Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash
Content by: JD Sherman, President and COO – HubSpot
Today, we announced that we are welcoming Yamini Rangan as HubSpot’s first-ever Chief Customer Officer. She joins us after four years at Dropbox, where she was Chief Customer Officer. Prior to that she ran global sales strategy and operations at Workday. She brings deep expertise to the role and we couldn’t be more excited to share this news.
We made the decision to create and hire for the CCO role earlier this year. Our longstanding Chief Sales Officer, Hunter Madeley, left HubSpot in July for a CEO job in his native Toronto. Instead of replacing Hunter with a sales executive, we took the opportunity to rethink our management structure and decided to hire a cross-functional Chief Customer Officer to lead the marketing, sales, and service organizations.
Ten years ago, companies used to win based on a superior product. Today, companies win and lose based on their customer experience. Buyers are vocal when dissatisfied, products are easily replicable, and trust in businesses is eroding. Delighted customers are more powerful and influential than any marketer, salesperson, or service rep could be alone.
Adapting to this new world takes more than a mindset shift — it requires a level of operationalization that can fundamentally transform how a business runs. At HubSpot, we’ve been working on making this shift since 2018, when we began the shift from a traditional funnel-based business to the concept of a “flywheel” as our organizing model.
An actual flywheel is a disc or wheel that rotates on an axis. It’s incredibly energy-efficient and can store momentum over time, if the right amount of force (acceleration) is applied and friction (deceleration) is removed. In a business context, a flywheel is a useful metaphor for a company’s growth.
Here’s how we think about it — a model where departments build on each other to create a delightful customer experience.
We like the flywheel metaphor because it has a sense of leverage and momentum, and accounts for loss of energy as well. And most importantly, it places customer experience front and center — right where it should be.
Today’s most disruptive companies align their customer-facing teams to create a more frictionless customer experience. The less friction, the faster your company will grow. By aligning these teams under a single leader, our customers’ experience will be more seamless, their outcomes will improve, and as a result we will grow better too. Because of this, we made a deliberate choice to call the role Chief Customer Officer, not Chief Revenue Officer. The CRO role often oversees the same teams a CCO would, but we feel that title doesn’t accurately represent the role’s real purpose. Growing revenue is obviously critical, but revenue by itself can’t be the end goal. If you want to grow revenue, a great customer experience and strong word-of-mouth are what will get you there — and that only comes from a role focused on the customer.
This hire is just one of the many changes we’ve made to evolve our marketing and sales funnel into a full customer experience flywheel, but it’s a critical one.
When Yamini starts in January, she will lead all teams tasked with accelerating HubSpot’s flywheel to build a playbook that reflects our focus on reducing friction for our customers. She’ll also be a key member of the Executive Leadership team and provide transformational leadership across the organization to successfully sell and deliver across our markets.
We believe Yamini is absolutely the right person to steer the ship as we enter HubSpot’s next phase of growth, for a few reasons:
1) Whenever we make a strategic hire, we look for someone with deep transferable experience they can bring to a fresh environment. Yamini is whip-smart, is a “first principles” thinker, and has a ton of cross-functional experience under her belt. Throughout the interview process, I was struck by just how much the entire company could learn from her. I also happen to like her a lot and felt trust with her throughout the interview process, and am looking forward to working closely together in the coming years.
2) Yamini’s customer-facing experience with both a lighter-touch freemium environment and an enterprise sales motion has informed her customer-centric (versus function-specific) way of looking at a business. This also happens to match our own efforts to “tilt” our go-to-market model to remove friction while delivering a great customer experience, and she will be a fantastic and empathetic ambassador to our customers, partners, and employees as we make this shift.
3) Yamini has a track record of delivering results across a diverse group of markets and sales models. At HubSpot, one of our core principles is to match the way we sell with the way consumers shop and buy. What works in one customer segment or geography doesn’t necessarily work for another, and Yamini’s experience means she’ll add a ton of perspective as we continue evolving our go-to-market globally.
Yamini’s role will be critical to building a unified, frictionless experience for our customers, and to ensure that our mission, metrics, and team are all aligned around that goal. She has “Solve for the Customer” in her DNA, and this attitude plus her global experience will help us make the right calls to grow better globally. We’re incredibly excited to welcome her to HubSpot.