Thank you for inviting me as a Monday Guest! I’m Maliha Rabbi, a dedicated Customer Success Leader in the cybersecurity sector, currently serving as a Customer Success Manager at Armis Security. With a Master’s in Information Systems and Data Science and a foundation in Finance and MIS, I’ve spent years pioneering Customer Success teams and strategies for various organizations. My upbringing was influenced by my parents: my father’s career as a lawyer provided us with opportunities to travel, while my mother’s dedication to education shaped my values. Earning full scholarships for both my undergraduate and graduate studies significantly contributed to my journey.
I initially embarked on a finance career and led a team of financial analysts at one of the largest oil and gas companies. Later, I transitioned into client-facing roles, starting in sales and eventually excelling in pre and post-sales positions. Demonstrating my value as an individual contributor, I earned the privilege of leading Customer Success teams.
Throughout my journey, I’ve achieved remarkable milestones, including elevating retention rates from 78% to an impressive 95% through the development of Customer Success operations and strategies. I’ve also successfully engaged with Fortune 500 companies, creating invaluable processes and strategies. Additionally, I’ve managed large-scale projects, notably overseeing initiatives valued at approximately $400 million, all while leading a financial analysis team at a prominent oil and gas company.
My approach is rooted in data-driven decision-making, allowing me to optimize licensing needs and achieve an ideal utilization ratio of 95%. I consistently balance customer satisfaction with business objectives, consistently surpassing quotas by 120%.
I’m thrilled to be part of this community, eager to share insights and continue my journey of growth and impactful leadership.
We asked Maliha to take us through a journey telling us about her career path, how she spends her workday, what advice she can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.
Enjoy reading this interview
Tell us about your career path?
My career path has been a journey marked by consistent growth and success across various industries. I’ve recently taken on the role of Customer Success Manager in the Public Sector for Armis Security, where I’m currently based in Toronto, Canada.
Before that, I served as the Manager of Enterprise Customer Success at Skan.ai, a cutting-edge RPA company that utilizes AI for its RPA solutions. In this role, I honed my skills in ensuring exceptional user experiences and driving customer value and engagement. I was also responsible for leading a team of Technical Account Managers and Solution Engineers to ensure we met our customers’ needs while continuously developing our product.
Prior to my role at Skan.ai, I was the Manager of Customer Success at Converge Technology Solutions Corp. focusing on strategies that retained customers and aligned licensing needs with their requirements. During this time, I made significant strides in improving utilization ratios.
In addition to my roles in customer success, I had a brief but impactful tenure as a Recruiting Manager (Business Development) at Robert Half, where I was awarded Rookie of the Year.
Before transitioning into customer success, I worked as an Enterprise Account Manager at Rogers Communications, playing a pivotal role in driving profitability, productivity, and business growth.
In the earlier stages of my career, I worked as a QA Analyst in the United States and as a Financial Analyst (Team Lead) in procurement, where I was responsible for financial reporting, budgeting, and compliance.
Overall, my journey has been marked by a commitment to excellence, a passion for data-driven decision-making, and a track record of consistently achieving and exceeding targets. My experience spans industries and roles, providing a comprehensive foundation for my current role as a Customer Success Leader.
How did you join Customer Success?
I transitioned into the field of Customer Success as an evolution of my career journey. It all began when I was in the role of an Account Manager, and I had the opportunity to lead a Customer Success team. This experience marked a turning point for me, and from that moment on, I embraced the world of Customer Success wholeheartedly. Since that pivotal moment, I have not only embraced the role but have also successfully scaled numerous Customer Success teams, solidifying my commitment to this field.
How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?
I believe the ideal Customer Success Manager embodies profound empathy, meeting customers where they are and empowering them effectively. I prioritize a willingness to learn and grow, valuing individuals who possess a natural curiosity and tenacity to explore solutions. Soft skills and attitude take precedence, as they create a foundation for exceptional customer relationships. Skills are teachable; the right mindset and interpersonal qualities are indispensable.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?
My advice for someone starting as a Customer Success Manager would be to prioritize proactive communication. Building strong relationships with customers by actively listening to their needs, anticipating challenges, and providing solutions before issues arise is key to fostering long-term success. This approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also strengthens your position as a trusted partner, driving retention and growth. Remember, customer success is about more than just solving problems; it’s about anticipating and preventing them.
“Build a strong relationships with customers by actively listening to their needs, anticipating challenges, and providing solutions before issues arise is key to fostering long-term success”.
Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?
My workday at Armis Security as a Customer Success Manager for the public sector side is a dynamic blend of customer-centric activities and strategic planning.
