Monday Guest Josh Levin-Y3-W14

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Get to know Josh Levin

By: Mohammed Alqaq   |  April 01, 2024   |  Year 3  –  Week 14/2024

I’m Josh Levin, Manager of Customer Success, West at (an observability tool used by engineers), and I’ve worked in Customer Success in various capacities for nearly a decade. 

I’m passionate about coaching CSMs in working with technical audiences and encouraging them to lean into technical skill development as a differentiator in the increasingly complex field of CS. 

Coming from a non-engineering background (like most in Customer Success), I appreciate the uniquely difficult circumstances of CSMs in technical industries and have spent the last few years building more guidance for those in the field.


We asked Josh to take us through a journey telling us about his career path, how he spends his workday, what advice he can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.

Enjoy reading this interview  

Table of Contents

Tell us about your career path?

Coming out of college, I followed my passion for science, and worked as a neuroscience researcher for several labs around the US.  But after a few years of the academia grind, I decided to pivot and found my way to tech and Customer Success, and have been here ever since. 

In tech, I’ve worked in a wide variety of industries, including CS operations, Sales operations, AI, and most recently monitoring/observability.

How did you join Customer Success?

Like a lot of folks in CS, I stumbled upon the field.  A friend of mine was working in software implementation when I was considering a move out of neuroscience research, and with his help I was able to get my foot in the door.  In working with customers in SaaS, that pivot eventually morphed into formal CS roles.

How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?

Whenever I’m hiring for a CS role, the key thing I look for in a candidate is the capacity and appetite to learn.  CS has become such a common role across SaaS that industry expertise really isn’t expected and shouldn’t be when you’re applying for a new role. 

As long as the candidate shows the drive and passion for learning, with the right support they’ll flourish.  This curiosity is not only essential for onboarding and learning a new field, but critical in being the best partner to customers that one can be.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?

Always have a reading list.  This can include books/blogs/articles around Customer Success, the industry you’re working in, an industry that you want to eventually work in, business analytics, user research, etc.  An “appetite to learn” doesn’t mean anything unless you’re taking steps to pursue that personal growth through knowledge.


An “appetite to learn” doesn’t mean anything unless you’re taking steps to pursue that personal growth through knowledge.

Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?

Like most people, no two days of mine are the same.  They’ll generally start an hour before my first set of meetings, allowing me to catch up on email, Slack, and outline “must-complete” tasks for the day. 

I’ll usually have a few internal meetings, either with my team, individual CSMs, or managers from other organizations such as Product or Sales.  I’ll also generally have at least a couple of customer and prospect meetings.

Given the wide variety of tasks I’ll typically have on my plate, Slack reminders, Notion, and Gainsight Cockpit are constantly open in the background (and of course, Spotify to keep things interesting).

What makes you feel inspired or motivated?

Seeing the growth in my CSMs.  I try to make a habit of attending what calls I can of theirs with customers or listening regularly to call recordings to provide feedback.  Seeing them become trusted advisors to their customers, especially given the highly technical nature of our product and audience, truly fills my heart with joy.

What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?

People are generally surprised that I’m a musician (I’ve been playing music most of my life).  My Zoom background typically includes my piano or a music stand; I promise they’re not simply decorations.

Who do you look up to the most? 

I’ve been fortunate to have a great number of mentors over the years, including Rachel Provan, Chad Horenfeldt, and my colleagues at Honeycomb, Irving Popovetsky, Manny Alves, and Andy Dufour.

What are your top 3 priorities now?

Like every CS manager in the world, the top priority is making our renewal numbers.  Given the growth Honeycomb has seen over the last 3 years — which has been heavily CS-driven — there are a lot of eyes on the success we can bring to our amazing customer base. 

Second would be scaling our team operations; how can we continue supporting our customers with industry-leading CS delivery, while allowing our team and operations to grow at pace with the business. 

Finally, the third would be ensuring my CSMs are being challenged and fulfilled while avoiding burnout. 

What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?

Lean into technical skill development.  Even if you don’t work in a technical industry as a CSM, learning the basics of business intelligence and data analysis, the fundamentals of how software as a service works, the technical nuances of your industry, etc. can all be key differentiators in one’s ability to grow in their current role, and open significantly more opportunity in the future. 

If you avoid rolling your sleeves up to challenge yourself technically, you risk becoming a “switchboard operator” for your customers, pointing them to other personnel while driving little value yourself.

What’s your favorite book, and why?

I’m going to give a bit of a wildcard answer here and say “Thinking Fast and Slowby Daniel Kahneman.  It’s not super relevant to CS specifically, but it really scratches my persistent science itch, and in a very approachable way (fun fact: my favorite area of research in my past science life was ‘Decision Neuroscience’; how the brain is able to leverage heuristics and short/long-term memory to make decisions efficiently).

» Check out the 10 Books a CSM should read to advance and improve their skills.

Have you had your “I’ve made it” moment yet?

I don’t think I have, but I’m also not truly looking for it.  I’m supremely proud of the work we’ve done at Honeycomb, and what I’ve been able to contribute in that regard; that’s enough to keep me moving forward.

What should I have asked you but didn’t? 

These were all great questions! One idea for another question would be “what’s something you love about the CSM role now, and one thing you want to see improve”.

Where can people go to find out more about you?

I’d be happy to connect on Linkedin, feel free to reach out:

Thank you, Josh, for sharing your knowledge and for the opportunity to know you more.

Do you have a Customer Success Leader, Expert, or Influencer you would like to know more about?