In this episode, we sit down with Jack Choppin. Jack is the head of Client Success at Go Proposal. Jack has recently been on a proactive effort to expand his professional network. He has been doing it not to find a new job, but to grow as a professional, expand his insights and skills, and connect with others so they can mutually grow from their shared connections.
In this episode of The Jasons Take on, Jack will be sharing his insights about what it is like to network in the customer success community, how to do it effectively, and how to use your network to grow your skills as a customer success professional.
Scroll Down for Episode Transcript
Meet Our Guest
Head of Client Success at GoProposal
Jack heads up the Client Success team at GoProposal, A Pricing, proposal, and engagement letter software that enables accountants and bookkeepers to price consistently, sell more confidently and minimize risk across the entire firm.
Jack started life out in Account Management before joining James Ashford as he set up GoProposal. From being the sole employee Jack has been able to shape the Client Success offering at the business since day one.
The Jasons Take On is Sponsored by Success Chain!
Success Chain provides the tools, services, and support you need to build your change management, user adoption, and customer success capacity. You achieve greater results faster, more effectively, and cheaper than you can working on your own.
Join our mailing list to get regular updates about all things related to customer success.
We share a weekly digest of the latest articles, publications, and events of interest to the customer success community.
Don’t miss out – subscriber today!
Jason Whitehead: [00:00:00] Welcome everyone. To another episode of the Jason’s take on podcast. I’m Jason Whitehead and I’m based in Washington DC here with Jason Noble over in the UK.
Jason Noble: [00:00:09] Good morning. Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to another episode. We’re really excited for this one. We’ve got another excellent guest.
So we’re really looking forward to this one.
Jason Whitehead: [00:00:16] Yep, absolutely. So today we’re excited to have Jack chopping here with us in this episode is going to be a little bit different. We’re excited about it. Jack is the head of client success at gold proposal. And he’s recently been on a proactive effort to is expand his professional network.
And he’s been doing it not to find a job, which I think is great to really grow as a professional and expand his insights and skills and connect with others so that they can mutually grow from their own shared connections. So in this episode, Jack would be sharing his insights about what it’s like to, to network and the customer success community, how to do it effectively and how to use your network to grow your skills as a customer success professional.
So really excited to have Jack here. Jack, before we get started, why don’t you just take a second here to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and your organization and how you got on this journey.
Jack Choppin: [00:01:02] Yeah, absolutely. As you say, I’m the head of client success at gate proposal?
So go proposal is a pricing proposal and engagement letter software. That’s all about enabling accountants and bookkeepers to really price consistently to sell more confidently to their clients and their prospects, but also to minimize risks across the firm as well. It’s all about that whole compliance and pricing piece for accountants and bookkeepers.
Now, I suppose my background starts back when I left university, I was initially wanting to go into marketing. So I started out as a marketing assistant and then. Got into a role, a graduate role in an account management firms. So I’m sorry, an account management role within direct marketing. So I moved from Leeds in England, down to the South of England near Cheltenham.
And the aim and the longterm goal was always to be closer to family. I’m from the North. I’m from Doncaster. Originally. I, my partner she’s from Manchester, so we always wanted to be in the North and the, around our family. And it just so happened that a close friend of mine knew someone who was setting up a new business in Manchester, a business called go proposal and.
This guy was looking for someone who could work with his clients and train them in how to use a software. Like when I say clients who was about 30 people back then, and very early days of go proposal and it’s from there, I got introduced to James Ashford, the founder of the system. Straight away. I knew this guy was great.
Someone I want to work with someone I could really get behind. Took the job offer as soon as I could and started working with James and with the goat proposal clients building out and the training and helping those guys get set up and from there we’ve been able to build out a success team.
I’ve been lucky enough to be a big part of shaping that client success team. And we’re all, we’re where we are today.
Jason Whitehead: [00:03:09] Fantastic. When we first connected knows, because you’d intentionally set out to expand your network customer success. And, what inspired me is that you are now to build your network, like so many people do just to help get a new job. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to go on this networking journey and when you potentially to like growing your network?
Jack Choppin: [00:03:24] Yeah absolutely. I think, the first thing to say is that, getting a job and having a big profile online are really important, by products of that process. I don’t want to knock those. And I think you should be thinking about how they can be part of what you do when you’re building your network.