I kick off the day by promptly addressing any urgent customer concerns, ensuring that our clients’ immediate needs are met and their experiences are positive. Following that, I delve into a review of our health score and renewals pipeline, which allows me to gain a comprehensive view of short-term and long-term priorities.
As my role demands, I seamlessly balance resolving customer issues with the strategic enhancement of our Customer Success organization. Often, I’m engaged in specific projects aimed at process improvement and client engagement. These projects come with defined milestones, whether it’s refining our health score metrics, designing QBR or Kick-Off templates, or working on other strategic initiatives. It’s a fulfilling journey that combines the immediate satisfaction of delivering value to our clients with the long-term vision of optimizing our customer success processes.
What makes you feel inspired or motivated?
What inspires and motivates me profoundly is the opportunity to create meaningful impact and foster genuine relationships. At Armis Security, being part of the public sector team, I find immense inspiration in addressing complex challenges faced by our clients. Their trust in our solutions fuels my dedication.
Moreover, I draw motivation from the dynamic nature of cybersecurity, where innovation and adaptability are paramount. The thrill of devising strategic solutions that enhance our clients’ security posture and witnessing the tangible results drives my passion. It’s the blend of intellectual engagement, the pursuit of excellence, and the prospect of contributing to a safer digital landscape that fuels my drive and determination every day.
What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?
One surprising aspect about me is my deep passion for volunteering and community impact. Since the age of 10, I’ve been dedicated to making a positive difference in people’s lives. Witnessing the happiness of those around me brings me immense contentment.
Outside of my professional life as a Customer Success Manager at Armis Security, I devote my time to various volunteering initiatives, aligning with my belief that helping others and enhancing lives is of utmost importance.
Additionally, my love for nature leads me to unwind through hiking, finding solace in the tranquility of the outdoors. On a linguistic note, I am proficient in six languages, a skill that not only aids my travels but also enables me to connect deeply with diverse cultures and communities around the world.
Who do you look up to the most?
I look up to my father, who is a lawyer and has been a profound influence on my life. His ability to handle difficult situations with unwavering calmness and effectively communicate has been a valuable lesson to me. He not only provided for our family but also instilled in us strong morals and values, raising us with a sense of integrity and responsibility. His unwavering support and the way he took care of everyone around him have made me admire and respect him immensely.
What are your top 3 priorities now?
My current focus is on balancing my personal and professional life effectively. First and foremost, I prioritize maintaining my physical and mental well-being, recognizing its fundamental importance for overall success. I’m also looking forward to an upcoming marriage and the new chapter it represents in building a loving family.
In terms of my career, my aspiration is to continue excelling in my current role at Armis Security while nurturing a strong desire to eventually lead a team. I’m deeply committed to fostering a service-oriented leadership style, one that revolves around the success and growth of my team, enabling them to reach their full potential.
What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?
My advice to aspiring Customer Success Managers is to never stop learning. Stay up-to-date with industry trends, continuously expand your skill set, and seek out opportunities for professional development. Building strong relationships with mentors and advocates is crucial, as they can offer guidance and open doors for you. Additionally, always put the customer at the center of your strategies, as their success is your success. Embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for growth, and lastly, maintain a curious and humble mindset, as it will lead to innovation and success in your career.
What’s your favorite book, and why?
One of my all-time favorite books is “The Glass Castle: A Memoir” by Jeannette Walls. This memoir holds a special place in my heart because it resonates deeply with my admiration for individuals who hold strong values and morals, and who can overcome the most challenging odds to find a meaningful purpose in life.
“The Glass Castle” is a powerful exploration of resilience and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome adversity. Jeannette Walls’ memoir tells the story of her tumultuous upbringing in a dysfunctional and impoverished family. Despite enduring unimaginable hardships, she and her siblings ultimately find their own paths to success.
What I find most inspiring about this book is its portrayal of the strength of the human mindset. It demonstrates that regardless of the circumstances we are born into, a determined and unwavering mindset can change our lives for the better. Jeannette Walls’ journey to success, from her troubled childhood to becoming a successful journalist and author, serves as a testament to the transformative power of resilience and tenacity.
I am drawn to stories that remind us of the limitless potential within each of us, and “The Glass Castle” beautifully embodies this idea. It’s a tale of endurance, self-discovery, and the pursuit of a meaningful life, making it a book I hold dear as a testament to the human spirit’s indomitable strength.
» 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?
No, I don’t believe I’ve had my “I’ve made it” moment yet. As a customer success leader at the mid-level of my career, I still have many goals and aspirations to accomplish. I view my journey as an ongoing process, and I am enthusiastic about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
Where can people go to find out more about you?
LinkedIn is the best place to find out more about me and to connect.
Thank you, Maliha, 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?