Name: Brittany Milbourne
Role: Customer Success Manager
Location: Dallas, TX
Remote or Hybrid: Fully Remote
Question: Tell us a little about your background and experience.
Brittany: I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and spent 8 years in Product Development and Brand Management in the beauty and fashion industries. After a successful career in that field, I decided that I wanted to try something new and make an impact in a different industry.
I made a career pivot into tech, and Customer Success specifically, when I obtained a role as a Scaled CSM at Clockwise, an AI-powered calendar management software company in March 2022.
I was their 4th hire on the Customer Success team and hit the ground running. After several months, I had created a role for myself of Growth CSM in addition to creating a new customer segmentation and was promoted in December of that year. In May, I was nominated for Customer Success Excellence’s Customer Success Rising Star Award.
Question: How did you get introduced to the CSM role and what made you want to switch?
Brittany: When I decided that I wanted to transition into tech, I really had no idea what types of jobs were available. I started teaching myself how to code, but I wasn’t fully committed to learning a completely new skill and starting over and I kept thinking there had to be other roles that would be a better fit for me than software engineer.
I started researching the different types of roles available, and discovered Customer Success. My partner was also making the switch from Sales to Customer Success, so he was a great resource for me.
The role of Customer Success was most aligned with what I did on a daily basis as a Brand Manager at the time (lots of cross-functional collaboration, frequent meetings with vendors, presenting) so I decided to pursue that career path.
Question: What helped you in preparing for this transition?
Brittany: I started following thought leaders within the industry on LinkedIn, attended webinars, listened to podcasts, and joined several communities including Success in Black, Gain Grow Retain, Thrive Network, etc. Putting in the work to learn this new industry and familiarizing myself with the jargon was really helpful for my transition.
Question: What did you learn from the interview process?
Brittany: There are many different avenues you can pursue in CS. You can be a Scaled, Mid-Market, or Strategic/Enterprise CSM. You can work in CS Ops or enter a people management track. You can work at a start-up (and there are different stages of a start-up) or a mid-large corporation. You can also work in CS in so many different industries within tech (FinTech, MarTech, etc) the opportunities are endless.
Question: How did you showcase your transferable skills?
Brittany: One thing I do every time I am interviewing is print out a fresh copy of my resume, and print out a copy of the job role. Then I go line by line of the new job role and I write notes on what I have done in my current or previous roles that showcase my transferable skills.
Question: Are you working with a mentor?
Brittany: I have completed the Catalyst Coaching Corner twice now, which is a 3-month mentorship program that pairs experienced post-sales leaders with mentees for 1:1 mentorship. I also have “unofficial” mentors that I look to for advice on a regular basis.
Question: What are some of your upcoming professional and personal goals?
Brittany: I hope to grow into a leadership position. I really enjoy mentoring others and being a resource.
As a Black woman in tech, I think visibility is important. If I can rise the ranks within my field, I can show others that it is possible.
Question: What is your advice for other CSMs who are looking to transition?
Brittany: I would advise anyone looking to transition into CS to do your research-learn as much as possible (listen to podcasts, follow thought leaders on LinkedIn, watch webinars) and have informational interviews with people who are currently CSMs. Talking with people who are in CS will help you determine whether you will enjoy the daily responsibilites of the role, but I would keep in mind that CS can look very different company by company.
Question: Looking back, is there anything that you wish you knew before you started the process?
Brittany: I would have done more research around compensation, especially around equity and variable compensation. Coming from larger, public corporations I was not familiar with this form of compensation so it took a little bit of time to fully understand the types of packages that companies may offer for a CS role. I think it’s important to be well educated going into salary negotiations so you can properly advocate for yourself.
Question: Anything else that you would like to add?
Brittany: If you’re someone who is interested in transitioning into CS, you can do it! Don’t give up and don’t focus on what you don’t know, focus on what you have done and how all of your experience and knowledge can be impactful in the role that you’re trying to obtain.
The community of CS professionals is really warm and welcoming, so don’t hesitate to network, make connections, or even ask for help.
Excellent advice, Brittany! Thanks for sharing your journey and kudos on all of your accomplishments thus far. Cheers to your continued success!
You can learn more about the CSM role here. To learn the steps to make your career switch, read about the CSM Career Path and Progression or grab a copy of Success in SaaS: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Landing Your Dream Job as a Customer Success Manager in Tech.