Absolutely. But I think. At the center of networking and why they should do it should be essentially your passion. Why you care about your work and finding out more about that work really, and being genuinely curious in what other people are doing in the industry that you want to get into.
So my sort of initial reasons for getting involved with this started with a conversation with one of my best friends now Not only he’s my best friend, but he’s also someone who I look up to a lot. He’s someone who’s got thousands of followers across different networks. He’s a senior leader in the product design world.
And we were talking about careers and how how you grow and, your profile and what we were doing at work. And he just said, this client success stuff, this is something that you’re really into and you, this is something that’s going to be for you. Long-term and you’re really passionate about it.
And. It got me thinking about the idea that he saw this passion and meaning he saw a change in what I’d been doing previously. And we got talking about the concept of networking and why you should network and what you can do with a solid network. So my initial central goal was just to get close to this community of people that were working in something that I loved, but I realized I wasn’t really.
No particularly close to this community. I didn’t know the big players in the community. I didn’t know what the latest things were that were coming out. And I was a little bit isolated from everything that was going on. So my main goal really was to get in with the crowd of people that knew what was going on that knew client success and get involved with people I could learn from and hopefully, and educate, and then give something back as well into that community.
Jason Noble: [00:05:28] Do you think you’ve have you achieved that? And how has that achievement been? Has it been something that happened very organically after this first few conversations? Because it is, I think it is such a broad community with people globally. I We’re both in different constants.
We’ve both spoken to separately. Yeah. But it’s something that you can. I think you can sometimes get frustrated cause it could be quite slow. But then at the same time, if you start the right level of conversations, it could go really quickly and you could see benefits and outcomes yourself coming back really quickly.
Jack Choppin: [00:06:00] Yeah, absolutely. I think for me, I saw the benefits straight away I probably started Six months ago, something like that. Now, initially just connecting with people, having a look at what was going on and taking part in, in conversations. But as soon as I started doing sort of things and I start realized that.
This is something that can actually happen really quickly and you can start getting those results back really quickly just because of the way people are on the network. And, know, you guys have been fantastic, very open and very happy to have conversations. So getting involved was actually very easy when I started actually doing things properly and with a real drive behind it.
Jason Whitehead: [00:06:42] That’s great. And I think with the customer success community in particular, that everyone is very welcomed, open and looking to learn. And in the professional itself is changing so much and so rapidly that people want to stay abreast of what’s the latest information. And I think there’s a gift to get mentality.
You don’t find it necessary.
Jason Noble: [00:07:01] I think it’s something that we’ve said before Jason, about
Jason Whitehead: [00:07:05] other industries, it’s
Jason Noble: [00:07:06] signal’s a bit choppy with you there, Jason.
Jason Whitehead: [00:07:10] Yeah, I think you broke up a second.
Jason Noble: [00:07:12] Yeah, we’re just saying I think it is something that’s inherent about what we’re trying to do.
It’s about success and it’s success of other people, both customers and the community is just such really good place to be in. How would you Jack based on kind of your experience, what’s the best way to start networking. I love the way that you talked about being genuinely curious. And I think that’s something that, that again is part of who we are in customer success.
We want to understand things better, how do would you, what are the sort of pointers and tips to how you go about getting those initial introductions? Do you focus on a specific item, a specific problem?
Jack Choppin: [00:07:48] Yeah, I think. For me, that’s really important. I know. I think with both of you guys, actually, I didn’t follow that rule.
I think I just reached out and said, I know he’s fought. You guys are doing, you’re doing a lot of great work in the community and I’d love to connect. So I didn’t follow that rule there, but for the majority of the sort of networking I’ve done, it’s been very important to have a specific problem or a specific area you want to explore.
And I always remember, this is a while back now, but Tim Ferriss today, but. A podcast. It was just him like one of those ones where it’s just him talking through questions. One of the things that someone asked was how do you go out and get a mentor? And the first thing he said was once you found the people that you respect and you want to speak to, don’t just say be, can you be my mentor?
You’ve got to start engaging with them on a conversation that they care about, that they’ve got a response to and that they can offer value to. And I think that’s very similar when it comes to network. And if you can start with something. The light someones fire, and he’s very specific to something you’re trying to do then.
