How ShipBob’s Customer Success Enablement Program Creates Fearless CSMs

Jen Rogers
Manager, Success Enablement

Interview Highlights:

  • Success enablement is about nurturing creative problem-solving skills and teaching managers to build value through partnerships.
  • Having dedicated enablement managers means success managers don’t have to train new hires, making them more productive.
  • A good success enablement program enables new hires to learn independently, reducing their reliance on other team members.
  • All companies with success managers should consider creating an enablement role.

I’m Jen Rogers from ShipBob. ShipBob is an e-commerce logistics company. We’re unique because we have our own tech platform that helps merchants manage orders, as well as a fulfillment service with warehouses domestically and globally. I am currently managing our success enablement program.

What is a success enablement program?

The program has a lot in common with sales enablement, in that we're trying to enable our team to do their job more efficiently and enhance their skills. Where it differs is that in sales enablement, people talk about qualifiers, objection handling, and playbooks. But in success enablement, we are building creative problem-solving skills. 

We want to teach teams to go from the more transactional type of business that you might see in a customer support role, to learning how to build value through partnerships. We're also trying to see trends about how to track account health, track growth opportunities, and enable our team to figure out how to make their merchants happy. 

How did the success enablement role come about? 

We just saw a need. I worked as a merchant success manager for about two and a half years. When it came time to move into a more senior role, we had to decide between going the manager route or becoming a senior success manager. At that time, enablement was not a thing. But as we had those conversations, we started to look at opportunities to train new team members. After that, the enablement program developed naturally.

At first I had half a book of business as well as the responsibility of training new hires. But we soon realized that success enablement is a full-time job. Now we’re a team of two, and I'm managing the team. It’s pretty cool to see how it's evolved throughout the past year.

How would you differentiate success enablement from a standard new employee training program?

Our regular HR training is more about what ShipBob does, basic operations, and the different departments. 

But when it comes to success enablement, we go through every aspect of the dashboard and our tech platform. We have a two-week program where we dive into everything employees need to know about the ShipBob dashboard, our policies, and the procedures that we have. 

The interesting thing is that two weeks doesn't even cover half of the ShipBob knowledge. So it's about taking it from that new hire training, letting them graduate, and then figuring out what kind of continual education they need from there.

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What tools and techniques do you use to help success people learn?

I don't know if this is common for enablement, but when I started, we had nothing written down. It was 100% tribal knowledge and searching Slack. So during my first year in enablement, we really focused on creating content and writing everything down. 

From there, we pivoted into figuring out what the team responded well to. After a lot of feedback, we realized they needed more video content they could follow. One of the challenges of eCommerce is there's a lot of random facts and knowledge. Something that may not apply to a team member today might be applicable in three months. It’s really important to have visual resources the team can watch in their own time when a relevant situation comes up.

What effect has the success enablement team had on the team?

It's hard to say as we don't have quantifiable numbers yet. The first year was just building, catching up, and figuring out what we had available and how to improve it. 

The biggest change is that previously, managers and team leads were taking on training for new hires. Since February 2020, we've had new hire classes every two weeks without a break. So giving managers and team leads back the time to work with their contributors and do management tasks has been huge. 

We’ve also seen that after training, team members are fearless. They’re happy to jump onto calls with new merchants right away because they have the base knowledge. But they are also not afraid to tell merchants when they need to search for an answer. Instead of relying on team members to back them up, they’re happy to jump into calls and learn things independently.

What kinds of organizations or team structures would success enablement benefit most?

It works for us because ShipBob is very complex, and there is so much to learn. Success enablement allows us to focus not only on learning the basics of the dashboard and the tech platform but also really learn about logistics. Our team needs to learn about USPS and how we deliver packages. So there's definitely a lot more we need to teach beyond the software.

But ideally, I'd say every SaaS company should have success enablement. The way I look at it is that the success team manages all of the revenue and the biggest clients. To progress the skills of these people and reduce burnout, it is important to focus on and develop them correctly so they can continue those partnerships.

How would you pitch success enablement to a VP if you had to do it again?

I would say just do it. Success managers maintain merchant relationships so the role is extremely important. Whether you're looking at how to scale partnerships or you need to build a program about how to renew contracts, every enablement program's gonna look different.

I think people really take the ability to build relationships for granted, but it's not something that always comes naturally. I think that is a huge role that enablement can play. It can teach people how to build those relationships, how to be creative problem solvers, and really just how to give that best merchant or end customer experience. 

Do you have any final thoughts, comments, or advice on the topic of success enablement?

I tell anyone looking to get into a success enablement role to not be afraid to speak up. Every company has customer success managers managing their books of business and managing the revenue. So if success enablement is not something a company has now, it's going to be something that they should look at in the future. 

You also want to make sure you’re keeping employees in their roles and allowing them to progress their careers and move up within the company. Ideally, success enablement can  impact that too.

About 
ShipBob

Founded in 2014, ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that offers simple, fast and affordable fulfillment for thousands of brands with an international fulfillment network across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. ShipBob's proprietary technology combines order and inventory management, warehouse management, predictive data and analytics, as well as optimized shipping for ecommerce companies.

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