including Docker, Inc., Cloudera and Hortonworks, Inc.
Follow Amir on LinkedIn.
- Bill Mahoney, Chief Customer Officer, ComplySci
In his new role, Bill will be responsible for ensuring success throughout the customer entire lifecycle, from initial onboarding onward. As the lynchpin to customer retention, his history in providing best-in-class customer experience will elevate the customer journey and drive continued ComplySci growth.
“In joining ComplySci, I knew I was stepping into a company in the midst of their own transformation,” said Bill. “Not only have we accomplished major milestones in terms of organic growth, but our acquisitions have made us a force within the compliance industry. I am excited to bring a new focus to customer success within our organization, helping to drive excellence in every aspect of our business.”
Bill comes to ComplySci with over 15 years of building and scaling customer experience teams in high growth SaaS companies. His background spans leading customer success, onboarding, support as well as training and education teams.
Follow Bill on LinkedIn.
- Ellen Sundra, Chief Customer Officer, Forescout
In her new role as CCO, Ellen will be responsible for uniting Forescout’s technical teams that engage the customer at every stage of their journey. This will provide an optimal experience as the company helps enterprise organizations mitigate risks brought on by the billions of network-connected devices, including IoT and operational technology (OT).
In her expanded role, Ellen will continue to lead global system engineering and enablement and will add professional services and customer support to her team.
“Ellen is a fantastic leader with the ability to unite and motivate a team. She understands customer service and puts customers first every single day. I am pleased to see her take on an expanded leadership position of Chief Customer Officer. This role is made for her,” said Kirsten Davies, SVP and Chief Information Security Officer, The Estée Lauder Companies.
Ellen joined Forescout in 2010 and has been instrumental in driving cross-functional efforts between sales, product, and engineering to deliver on customers’ technical needs. She has also been instrumental in building a world-class global system engineering and enablement team across Forescout’s commercial and federal business, as well as transforming the customer training and certification program.
Follow Ellen on LinkedIn.
- Jennifer Dearman, Senior Vice President, Global Customer Success and Operations, Udacity
Leveraging more than 25 years of experience in leading customer success and engagement teams, Jennifer’s efforts will further accelerate Udacity’s growth in the enterprise marketplace.
“We’re only successful if our customers are successful, and our enterprise growth has, in no small part, been driven by our amazing customer success team. They’re responsible for ensuring our clients achieve significant business outcomes from their engagements with Udacity, and they absolutely excel in these efforts,” said Gabe Dalporto, Udacity CEO.
“Udacity is committed to delivering training that equips its customers with proven job-ready skills and best practices needed to take advantage of the latest technologies,” said Jennifer. “This is a mission I am passionate about and I’m looking forward to helping Udacity’s customers progress along their digital transformation journeys.”
Follow Jennifer on LinkedIn.
- Chris Singh, Senior Vice President, Customer Success, Blackbaud
In this role, Chris will oversee global customer success functions including management and support, services, operations, and technology. Chris has deep expertise in enterprise customer success, business transformation and cloud commercial business models, SaaS—public and private clouds, experience management and sustainable business practices. He has demonstrated success in achieving significant gains in customer satisfaction, references, renewals, and incremental cloud subscription revenues.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Chris to Blackbaud to lead Customer Success,” said Kevin Gregoire, president, U.S. markets at Blackbaud. “He’s a proven business leader with over 17 years of experience leading customer-delight-focused teams. His strong track record and passion for social good will be an asset in helping our customers achieve their business outcomes to help good take over.”
Chris most recently served as senior vice president of Customer Engagement and Experience at SAP. Chris serves on several boards as an advisor. He is a social media influencer and thought leader on customer success, innovation, and value-based technology trends. He has been a keynote speaker at various global events such as The Customer Conference, TSIA, SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG Annual Conference.
Follow Chris on LinkedIn.
- Raman Kumar, Chief Customer Officer, SafeBreach
Raman will scale the SafeBreach customer success team at a critical time as the firm rapidly expands its sales and channel footprint while balancing strong customer growth. Raman has deep expertise in building customer success, experience and support teams in cybersecurity and technology risk management companies, from large publicly traded firms to fast-growing startups. Raman has built large success teams at several rapidly growing companies and understands how to scale this function quickly and effectively, while improving the team’s performance and driving revenue retention and expansion.