Instantly you get value from that connection. If they’re willing to talk to you and they get to talk about something they love and they care about that, the issue with going, I’d love to connect and be part of your network is that is very hard to get momentum moving forward that I can imagine if someone.
Came to either of you guys with a very specific problem around, health scores or whatever it was. You’d be very Oprah and probably very energetic when it came to talking to them, wants to talk about that issue. So I think when you focus your attention on certain areas, then you get the best of the people coming back at you.
And the momentum just gets built much quicker.
Jason Whitehead: [00:09:32] Yeah, absolutely. And me, people reach out to us quite frequently. I still reach out to a lot of other professionals, see, Oh, you’re in customer success and you’ve got this unique focus or this need background because you’re very curious. I would love to learn more. Can we get be up front claimant conversation?
And it’s just definitely easier when you’re asking them about something to start a conversation, at least in this for me. I’m curious. So can you say, I speak to a lot of people about work. Can you speak, especially people, either junior in their career or trying to break into the cost, hesitant to reach out them, whether it’s on LinkedIn or, back when we used to have in-person networking, if anyone remembers those days it’s, or even getting an email introduction.
What advice do you have for people that might be hesitant to, to build their network or who are afraid of doing it or just uncomfortable? How would you help them forward?
Jack Choppin: [00:10:21] Yeah. And I think it’s really important to address that, it’s not something that people are always going to enjoy doing.
But I think as human beings, putting yourself forward for what, may feel like a potential trip or stumble or making yourself look like an India is something that people don’t like doing. So I think it’s very important to over come that first. Being willing to be the new guy in the room, be there, the person who may not necessarily know the most and may put themselves out there to get shot down is really important.
But then. On the flip side of that, I think it’s really important to assume the best in people like you guys have said that client success community is fantastic. It’s a group of people that and willing to share everything that they do. They’re willing to share specific documents they’ve built, even, they get very specific with the elements that are willing to pass out that.
So I think you should assume the best in people and that people do want to help and do want to talk to you and be part of this conversation. Now I had a recent experience with this, where I reached out to someone who was a part of a sister company of ours. They’re a partner of ours. We work with them, not sister company, but someone we work with and we’ve got a partnership with, and I’m feeling very, nervous about reaching out to this individual with this problem that I wanted to talk to them about.
And. After getting over that and just connecting and thinking. Okay. I’m going to send this through. I don’t care. What happens if they tell me to F off or that’s fine.
Very friendly. Came back to me. Fantastic guy. Offered some great insight into the challenge I was trying to solve. And off the back of that conversation, that he’s now a regular mentor of mine. Someone I connect with on a monthly basis, just to talk about what’s going on in the business and yeah.
Someone who really understands the growth pains that we’re going through right now. So just by getting over that initial fear of reaching out, I was able to create a great connection with someone who’s offered me a lot of value over the last few months.
Jason Noble: [00:12:30] I think that’s so important. Isn’t it? It’s how do you take those?
Cause we all get these connections. I have LinkedIn. And I might, my view is, you accept 99% of them. There are some that are absolutely just trying to pitch and you can see that there’s also ones that it’s not clear, but when you connect to them, they then try and pitch straight away. And that clearly isn’t about a genuine relationship, but how do you.
What was the best way that you found some tips that you found Jack of how you expand what might be a more generic connection into a true connection that helps both of us. How do you turn it into something that helps both of us grow in our professions and our businesses and really help something that’s quite unique about how we network with customer success professionals to make it more than just a name and a number.
Jack Choppin: [00:13:13] Yeah, absolutely. And that’s really important. It’s actually can be really hard to do. And I think, yeah. One of the first things I found is important around this is to kick yourself harder and surround yourself with the right people. We’ve mentioned like success chain and things like that.
They’re the networks of people that are going to be in very similar situations to you. Some will be further along the journey of the new some will be, starting out in the journey as well. By being part of these communities and being very specific with the conversations you take part in the things that you post.
I think that’s when you can get to the point where it’s not just, a general comment or a generic connection, you can reach out to someone and get some very specific help. And then if you’re in these communities at some point, that will be that person there who. May not know as much about something that you know a lot about and they can then get that help from you and they can talk to you about things.
So I think being part of these communities, you’re very lucky. I think within client success to have so many of these very specific communities out there that we can take part in by being very genuine in these communities, by offering and contributing towards them. I think we’re really able to create true connections on a level.
