“The best part of my job is seeing how much our customers trust us,” says Brenna Zenaty, Senior Customer Success Manager (CSM) at Terminus. “We are a part of their business, and it’s our job to help make them successful.”
Brenna joined the Terminus Customer Success Team in January of 2017 and was promoted to Senior CSM in October. It’s her job to make sure our customers are happy — but even more importantly, that they’re successful.
To give you an inside peek at what it’s like to work at one of the top 10 best workplaces in Atlanta, Brenna is giving us insight into her daily schedule, her role at Terminus, and why she loves being part of the Customer Success Team.
First, let’s get to know Brenna a little bit better with some fun facts:
Educational background: English Language and Literature Major at SUNY Brockport
Dream job growing up: Marine biologist
First-ever job: Retail store employee
Favorite office snack: Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish
Years living in Atlanta: Almost 5!
So…What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?
The job title may seem self explanatory, but there’s a lot that goes into managing the success of our customers at Terminus.
Brenna explains, “The job of a CSM at a tech company is to first and foremost support our customers. The bulk of our responsibility is to ensure they feel comfortable with the Terminus product.”
It’s not just about answering their questions, though. CSMs also need to be excellent problem solvers, providing solutions to complex business challenges and foreseeing potential issues even before they arise.
“We’re account-based marketing strategy partners, acting as an extension of our customers’ marketing teams,” she says. “That includes onboarding, sharing ABM best practices, and helping them optimize their marketing campaigns.”
This means always being available to our customers, whether they have a question about the product or want to strategize a full-scale marketing program. In addition to ongoing support, Brenna and the other CSMs have regular check-in calls and quarterly business reviews with each of their customers.
“Every customer is different, so we can’t take a cookie cutter approach,” she explains. “It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding, and it’s part of why our customers are so successful.”
Karen Topham, CSM Team Manager, wholeheartedly agrees. “Brenna has such a big heart and truly cares about her customers,” she says. “She manages a large book of business but makes sure to find time for each and every customer and anticipate their needs. She is just as invested as they are in their ABM strategy and treats them like part of her own team.”
Company Culture at Terminus
It’s easy to have fun at work when you love the people you work with. “I love spending time with my team every day,” Brenna says. “Everyone here is supportive, respectful, intelligent, and innovative. Even on the hard days, it’s impossible to stay in a bad mood. Terminus is unlike anywhere I’ve ever worked.”
As Karen puts it, “It’s like going to your friend’s crazy fun family reunion! We are all very close knit and challenge each other in the best ways possible, all while working hard and having a good time doing it! And sometimes — most of the time, who am I kidding — things get weird. We have very intentionally built the team by bringing on individuals with all different backgrounds, personalities, and skill sets. This really allows us to operate optimally as a team. Each individual fills a need and promotes continuous bidirectional training! I’ve never worked with a better team.”
And of course, the CSM team knows how to balance work and play.
Brenna shares, “I love hosting parties, so in September, my husband, Mitch, and I hosted the team for a grill out at our house. Everyone got to meet Mitch and my dogs, and we had a great time chilling out and relaxing with each other outside of work.”
A Day in the Life of a Terminus CSM
What’s a typical day like as a customer success manager? Brenna breaks down her daily schedule for us here.
Alarm goes off, although I typically allow myself one or two “snoozes” before officially starting the day. 🙂
Leave the house for a 20-minute commute to the office (with traffic). I live in Chamblee, so I have a fairly painless drive to our office in Buckhead compared to some of my other teammates, but I do try to squeeze in a podcast episode and a few generous gulps of coffee on the way.
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Typically, I use this time to prep for the day/week. If it’s a Monday, I use my first hour of the morning to run through my customer list for weekly prioritization of outreach and next touches, strategic initiatives, pending action items, etc. I also take time to make sure I’m fully prepped for any calls I have that day.
I use Evernote and Trello obsessively, and sometimes I feel like I couldn’t stay organized without them! I’ve also usually finished my large travel mug of coffee by now, which keeps me fueled for the day.
9 – 11 a.m.
