PART 4: Two CEOs on How to Accelerate Your Career

In our last PART 3, we talked about WHY the Great Downsizing is a HUGE opportunity for Customer Marketing, especially for the Cathedral Builders in the profession.
In PART 4 of our 10-part series on Achieving the CX Career of Your Dreams we’re talking about HOW you leverage this opportunity!
It's based on critical points from last month's Webinar with Christina Kosmowski, CEO, LogicMonitor and Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight: The Great Downsizing: an Historic Opportunity for Customer Marketing & Advocacy.
HOW to Accelerate Your Career in the Downturn
Two acclaimed CEOs who get Customer Marketing have some guidance for you in our recent Webinar. It includes some tough love:)
Here's the link to the full Webinar video, fyi:
1. Customer marketers have a self-esteem problem.
Let’s face it, too many customer marketing pros have low self-esteem. You could be the Patrick Mahomes [or substitute your fav] of B2B business, with dazzling moves and improvisations that grow the business and win in the market. (Check it out.)
Instead, they act like second stringers just trying to make the practice squad and “supporting” or “servicing” the starters in Marketing, Sales and elsewhere–which is increasingly old school.
Here’s how to ramp up your confidence. Your Patrick Mahomes secret sauce is that you can speak with authority like no one else on behalf of the firm’s top customers—the ones whose stories you help them tell, whose relationships you cultivate, and whose loyalty and growth is critical to your C-suite and board and they know it.
2. Here’s a better concept of “Proactive.”
Everyone urges everyone else to be more proactive in organizations. Which often winds up with things like entertaining TikTok videos, accommodating every request from sales, touting the numbers of case studies you’re producing, etc.—while showing no persuasive evidence* of, um, significant impact on the business.
* "Persuasive evidence of business impact means senior leadership think its persuasive.
Here’s a couple of examples of what proactivity looks like to Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight (edited for clarity):
  • "Take Acquisition. Proactively ask how you can you build into the "orchestration of sales and marketing." For example, after every sales call: how are you nurturing some customer evidence to the customer? Like a video from another customer, a G2 review, a case study... a two minute whatever, right?
  • "Or take Retention. Let’s say we have a customer that's onboarding and has a CSM managing them. How do you, the CM, build a digital journey where you're inviting them to your community, nurturing them with relevant case studies about customers and what they're doing, inviting them to peer-to-peer office hours, right? And so to me it's like engineering such adoption-helpers into the journey versus making it a reactive thing. That's a big opportunity for Customer Marketing."
  • "Also consider further layers not accessible to customer success managers (CSMs). For example, client companies are going through onboarding and adoption phase and so on with help from a CSM. No role for a CM? Not necessarily! Think about how do we get executives in our customers to engage more with our product? Because you cannot do that through a CSM, or a salesperson because a lot of those executives just won't interact, right? But if CM has a nice digital journey for client executives, or you're nurturing them content maybe from other executives, or you're showing them new tips and tricks about the product or whatever, you actually have a way to expand our reach within the customer even with leadership."
3. For the Cathedral Builders: have a vision now of how growth works in the New Normal.
For those ambitious to reach the C-suite in their careers—who know they (and their customers) have "Patrick Mahomes potential"—develop a vision of how growth is changing.
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of growth now: bought growth and earned growth.
Bought growth is employee-led through traditional silos like marketing, sales and support—each “owning” their piece of the customer journey. The top priority of bought growth is achieving business objectives. Customers have increasingly rejected that ever since they went digital two decades ago, and the 2022 Downturn has created urgency for a change.
Earned growth is customer led, executed by agile, cross-functional teams often outside of silos, and based on connecting customers with each other and prospects, through natural advocacy, referrals, peer communities and co-created products. The top priority of earned growth is customer needs and objectives, followed by business impact.
Christina Kosmowski, the former head of customer success and marketing in her ascent to CEO, is implementing powerful earned growth at LogicMonitor.
For example, Christina and her board have six company objectives this year. They use a variation of V2MOM with a twist: "We DON’T have a single owner for any of them. Which confused people at first!"
"The objectives are about helping customers as they go through their journey. That touches everything: sales, marketing, customer success…so ALL of them are the owner."
Christina then said, with great emphasis.
  • "I'll just say one other thing. A customer story/PR piece is just as important to us as getting our revenue from this. And that is also a weird thing to say <laugh>, because everyone is used to measuring things around the revenue of the initiative. And I said, I don't actually care up front [during strategic planning] about the revenue. I care about the customer feedback loops, and I care about the referenceability–the true stories of customers being these showcase accounts for us."
And we'd suggest you make that your top priority too, in the companies you decide to work for, and the companies you wind up leading.
APPENDIX. Where Our Info and Research Come From.
Bill Lee created the categories of Customer Advocacy, Customer Engagement and the metric, Return on Relationship™—the foundations of Customer Marketing and Customer-Led Growth. His Center for Customer Engagement built a global community of leading B2B firms around these concepts. He built the longest-running, most respected CX conference in the world. Bill is widely published including 20+ publications in HBR–including his seminal book The Hidden Wealth of Customers.
Jeff Ernst is co-founder of the Customer-Led Movement, a cohort of marketing and sales leaders who drive this mindset and behavior change into their organizations. His company, SlapFive, is the first Customer Marketing Software platform to drive Customer-Led Growth. A former executive at Forrester, he's appeared widely in media like Forbes CMO Network, Financial Times,, Mashable, Huffington Post, NPR and others.
Since 2020Bill and Jeff have been building the Roundtable for a Customer Revolution–an expanding consortium of titans in tech leadership. It includes CEOs, CXOs, Heads of CX, CX pros who aspire to senior leadership, and innovative vendors and thought leaders. Names include Christina, Nick Mehta, Fred Reichheld, Carol Meyers, Teresa Anania, Brent Adamson, Jake Sorofman, and more. It provides CX pros with matchless experience, advice, mentoring and more. Many of you, for example, know them from our Webinar Series.
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