That’s not just. General online connection. And one of the things I’ve done to try and make things not. So generally when I’ve been reaching out to people is even like sending recorded videos of myself. Some have been more successful than others, very specific messages where I’ve reached out to individual told them how much I enjoyed that appearance on a podcast or a blog post they’ve done recently.
And I think just like human connection means that we can get past that. Generic feeling that we can often have with these connections.
Jason Whitehead: [00:14:59] Yeah. I love what you just said about sending those videos or even just a short note. Cause I know, when you’re doing things, even like our podcast or when you’re writing an article or sharing some thoughts, you’re putting yourself out there a little bit in shit and you’re trying to add value, but sometimes you’re good.
feel a little bit vulnerable that inspired me. I think that encourages a lot of people there to keep going, and I think there’s also the challenge with networking is that at least for, in my situation, you get very busy and everyone gets busy at different points in time and may get a lot of requests at the same time.
And it’s I would love to reach out. We’d love to have a conversation with everyone, but I could spend my entire day and we can work them. I do that. So it can be tough to draw that balance. And yet you don’t want to reject someone who’s sincerely reaching out to you in a nice space. And so it’s always that tough balance.
I think so. Yeah.
Jack Choppin: [00:15:49] Yeah, definitely. I definitely
Jason Whitehead: [00:15:52] like what you’re saying though, about the, send a note in the video.
Jack Choppin: [00:15:55] I, I think like on top of that as well is. To be in the right sort of communities on LinkedIn. One of the things I’ve noticed more and more just by connecting with. Industry leaders and all the people who are on the same level as me is that now when I do log into LinkedIn, when I’ve got time, when I have them, I’m going to look at what’s going on and I’m browsing through.
There’s just more conversations I can be part of. There’s just things that I can contribute to. I can say, Oh yeah, I like that. But have you thought about this? And then other people see me contributing to that conversation? I think it’s just much easier when you’ve got that right network around you.
Jason Noble: [00:16:29] How do you Jack out what you’ve done with your networking? How have you found. The number of communities out there. Cause that is something that is growing. And one of the big challenges is knowing where to spend your time and where you’ve got in LinkedIn a, is a good one. There’s all the other standard social media ones, but you’ve also got other more customer success, specific ones.
Where, how do you find the best way to balance your time between them?
Jack Choppin: [00:16:54] Yeah, that’s that’s really important. I think. One of the things I’ve been guilty of and something that I want to be better at when you talked about these specific communities is just going in there when I need something.
I think I’m guilty from time to time and just going into these communities, when I think are, I want to find out what people are saying about NPS scores. I want to understand how other people use our sentiment, score, whatever that’s going to be. Rather than Offering other things in there as well.
So one of the things that I think can really help, I hope reach to set aside specific time to. Go in those communities and look at threads that you can contribute towards as well. So not just going in there when you need something or there’s something that you want to ask about, but also putting aside specific time to then go in and see if you can offer something from yourself.
And I’m very, I think, guilty at the minute of not contribute in that as much as I should. And I would love to do that a lot.
Jason Whitehead: [00:17:47] Yeah. I like that. And I know when ever I’m going to a conference or even a meetup or a virtual conference. I always block off time the day after two days after dinner to do my followup and to make sure I’m meeting folks, even if it is just a short note.
Cause otherwise it falls by the wayside and unintentionally Oh wow, that was six weeks ago. How did that happen? So
Jason Noble: [00:18:08] yeah, it is so important to do that. Isn’t it? I think you’ve got to networking. Doesn’t just happen. It is an investment of time and you’ve got to do it the right way and it requires you to do the right thing and to build those genuine connections.
Jason Whitehead: [00:18:21] And I think you mentioned that point too, is that a lot of people come into networking. Some truly enjoyed, you have the extroverts of the world and the people that are really into the subject matter and spend a lot of time here. They get a buzz out of it, so it’s easy for them.
And I think you get other people that it is that chore or, whatever their blockage may be. And I view it, less than a metric, what is your return on networking and build a network on that and get to build your network before.
Jason Noble: [00:18:45] It is about building your network.
