From Teaching to Tech: A Conversation with Our New Chief Customer Officer

Today we officially announced that Trish Sparks has joined Demandbase as the new Chief Customer Officer. (You can read all the details in the press release here.) As part of her role, Trish will lead the customer success team, scale customer growth and build long-lasting relationships with Demandbase customers.

We recently sat down with Trish to talk about why she joined Demandbase, her B2B experience and what’s in store for customer success at Demandbase. Here’s what she had to say:

You’ve worked at a lot of great technology companies, including LinkedIn. Why Demandbase?
I have been following Demandbase over the years and have always been impressed with their company culture and commitment to innovation. This is a very exciting time in the ABM space and I think Demandbase is perfectly positioned to deliver what B2B marketers have been seeking: a comprehensive suite of ABM solutions and an exceptional customer experience.

What excites you most about Demandbase?
There are so many things that thrill me about joining the Demandbase family, including offering innovative ABM solutions to the market and working with an amazing team. But what thrills me the most is the opportunity to optimize the Demandbase customer experience.

What interests/excites you most about the B2B Marketing industry?
I love that the B2B Marketing industry is rapidly evolving. The market is more educated and energized to implement effective ABM strategies than ever before. I thrive in a challenging, fast-paced environment and that is exactly where we are as an industry. I am thrilled to be at Demandbase as we lead the industry through the next phase of evolution in the ABM space.

As the new Chief Customer Officer, what are your goals for the first few months?
First and foremost, I will spend time and build relationships with my team members and our Demandbase customers. I want to know more about them, what is going well and what they would like to see change. I will listen and learn. Hearing the voices of our employees and our customers will be critical in determining the future vision and strategy for the Demandbase customer organization.

Where did you start your career?
My first job after college was as a public school teacher in a rural area of North Carolina. Some would say that my current role as a CCO at a San Francisco tech company couldn’t be more different from that first role. However, the two primary aspects I loved about my first job are exactly the same as what I love about this one: service and leadership. I enjoy serving others to help them achieve success and people leadership is a passion. Whether it is in the classroom or the boardroom, I thrive on investing in people in an effort to realize their vision of success.

Do you have a most rewarding customer success experience?
As a consumer, one of my most memorable customer experiences was with Zappos about 10 years ago. I will never forget it because I had waited until the last minute to order my daughter’s shoes for a family wedding. It was the first time I had ever used Zappos and the shoes arrived overnight as promised but it was a different pair of shoes than what I had ordered. Fortunately, the pair that arrived was the right size, and I liked them more than the shoes I had originally ordered. When I called Zappos to explain the mistake and that I would like to keep the nicer, higher priced shoes they apologized sincerely and gave me a refund for the original purchase, while also insisting that I keep the lovely new pair of shoes that I had received. Since that time, I have been a loyal Zappos customer, spending thousands of dollars with them over the last decade. As it turns out, doing the right thing by the customer is also the right thing for the business. The mission of Zappos is to “provide the best customer service possible. Deliver WOW through service.” I want our Demandbase customers to feel that same sense of loyalty and satisfaction. It will be my job to make sure that happens.

What advice would you give to other customer success professionals?
The advice I would give to other customer success leaders is to hire the right talent and invest in them, while demanding excellence and leading with compassion. If you hire the right people with a passion for serving others, they will take care of your customers.

If you’re interested in learning more about Trish and her background, drop her a line on Twitter.