“Raman has created a culture of customer success excellence everywhere he has gone,” says SafeBreach CEO Guy Bejerano. “Raman’s passion in helping customers get the most out of their technology solutions creates powerful word-of-mouth recommendations and increases customer retention, two key components of success for technology companies.”
Raman has 13+ years of experience as a customer success leader at leading technology companies such as PowerSchool, Cyberark, Centrify, and Symantec.
Follow Raman on LinkedIn.
- Matt Brook, Senior Vice President, Customer Success, FintechOS
Matt will be growing FintechOS’ customer success and consulting teams in a hyper-growth global context and will work with the company’s client executives and strategic partners.
Matt joins from Appian, another low-code platform, where he previously held the position of VP of Customer Success and Professional Services. Matt has over 20 years of experience in IT delivery in consulting and outsourcing environments across significant sectors.
Follow Matt on LinkedIn.
- Marla Kessler, Chief Customer Officer, Aetion
Marla will lead Aetion’s efforts to create superior customer experiences, oversee marketing and communications teams, and support the development of new products and services. Marla joins Aetion following a period of rapid customer growth, new research collaborations including with FDA, and the completion of a successful Series C fundraise in May 2021.
“Our customers have been critical partners in advancing the use of scientifically valid RWE in their organizations and across the industry at large,” said Carolyn Magill, CEO of Aetion. “Through her uniquely broad experience across global health care and passion for helping customers achieve their evidence generation goals, Marla will help us identify and tailor novel offerings and amplify our impact.”
Marla brings over 20 years’ experience driving performance across life sciences, technology, and service sectors. Prior to joining Aetion, she was most recently IQVIA’s SVP, Strategy, Marketing, and Communication, overseeing the rebranding from the IMS Health-Quintiles merger. She had previously held several other global leadership positions in the company’s consulting and RWE businesses. She has also been recognized as industry leader, including being an MM&M 2019 Hall of Femme Member and a winner of PM360 Magazine ELITE 2019 Strategist award.
Follow Marla on LinkedIn.
- Amanda Binns, Senior Vice President, Global Customer Success, Pixalate
Amanda will oversee Pixalate’s growing global customer success teams, including U.S. – West Coast, U.S. – East Coast, EMEA, and APAC. Amanda is an ad tech industry star and will partner with all clients as they tackle issues spanning fraud, privacy compliance, and safety in the digital ad supply chain — including CTV and mobile in-app environments.
“Amanda’s unique combination of leadership and inside-out knowledge of the digital supply chain will be invaluable to drive success for our global clients,” said Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate. “We remain committed to helping customers address individual pain points, and we’re thrilled to put Amanda at the helm of our customer success team to create an inclusive and beneficial environment for all our clients, with no exceptions.”
Amanda is ideally suited to help customers navigate the challenges associated with quality in the digital ad supply chain. She is a strong customer advocate with extensive consultative strategy experience across the digital advertising ecosystem, having served in both sales and customer success roles on the buy-side at Turn and the sell-side at PubMatic.
Follow Amanda on LinkedIn.
What’s Next for Customer Success Leaders in 2022?
Based on the consistent work that Customer Success leaders, like the ones in this article, have done to establish Customer Success as an essential source of business growth, we’ve complied our top trends to look out for in the year ahead. Included in the list: the rise of CCOs-turned-CEOs. To find out why we believe CCO will be named the best path to CEO, check out: Where Is Customer Success Headed in 2022?
Customer Success Around the Web
- Navigating Company Acquisitions as a Customer Success Leader– Learn four actions to help your Customer Success team come out on top after a company acquisition.
- Hiring? How to Use Your Competency Model to Build Your Team– Discover how to write better Customer Success job descriptions to build out your team.
- The Dos and Don’ts of Killer Customer Surveys– Find out how to create effective and efficient customer feedback loops that can benefit every team company-wide.