Jason Whitehead: [00:18:52] And you need to it’s too late. It’s not there then. It’s true. This is a professional endeavor that we’re doing this to grow in our careers, whether it’s to find the next job or whether to upscale ourselves, it’s absolutely appropriate to call on your network. When you have a challenge, I wouldn’t try and run with it.
So I think getting that balance right is really important and people should be very open about it. Yes, I’m networking to grow in my career and this is what it is. And just be happy with that. You make a frame for us. Why wouldn’t you put the same time
Jason Noble: [00:19:17] networking? Definitely. Jay what would you give us some of your recommendations for how people in customer success, client success can build up relationships and communities with people and an effective network with people outside of customer success.
So other professions, people like sales leaders, like marketing leaders, what are some of the ways that we can do that, or even with kind of effective networking with?
Jack Choppin: [00:19:41] Yeah, definitely. I think there’s a couple of different things and I’ve done two. To try and avoid being, in this one specific lane.
Should you say in terms of just client success, obviously, like you say, it’s a lot of power there when it comes to networking with customers and other leaders outside of the specific industry that you’re in now. Is it something that we do at go proposal, which is that as part of our processes, we connect with all new customers on LinkedIn and Twitter and things like that.
That’s just something that we have built into what happens when someone comes to the door and when they get onboarded. So what that means is when we start developing content or releasing new. Features, for example that have gone from Gail proposal, we know that we’ve got a network of people that they’re our customers, and that will see that and can be part of our conversation as well.
And I think it comes back to. W when we’re not to our customers, we’re talking about leaders. I think it comes back to the idea of having a specific problem and reaching out to the right people. I was recently having a conversation with someone around objection handling and how you can close diesel deals, sorry, a little bit better.
And that is something that our team is heavily involved with, but I think we’ll be seen. Quite specifically as a sales aspect. And, some people may separate out from client success and put just from having that conversation. And they said, Oh, you should see this model that a guy called Gavin from fluidly has got, you should check this out.
And I reached out to him. He. Then spoke to me and we were able to set up a training session for the team where he was taking us through all this content showing was how the sort of the sales process would work in his eyes, which was fantastic. The guy knows so much and he’s really is a top and sort of sales experts.
So it was fantastic to have that in the team. And the final thing is. The content that you push out that doesn’t have to be client success specific. It can be about your expertise, but you can make it more, wider reaching. I did a blog post recently on health score, and it wasn’t about how you implant a really complicated health score or how you use.
Algorithms or complex data to build the greatest health score. And because I’m not an expert in that, and I wouldn’t be able to do a good blog post on it, but it was about how people who don’t have the resources yet to do that, but want to be closer to the health of their customers, how they can start taking little steps to do that.
And that’s great for. Smaller accountants. He practices I work with because they don’t have the resource to build complex data models that will look at what the health score of that client says, but they do care about how well the relationships are go in. So it’s nice to sometime to repurpose that and think about the wider picture when you’re talking about the elements of client success.
Jason Whitehead: [00:22:37] Yeah, definitely. And, I think even to that point, too, some people hesitate to show too much of their own life or their own personality. In their blog posts in their video person when someone does, especially the customer success defeating, I think it really shout side. And I think being willing to be a little bit open or vulnerable out there with the community, you get such great dividends.
And so many people are supportive, especially in customer success for all that. I would encourage people to not feel that they always need to focus just on some great content idea and share a little bit more. No mom was really nervous in this client situation, but I did things like that.
Jason Noble: [00:23:14] Okay. I think that’s something that’s changed over the last.
Maybe there’s an impact of pandemic and people being remote and wanting that better engagement. But I think you’ve seen a lot more people just open up about a lot more things and it’s really encouraging to see. And I think it’s something that we’ll see. Continue.
Jack Choppin: [00:23:32] Absolutely.
Jason Whitehead: [00:23:35] Yep. It lends itself quickly to that trust factor and feeling like you get to know somebody before you’ve met them.
Is this someone I would want to have him want to share? So I think it’s a great subject to wind this out a little bit. Then what challenges or mistakes have you made during your networks in journey and any recommendations that you would share? People try to avoid these things. Cause it’s always a learning curve for all of us and we’ve all made our
Jack Choppin: [00:23:58] mistakes.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s nice what you guys just said that, because I think that will be one of the first mistakes I made was just not being. Authentic to me as an individual and put posts out there that people like you who wrote that does not use written that post. It was like, yeah, no, that wasn’t me.