We have a few recurring team meetings throughout the week. On Monday, we have our Customer Success Team meeting from 10 to 11, where we run through team metrics, wins and customer stories from the previous week, internal process, product review, and customer marketing and support initiatives.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we reserve time in the morning from 9 to 10 for “War Rooming” sessions. This is a time for CS team members to come together to discuss new ideas for approaching customer questions and situations, and it’s a great opportunity for peer-led feedback and brainstorming.
On Fridays, we have a CS team training session from 9 to 10, which involves product review and training from our product and engineering team, marketing team, exec team, sales team, or ad operations team, and sessions lead by other CS team members.
11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
This is usually the time frame during which I schedule most customer calls and additional internal meetings. On average, I have anywhere from two to five calls a day with customers, some that occur on a biweekly or monthly cadence, and others that are scheduled as needed.
Regularly scheduled sync calls are a great opportunity for customers and their CSM to review campaign and program performance and areas for optimization, discuss ideas for “leveling up” on their ABM strategy, demo new product features, talk through sales and marketing alignment and recommended cadences, and whatever else is most valuable to the customer.
Somewhere in here I also eat lunch. I try my best to pack something from home but admittedly spend an embarrassing amount of money on salads from Wildleaf downstairs.
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
I wrap up the day by logging recap notes from my calls in our customer management tool, ChurnZero, creating tasks in Trello for any action items that came from my conversations, answering emails that came in throughout the day, and reviewing my schedule for tomorrow. The end of the day is also usually a great time to catch up with my teammates before we all head out for the evening.
5:30 – 10:30 p.m.
I typically decompress with another podcast episode or music on my drive home and look forward to being greeted by my loyal welcome committee — my two Boston Terriers, Frankie and Rue — when I get there.
My husband and I will take turns cooking dinner, or we succumb to the laziness of the weekday and will grab takeout from Whole Foods or Purnima Bangladeshi, a family-run Bangladeshi restaurant off of nearby Buford Highway that I HIGHLY recommend.
After dinner, I usually take time to catch up on emails while vegging out to our favorite Netflix show or whatever is on our recorded show list, but usually my husband prompts me to close my laptop after an hour or so. 🙂 While I’m a night owl by nature, I try to be in bed by 10:30 with a book to wind down and recharge for the next day!
6 Traits of a Successful Customer Success Manager
According to Brenna, a successful CSM is:
- Organized. CSMs manage a lot of customers at once, so being organized is critical, both at work and in your personal life. “Owning your calendar and your schedule is super important,” says Brenna. “Everyone on our team would bend over backwards for any customer, but it’s also important to have a balance. The Terminus culture helps with this balance, and we’re encouraged to take time for ourselves.”
- Empathetic. A big part of being a CSM is being able to empathize with your customers and treat their business challenges as your own. Sometimes, CSMs may need to have tough conversations with customers, and being able to see things from their points of view is key.
- Scrappy. Terminus is growing fast, but we’re still in scrappy startup mode, as are many of our customers. Great CSMs are willing to get creative and think outside the box to deliver top-notch marketing support to every customer, no matter their technology stack or advertising budget.
- Proactive. Our customers are busy marketers, so it’s up to our CSMs to make sure they receive proactive, consistent support. Instead of waiting for issues to arise, CSMs must be able to pinpoint potential areas of concern and address them. For example, if a campaign is underperforming, a CSM may proactively schedule a call with the customer to strategize and provide recommendations for improvement.
- Hungry to learn. B2B marketing is ever-evolving, so Terminus CSMs need to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends, as well as industry-specific needs for various customers. Of course, even the best customer success manager doesn’t know it all. Brenna puts it well when says, “It’s important to be comfortable with not always having the perfect, right answer all the time.”
- A team player. Even though each CSM manages a dedicated set of accounts, they don’t work alone. “Every one of us has each other’s backs,” Brenna says. “I can go to any one of my team members for advice whenever I need it, and I know they’ll be there to give their input and help problem solve.”
Does this sound like you? We’re looking for positive, self-starting people to join the Terminus Customer Success Team in Atlanta, and we’d love to meet you!