Committing to Customers: Q&A with Shrilata Ganna, Delinea’s SVP of Customer Success and Professional Services
We caught up with Delinea’s Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Professional Services to learn about how she coaches her teams and how she thinks about Delinea’s commitment to making customers the heroes of their PAM journey.
1. You manage two different teams at Delinea—customer success and professional services. What’s the difference in their approach?
Every Delinea customer has Customer Success by their side. Customer Success is a constant that stays through the customer lifecycle. We inherit the relationship from the point of sale and partner with customers to help them achieve their business outcomes. We advocate for their needs with the rest of the internal Delinea team. Customer Success is proactive with an emphasis on building lasting relationships with our customers.
Professional Services aren't required for every customer, but we’re here if you need us. It’s a team of subject matter experts that deliver services to our customers. These are usually paid engagements. It can be a one-time service such as onboarding or ongoing services such as health checks, resident engineers, staff augmentations, and training.
While the roles are different, both Customer Success and Professional Services are responsible for getting our customers off to a good start and ensuring they stay that way.
2 . What are the goals of your team? How do you know if you’re doing a good job?
Product adoption is very core to our mission and the single most important goal for us as an organization. That includes license utilization—is everyone who can use the product doing so? We know that security is of the utmost importance to our customers, and so want to be sure that they are using the product, and moving along in their PAM journey to constantly strengthen that security posture.
Customers’ goals are slightly different—so is the way they measure success
Speed is the game. Along with product adoption, “Time to First Value” is also a critical metric. We want our customers to deploy our solutions as quickly as possible and we help them achieve their business outcomes and ROI.
All customers’ goals are slightly different and the way they measure success is also different. Depending on the product, we look to establish an MVP (minimum viable product, or quick wins) that starts creating value. For some customers that might be starting by controlling local admin accounts or using AD bridging to join their directories. From there, they can move on to domain accounts, service accounts, and more.
3. Which parts of the customer lifecycle require the most support from your team?
Onboarding is the phase that’s most critical. Customers should achieve value in a timely manner, as soon as possible after they deploy. It’s at that time people are most excited. What we do at that point sets the tone for the ongoing relationship the customer has with the product and the company. When we do a good job and show results, they gain confidence and that opens the door for growth and expansion conversations.
4. Is there a particular methodology or philosophy you follow?
It’s never “us versus them”—you can't go into a call defensive
I’ve been in customer service in different capacities for 20 years and I work hard to look at things from a customer perspective, to step into their shoes. My job and the job of my teams is to make our customers look good. Customers call with a problem and are sometimes upset. A problem that is escalated may come to me. The way I coach my teams is that it’s never “us versus them.” You can’t go into a call defensive because then you stop listening. We may not always have the answer right away, but that’s ok. We listen, we set a time to come back, and we make good on that promise.
5. How do you share the feedback you hear from customers?
I definitely consider myself an advocate for customers and my team as the customer’s voice. All feedback received is shared with the internal stakeholders. We partner very well with our product team and make sure the product owners hear the feedback we hear. That’s part of maintaining trust with our customers and our internal partners.
6. Over the time you’ve worked for Delinea and Centrify before that, how have you seen customer needs change?
The pandemic has definitely accelerated cybercrimes and the average cost of a data breach. Cybersecurity has become a necessity for companies, big or small. Companies moving to a hybrid model for employees also increases the need to invest in cybersecurity solutions for work-from-home setups. With this shift, we’re seeing an increased demand in the market for our solutions.
The shift to SaaS has had a big impact on how we align our resources to our customers’ needs. On one hand, SaaS is easier from a technical support perspective. It’s easier to configure and deploy. Therefore, it puts more emphasis on outcomes and value. We know that customers are in the drivers’ seat and that makes it more important to keep a pulse on their needs and our operations. In the cloud, a small issue can become a crisis in no time. So, communication is vital, through the status page, through all our channels.
7. What types of channels do you use to communicate with customers?
The Secret Society customer hub is a wealth of knowledge. There, customers can learn, network with others, have discussions, and be the first to know about product updates. It’s gamified, so you can earn points and badges as you participate.
Customers are excited and curious about the roadmap and we give them insight into the future. Every quarter, and sometimes more frequently, we publish “shorts,”—short videos that show what improvements are coming in the platform so customers can start using them right away. In addition, we also publish short videos on troubleshooting or other technical recommendations. Our customers love these shorts. It's the most popular asset on our customer hub.
8. How do you think the company culture of Delinea is reflected in the work that you do?
Our culture is based on values of trust and ownership. I see that in every interaction across the company, whether it’s customer success, professional services, product, finance, marketing, etc. People are respectful and they’re empowered to make decisions that are best for our customers. That comes from the top down. We have a CEO that understands the value of customer success and how it can be a catalyst for growth.
9. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Recently our support team won the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award for Excellence in Customer Service. That was a thrill and recognized the hard work of a team that is behind the scenes.
I’m also incredibly proud of the feedback we’re received via Gartner Peer Insights reviews. Some people share their experiences with professional services, like the senior security engineer who said, “At every step of the way, from POC to deployment, they have been an active partner and helped us navigate a potentially bumpy process and made it really smooth." And, the solutions architect who worked with professional services to deploy a production-ready instance of Secret Server Cloud in less than a week.
Now that the Centrify and Thycotic teams are together as Delinea, we’re bringing our technologies together, and we’re setting new goals. We’re constantly listening to customers and taking action to make their lives easier and help them become the heroes we know they can be.