I was trying to be this personnel. I wasn’t just being Jack. So I think, some of them, the best post I’ve seen out that are just people being raw, being authentic and just doing. And what they do best being themselves in a way that you can connect with. So I would always avoid being too sanitized or maybe overthinking, how you want to be perceived.
I think overthinking doing the big thing as well. When it comes to generating content or pushing posts out there, I know we’ve recently done a challenge in the business to get everybody posting. So people from the. They had developer right through to, and the people that work in operations to start them post on LinkedIn, which is our sort of main platform.
And it’s amazing how much people overthink, just a really simple post on LinkedIn. They’ll spend a couple of hours, in a couple of paragraphs going back, having it in draft and not sending any, it’s just one of those things where you just got to hit, go get it out there and see how it works and learn and develop and change your style from them.
Yep. And another thing I’ve seen quite a lot is, and I’ve done as well as giving up quite easily or getting disheartened quite easily. I think, we mentioned that the video content, the thing, the first one I did, I applied there and I was quite nervous about it and I post it and send it to someone and didn’t get a response and I know that sort of senior, but they.
Ignored it and didn’t get back to me and, I’ve got that knot in my stomach of embarrassment as to what am I doing here? Let’s, delete LinkedIn and never profile network again. But I did it again and it worked and then, other times started doing it and started getting some momentum.
So I think. Just cracking on with these things and not just assume because it didn’t work once. It’s not going to work again, obviously be aware if that approach doesn’t work, but don’t let that sort of knot of anxiety in your stomach, slow you down or stop you. Yeah. And I think something else is one thing that I need to work on.
As I mentioned earlier is just not showing gratitude and not passing it forward. I think it’s really important if you’re going to be effective at networking, to be grateful for all the amazing help that people offer and to do whatever you can to pass that forward as
Jason Noble: [00:26:35] well. I think that gratitude is something that’s very important.
I, for me, it’s a bread and butter, just part of growing up, manners. Thank you. They go a long way. And I think particularly where people are helping you and it is it’s easy to do, but I think it does. It’s an acknowledgement and it goes a long way. And I think it’s the same with customers as well.
Something like that’s really important to do. Yeah one thing we always like to do, Jackie has been great having you on here. And this is I love these kind of topics cause they’re not just about customer success. It’s a much broader, soft topic that a lot of people don’t talk about sometimes.
So it’s really cool to start doing this. And I we always do at the end of our podcast is ask one of these bold challenge questions for our guests. So the one that we’d like to give you. Is what bold actions would you recommend that others customer success professionals can take starting today to really help nurture and expand our own professional networks?
So just some kind of really actual tips that you can give.
Jack Choppin: [00:27:32] Yeah. Sure. So I think number one is. I imagine there’s a load of people out there that will have a little idea of a piece of content that’s bubbling away that they’ve been thinking about that they think will be interesting. I would recommend everyone commit to it and commit to having it out by the Sunday that you’re listening to this.
So set yourself a target that’s a few days away and just. Produced that piece of content and get out there regardless of how comfortable or ready you feel to do that. I think saying that day and just getting out there is really important. The next thing I would recommend is to send that video.
So the chances are you’re reading content or you’re listening to podcasts or audio books, and there’s people in that content that you really admire. Produce a video introducing yourself to that person and tell them why you admire them and why that content connected with yourself. Because I think people love to hear that and although it feels a little bit awkward sending those videos, I think it’s just, completely infinitely better and more sort of authentic and personal than a generic message.
And then. The other thing I would recommend is to find the biggest need in your team right now. And what’s the biggest challenge you face and then go out and find the person who solved that challenge in a world-class way and ask them if they’re happy to have a conversation about it. So be very specific.
What is it you’re struggling with find the person who’s absolutely smashed out at the park and then see if you can set up a meeting with that person.
Jason Noble: [00:29:10] I lo they’re all also really cool, very specific tips as well. Not generic tips, but very specific. Very actionable. Thank you so much, Jack. That’s really cool.
Jack Choppin: [00:29:20] It’s been great guys. Thank you for having
Jason Whitehead: [00:29:22] me
Jason Noble: [00:29:24] take care, everyone. Thank you.