Sit down with Ian Colvin, Client Success Lead

Ian joined the Codat team just seven months ago as our first Client Success hire and has already made a huge impact. 

Nurturing our client relationships is crucial to ensuring our long-term growth and Ian has really set the standard for excellence in managing client relationships at Codat. Ian’s hard work and dedication has now seen him promoted to Client Success Lead in just a few short months. He is now looking to scale his Client Success team in London and New York.

We sat down with Ian to learn more about his role and what it takes to be a success in the team. 

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities within the Client Success team or other open roles at Codat please get in touch with Zak Forbes.

Tell us a little about your role at Codat? 

As Client Success Lead, my core role is to ensure that existing clients are maximizing the value that they receive from Codat. To ensure we deliver on this function effectively, we need to play the part of conduit between clients and various departments at Codat. 

The best way to think about my role is to imagine that I have one foot in the camp of our client and one in the camp of Codat, so that I can ensure that valuable updates and opportunities are passed on to our customer base, while also relaying queries and requests to the relevant team. 

I think my role is a prime spot as it offers access to a wide variety of clients across all parts of the world that utilize our solution in vastly different ways, whilst working directly with almost every member of the wider Codat team.

What initially attracted you to join Codat? 

Having worked at several high-growth start-ups before Codat, I knew that the pace of life and opportunity to make a direct impact within an exciting business would be two crucial elements of my next challenge. After speaking with a number of my now colleagues, it was clear that this is exactly what I could expect. Moreover, I was granted full autonomy to build out an entirely new function at such an promising organization. 

It continues to amaze me that so many people give up vast amounts of their time and energy to participate in something that they don’t believe in. The problems that Codat solves for the SME community around the world are critical to the global economy and we’re the first and best at doing it. That in itself should make it clear why Codat was such an exciting destination for me and it’s only getting better as we focus on new problems to solve and on an increasingly  larger scale. 

You were Codat’s first Client Success hire, what have been the biggest challenges in setting up a new part of Codat’s team? 

As with any start-up, processes need to be established quickly but also in a scalable and repeatable manner. This isn’t always an easy task to balance, especially while you’re also trying to ramp up knowledge of the product, drive usage across the existing client base and find the best talent to join you on the journey. It can certainly prove to be a very busy time! 

That said, none of these elements came as a surprise and I have found enormous satisfaction in making a sizable impact at Codat in only seven months. The existing team have always been right alongside for support and guidance throughout, which continues to make even the ‘biggest challenges’ seem like fun and manageable day-to-day tasks. 

How does Client Success at Codat sit within the wider commercial/solutions teams at Codat? 

I’ve alluded to the cross-functional nature of the Client Success team at Codat already and why it’s one of the elements of my role that I most enjoy, but I can break that down a little further. 

Despite being a revenue generating arm of the business, we sit within the wider Solutions Team as opposed to the Commercial Team. The reason for this is reflected in our product offering. In order to drive the retention and growth of accounts, we must push the value of our proposition through adoption and usage which is most heavily influenced in our implementation and onboarding processes. This is the reason behind our close working relationship with Solutions Engineers and the Product Team.

We also seek out opportunities for co-marketing and deeper partnerships with clients which leads to frequent collaboration with our Marketing and Commercial Partnerships Teams. 

I could go on to demonstrate our input with the Ops, Strategy, Support, Sales, BA teams but you get the idea – we get the delightful honour of working with everyone at Codat! 

What will the biggest challenges be for the rest of 2021? 

While it may be regarded as a great problem to have, I would say the main challenge for the CS team is managing rapid growth successfully. As we scale at such an accelerated pace it is crucial that we maintain the same high standards for new additions to the team. Processes and methodologies in place must remain effective for an increased number of clients, including those of larger size commanding more complex solutions.. 

The only way to be successful throughout these challenges will be by bringing in the right talent. 

It sounds like your team is going to be expanding pretty quickly this year, tell us about what you are looking for? 

I think recruitment at start-ups can often be over-complicated and poorly executed, mostly because of the constant rush to bring in extra resource. 

While previous experience within fast-paced start-ups suggests an appreciation for the pressure and serious commitment required to succeed, it can also bring through candidates with all the wrong habits. Similarly, previously working for a fintech likely means that candidates have a baseline understanding of one or two of Codat’s key markets which can be helpful but there is still a significant ramp up required to learn the rest!

So I don’t view past experience as the critical component. The crucial qualities that I look for are ambition and complete dedication to the role and Codat’s mission. Personable and professional people with the confidence to present their opinion and question the opinions of others will succeed at Codat. 

I believe that these are the qualities of people who positively and proactively influence change and inspire others around them to do the same. 

Can you tell us more about the key metrics used to measure your team’s success?

As a team, we have a single annual target based on net dollar retention. This simply means that we need to ensure the value of our fixed portfolio on 1st Jan 2022 has grown by a certain percentage since 1st Jan 2021. 

I have introduced other metrics around usage, speed of adoption, NPS and client contact but these serve more as a gauge than a success metric. These indicators also present opportunities for learning quickly what works, what doesn’t and why.

What are you most excited about for the rest of the year? 

Growth. While I outlined this as our biggest challenge in 2021, it is also exactly what gets us out of bed every day! 

As a company we will double our headcount, expand into the US market, drastically increase the number and variety of the products that we offer and increase our ARR by a significant percentage – all within 2021. The Client Success team will be instrumental in all of the above. 

If you’re up for the challenge then get in touch for a chat – this isn’t an opportunity to be missed.