CHRISTINA'S TOP TIPS FOR ASCENDING TO THE C-SUITE
1. Check your values.
Are they a match for this profession? Christina’s values, after much exploration, involve the intersection of humans with business and technology. She is especially interested in the human side. This is an area with well-developed research that is often overlooked–tech firms in particular need this knowledge! PLUS, more exciting research in behavioral psychology is on the way.
Customer Marketing and Success provide ideal paths to leverage our growing knowledge of the human animal—as Christina showed us last week.
2. Build a résumé with lots of customer-led initiatives that impact C-level objectives.
More and more of you are moving in this direction, by influencing things like adoption and retention. But stay nimble. Many C-suites are shifting their focus to costs—in part because traditional (and expensive) marketing, sales and support are less efficient and impossible to scale.
Christina and her board discussed this just a couple of weeks before the webinar. Under her guidance, they're moving budget from functions like demand gen to customer events. From support to the customer community. And ramping up customer marketing to get customer stories out there more rapidly. Your firm's leadership is very likely open to such budget shifting too.
3. Get great at influencing without authority.
The key here is to build your brand as a reliable Voice of the Customer (VOC) throughout your organization. Actually, you want to become the voice of the most important customers (VOIBC?). And your audience includes your C-suite and board. Speaking for the customer enables you to avoid having to say things like, “I think we have a problem with our product?” Instead, as she rose through the ranks, Christina would tell stories about the firm's customers. “Here’s how Amazon is experiencing our product," she'd say. "Let me tell you what they’re doing.” So she didn’t come off as bringing people down. Then she might say—even to the CEO if needed, “Hey, would you mind talking to so and so in product?”
See #4 and a Bonus tip, below...