Krista Anderson-Copperman (Asana): What is a Chief Customer Officer?
Blake Bartlett: This episode today is a follow up to the last conversation I had with Krista Anderson- Copperman. In that episode, we went deep on a really hard question. Is your team today also the right team for tomorrow? The folks that got you here usually aren't the folks that will get you there to the next major milestone in your business. So if you're a leader who's trying to assess how future proof or at least how future ready your team is, go back and check out that episode right away. For this shorter conversation today, I ask Krista about the somewhat new and often mysterious title of Chief Customer Officer. Given her background playing this role at Okta and Salesforce she's the perfect person to demystify this new- ish role that's growing in popularity at larger software companies. So Krista, you spent 6 years at Okta as Chief Customer Officer, and then another 13, 14 years before that at Salesforce in a very similar role. So what exactly is the role of Chief Customer Officer and what makes for a good Chief Customer Officer?
Krista Anderson-Copperman: It's a really funny question because you would be surprised how many times people have actually asked me that. I'll show it when I was in an operator position and I'd show it for a customer. What is the Chief Customer Officer? I think that's why you're asking the question because it really can mean so many different things. In some companies, it means the person who is responsible for the technical support aspect of it. In some companies, it can mean the person who is responsible for all pre- sales and all post- sales efforts. So everything from sales engineering to AEs, to partners, customer success, professional services, all the way through to the renewal. So I think that's part of the challenge of the title is it is not the same anywhere you look, and the scope is very different. But really, at the heart of it, is the way that I think about it is that typically these people own the post- sales customer experience, but the functions aside, it's about somebody who is really thinking about the customer all day long every day. You have a lot of work to do, and you've got functional things to do from a renewals perspective, professional services, support, education, all of that. But the best CCOs, in the way that I think of a CCO, is somebody who is really the glue in the organization. Because if you think about organizations and how they function, usually have somebody responsible go to market, usually have somebody responsible for engineering or product, somebody responsible for finance. And none of those people really see their job as being the glue between the functions, and specifically the glue into how a customer interacts with and views the organization. Many people think of that as the job as the CEO. Well, there's this thing called the Chief Customer Officer and it's a full- time job. The CEO doesn't have the ability or the bandwidth to do that. And so, in addition to the functions that you often see, I think the best ones are the ones who can really be the glue amongst all those organizations and bring people together, and help them understand the customer point of view and customer perspective, both culturally, meaning establishing that culturally and in the values of an organization, and then how you offer it tactically day to day.
Krista was CCO at Okta for 6 years, and held a similar role at Salesforce before that. But this is a relatively new role at large software companies. What does it mean exactly? And what makes for a good CCO?