Employee Spotlight: Marina de la Torre, Customer Success Leader Extraordinaire

Andrea Nelson

Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 48 seconds

FastSpring’s Employee Spotlight is a Q&A series that features the hardworking, intelligent, and fun people that make FastSpring great. Get to know the fantastic team behind the ecommerce platform!

Q: What is your role at FastSpring?

A: I’m the VP of Customer Success which means I lead customer facing teams post-sales. These teams include on-boarding, support, customer success, and affiliate marketing.

Q: Where does your Customer Success origin story begin?

A: Customer Success is an emerging role in business, and most common in SaaS (software as a service). However the concept and philosophy of making the customer as successful as possible, retaining them, and increasing CLV (customer lifetime value) is not new. I have focused on customer success since the beginning of my career when I was leading the Customer Relationship Management department in retail banking. Back then we also used a similar approach to understanding customer behavior, lifecycle, and needs.

Q: What inspired your decision to join FastSpring?

A: There were several things that inspired me to join FS in early 2017.

  1. FastSpring’s growth potential. Growth (i.e. more customers, better products and services, deeper market share, larger international expansion, increasing revenue, etc.) are always attractive business qualities for me as a CS professional. The challenges that accelerate growth for FastSpring are exciting to me: dealing with change management, expanding the customer base, developing strategies, hiring great talent, shaping the customer experience, figuring out how to scale, optimizing processes, etc.  There’s no time to get bored since there is a constant need for innovation.
  2. An experienced support team. I joined FastSpring to build the CS organization that would include an already award-winning Customer Support team.  Knowing that the company had such a talented team gave me confidence.
  3. The executive team.  During the interview process, it became clear that at FastSpring the approach to doing business was 1) very collaborative, especially between sales-marketing-customer success; 2) that the CEO is a true believer in Customer Success as a philosophy of doing business and not just as functional area; 3) that the Product and Engineering teams were looking forward to incorporating the “voice of the customer” to enhance the product roadmap.

Q: What do you love most about working directly with FastSpring’s customers?

A: I love the diversity of our customer base. Since we are an end-to-end ecommerce platform, we attract a multitude of digital businesses around the world. The broad scope of product/services offered, the business models, and the internationality is what excites me most about working with FastSpring’s clients.  It means we need to be very attuned to them and their differences, while at the same time providing them with common tools, education, and support to make them successful.

Q: What is your favorite platform tip or piece of advice for FastSpring customers?

A: I like metrics to make informed and data-driven business decisions so I always advise customers to track and measure things like conversion rates, abandoned cart rate, click-through rates, etc.  This way, they may find the root cause to a problem and apply a targeted solution, or identify what is working really well and do more of that.

Q: What are some of your high level goals for the Customer Success team this year?

A: At the macro level, CS has to meet or exceed a certain level of Installed Base Revenue. At a micro level, each area has specific goals such as engaging with most sellers in a meaningful way, shortening the time-to-value for new sellers, enhancing our knowledge base offering, and leveraging technology to scale support. The team is doing a great job so far to meet these goals this year.

Q: You were recently chosen for an Athena Alliance Aspiring Director Membership with a sponsorship from Gainsight. Can you share some information about the program?

A: Athena Alliance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing gender diversity in the boardroom by extending board networks across a range of industries and executives. Athena Alliance empowers women to contribute at their highest level of impact. In addition, Athena Alliance has a network of more than 800 C-level women, venture capitalists and CEOs from more than 100 companies.

This program really helps a prospective board member understand what it takes to move from “hands on” to the Board Room. The tools, activities, and support that Athena provides are all very practical and designed to prepare women for the journey from beginning to end.

Q: What are you looking forward to most about the program?

A: I look forward to becoming part of a network of talented women in business.

Q: What are some things executive teams should consider to improve diversity at all levels of the business?

A: The business case for diversity is unequivocal. Diversity can boost innovation and employee engagement, and research proves that companies with greater diversity financially outperform their peers.

Executive teams should assess their current workforce and determine where they lack diversity. Then, they should be mindful in their hiring and placement process to fill any diversity and gender gaps wherever possible. In addition, the Executive team should scrutinize and assess who their employer does business with and mindfully chose businesses that have diversity and gender inclusion policies and values.

Q: Outside of work, what are your favorite hobbies and activities?

A: I greatly enjoy my yoga practice during the week and playing golf on weekends. It’s also no secret that I love wine tasting, which is one of the reasons why I love the Santa Barbara area so much.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you were given?

A: Right after college I joined Citibank as part of the Management Associates Program where at the end of the cross-functional rotations program, I hoped to get at least one job offer. I got three and one of them was from the Finance department; the others from Marketing and Customer Support. My boss from the Support rotation gave me the best advice: he said to take the job in Finance—although that would mean he would lose me to his team.

He told me to hone my financial skills early on in my career, to learn how to build and manage budgets, and to feel very comfortable with numbers if I wanted to succeed in the long run. I listened to him and joined the Finance team. That decision has proven to be very valuable to my career.

Financial skills have helped me to successfully negotiate for resources, to run my areas with analytical rigor, and to identify risks and opportunities.

 

The above are just a few of the highlights.  Overall, we’re very fortunate to have Marina lead our amazing Customer Success team and look forward to watching all of the amazing things she will no doubt accomplish in the Athena Aspiring Director Membership.

Are you interested in joining Marina and our amazing team at FastSpring? We’re hiring! Visit our career page to see our open positions.

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