9Dialogues Provides an Inside Look at the NinthDecimal Culture and the Amazing People Behind Its Success
In this installment of “9Dialogues”, we speak with Nick Salinas, Executive Director of Client Success, and hear his thoughts on customer service and building a team at a “lean and mean” startup.
What is your role within NinthDecimal?
As Executive Director of Client Success, my primary responsibility is to lead, support and mentor a world-class customer service team, who I consider the heart of our company. I believe in empowering my team members to make decisions that result in outstanding service for our clients and internal partners. Another objective that is always top of mind is fostering our Client Success Managers’ career growth, allowing them to follow their passion and elevate their position, whether that be on the Client Success team or even if that means joining another team within NinthDecimal.
I am also responsible for ensuring our clients receive solutions that align with their campaign goals and that relationships are retained and continue to grow. Collaborating cross-functionally and building/maintaining strong partnerships with other NinthDecimal teams, as well as recommending and implementing various processes and strategies to improve team efficiency and overall client experience are also top priorities.
Leading a large, bi-coastal Client Success team must require constant communication across all NinthDecimal offices to stay on the same page. What are your tips for teamwork and communication to ensure offices share processes, key learnings, and information at the same rate?
In Client Success, we have the advantage of getting to work closely with just about every team in the company, which is one of my favorite aspects of being part of this group. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of collaboration and cross-functional education that happens. With that said, it is still important that we are constantly challenging ourselves and proactively seeking ways to learn from others. We are fortunate to have amazing leaders across all the support teams and we make it a priority to meet regularly to ensure we’re working together towards the same goal.
As a “lean and mean” start-up, we are always looking for ways we can find creative solutions to make things happen. The veterans on the team can attest that we’ve come a long way and have accomplished a lot in terms of increasing our level of efficiency. We’re big on knowledge sharing and every Client Success Manager on the team has been assigned as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in one or more areas of expertise (from Product to Process to Data Partners and more). Each SME is responsible for working with other Team Leads and Partners to compile information and disseminate to the team. Additionally, we kicked off a Client Success & Ad Operations Exchange program last year where we join each other’s team meeting every month and share information about the day-to-day of our respective roles. These are also supplemented by a quarterly event/happy hour, which encourages team bonding. The program has been a great success!
NinthDecimal has a ton of third party data partners – from measurement to programmatic. That’s a lot to keep track of, especially when the Client Success team is expected to be experts on all of them so they can manage and recommend the best strategies for clients. How do you and your team handle that?
What we do is complex and in many ways our Client Success Managers also act as Technical Account Managers. As a result, ongoing education is imperative. We are fortunate to work with fantastic support teams who have been a great resource in ensuring we get the proper training when a new partnership or product is rolled out or updated. We also have great relationships with our Data Partners who we meet with on a regular basis for refreshes and an opportunity to walk through real-life examples to brainstorm the best strategies and client solutions. Ultimately, the Sales and Client Success partnership and brainstorming our approach to each individual campaign are the two important and effective ways to ensure our client is getting the best solution possible.
What is the most important trait you look for in a Client Success team member?
During our 2016 Sales Conference in San Francisco, one of the highlights was a guest speaker that presented on our final day, Vanessa Van Edwards. Although NinthDecimal Leaders all do a great job at considering when assessing candidates, she articulated it very well; the most effective team members strike a perfect balance of two traits: warmth and competence. This could not be more accurate when it comes to a Client Success Manager. These are the two overarching traits I look for when assessing candidates for an open spot on our team. Under the warmth and competence umbrella, we look for teammates who have a passion and commitment to world-class customer service, are thoughtful, responsive and are able anticipate our clients’ needs. The Client Success Manager acts as a trusted advisor to not only our external customers but our internal ones as well. They should also have an analytical mindset, always identifying ways to help our clients succeed while working to build trusting, collaborative relationships with partners of all levels. Additionally, a strong sense of ownership and the ability to remain calm and focused in a fast paced, deadline-driven environment are crucial traits. Ultimately, we want people on the team that our clients will love and the team will love working with.
NinthDecimal is well-known for its exceptional white glove customer service and campaign management. What do you attribute this success to?
We pride ourselves in delivering world-class customer service and our ultimate goal is our clients’ success. We strive to deliver solutions in an engaging and informed way with highly responsive communication. Our team members all take pride in having integrity and going the extra mile to ensure our clients have a great experience working with NinthDecimal. Hiring team members that exhibit the warmth and competence I referenced earlier is key, but ultimately it is a team effort. We rely heavily on our partners in Sales, AdOps, Marketing and many others to work in conjunction with us to achieve this. Our Client Success Managers are extremely dedicated to our clients and it shows. I couldn’t be prouder of our team!
What is your favorite part of working at NinthDecimal?
I get this question frequently when candidates are interviewing for a position at NinthDecimal and my answer has always been the same. It comes down to three things; the people, the culture, and the product. We have some of the smartest, most talented people in the industry and I am very fortunate to work alongside these folks and learn from them everyday. I am also grateful for a culture that encourages creativity, collaboration and grants us the ability to ask questions and make a difference. The transparency and lack of politics is refreshing and appreciated. Because we have such a talented group of people at NinthDecimal, team members are trusted to get their jobs done with minimal interference and generous flexibility. Finally, I love our product and what sets us apart in the marketplace. I have tremendous confidence in our offering and am really proud of how far we’ve come and cannot wait to continue to be a part of all of the great things ahead!